The best prop bets for Super Bowl LV

Detroit News

Matt Bonesteel and Neil Greenberg
 |  Washington Post

The Westgate SuperBook and William Hill’s sportsbook on Thursday released their long lists of Super Bowl prop bets, which in Las Vegas has become something of a cherished Super Bowl bye week tradition:

Westgate’s prop book has grown to such heft that it contains a table of contents, with bets that are both straightforward (the point spread, the total) and wildly esoteric (which will be more: the number of Stanley Cup playoff wins by the Colorado Avalanche or Super Bowl points by Chiefs place kicker Harrison Butker). If you can’t find a bet worth making, you probably aren’t looking hard enough.

We combed through the lists to find Super Bowl prop bets worth your consideration, with their picks below in bold. Note: The listed odds were taken from the prop sheets handed out by the books on Thursday and may fluctuate as we get closer to kickoff. And we will add picks to the list as the big game approaches, so check back.

For the uninitiated, negative odds denote the favorite (minus-110 means you would wager $110 to win $100), while positive odds denote the underdog (plus-110 means you would wager $100 to win $110).

Will there be a two-point conversion attempt? (Westgate)

Yes +130

No -150

Though this prop didn’t hit in last year’s game, a team has gone for two in eight of the past 11 Super Bowls. And even though neither team went for two all that much in the regular season — both tried only twice, with the Chiefs converting both attempts and the Bucs failing on both — the final-game desperation makes this plus-money bet one worth looking at. Tampa Bay also went for two in the second quarter of its first-round game against Washington, failing to convert.

Will there be a missed extra point? (William Hill)

Yes +250

No -300

Since the distance on extra points was pushed back in 2015, NFL kickers have hit 6,875 out of 7,328 extra-point attempts for a success rate of 94 percent. That’s improved slightly in the postseason with kickers successful on 286 out of 302 tries (95 percent). Tampa Bay place kicker Ryan Succop and his Kansas City counterpart, Harrison Butker, have lagged a bit with rates of 92 and 90 percent, respectively, which makes the “yes” side enticing.

If we were to assume that each kicker could get three chances in this game, the average number of touchdowns each team has scored this season, including the playoffs, that would imply there is a 56 chance both kickers are perfect on extra-point attempts during Super Bowl LV. That, in turn, equates to a +125 money line for the “yes,” lower than what is being offered.

Will either team score in the first five minutes of the game? (WH)

Yes -110

No -110

According to data from TruMedia, the Chiefs and Buccaneers combined to score 25 times on 81 drives (14 touchdowns and 11 field goals) in the first five minutes of games during the regular season and playoffs. That rate (31 percent) implies a money line of +220 for the positive and -220 for the negative, so “no” has value.

Will either team score in the final 3½ minutes of the game? (Westgate)

Yes -170

No +250

This has become one of the more reliable props in recent Super Bowl history – the heavy juice on “yes” reflects that — because the games have been close: The last true blowout took place seven years ago in Super Bowl XLVIII, when the Seahawks scored a 43-8 win over the Broncos. The six Super Bowls since then have been decided by an average of 8.8 points, and each of those games featured a score in the final 3½ minutes of the game (last year there were two). This prop has hit in 22 of the last 27 Super Bowls, and with just a 3.5-point spread, another close game could be at hand this year.

Yards of longest accepted penalty (WH)

Under 19.5 yards -110

Over 19.5 yards -110

This one is predicated on the assumption that it only will hit if there’s a defensive pass interference penalty on a long pass play, and neither team has any particularly striking deep threat. Among the pass-catchers in this game, Tampa Bay’s Scotty Miller is tops in average depth of target at 16 yards per target (ninth in the NFL during the regular season) and Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill is next at 12.9 (tied for 30th). Combine that with Tom Brady’s aging arm (20.6 percent of his passes were considered bad throws this season, fourth-worst in the league), the Chiefs’ quick-strike offense (Patrick Mahomes ranked just 13th in intended air yards per attempt this season) and the fact that the Bucs were flagged for DPI only eight times, and the under is worth a look.

First offensive play of the game (WH)

Rush -150

Pass +130

Tampa Bay and Kansas City ran the ball often on their first plays of the game this season. The Chiefs ran the ball 13 out of 18 times and the Bucs handed it off 11 out of 19 times during the regular season and playoffs combined. That’s a run rate of 65 percent on their initial first and 10, which implies a money line of -185, making the -150 being offered decent value.

Total quarterback sacks by the Buccaneers’ defense (WH)

Over 2 +120

Under 2 -140

Tampa Bay generated the third-highest pressure rate in the NFL during the regular season (27 percent), with the sixth-highest sack rate after adjusting for strength of schedule. Shaquil Barrett led all edge rushers with 76 total pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) and the linebacker was credited with the third-highest pressure total (26) at his position per the game charters at Pro Football Focus.

The Bucs have also registered seven sacks in three playoff games including five against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game.

Will Patrick Mahomes throw an interception? (WH)

Yes +100

No -120

Mahomes was one of the most accurate and disciplined passers of 2020. According to Sports Info Solutions, he had an “on-target” rate of 71 percent (10th best) and he avoided tossing the ball into tight coverage (11 percent, the third-lowest rate behind Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers). That combination led to him leading the league in interception rate (six over 588 attempts, 1 percent) during the regular season. Mahomes also didn’t get picked off by Tampa Bay when they met in the regular season and he hasn’t thrown an interception during this year’s playoff run, either.

Will the game go to overtime? (WH)

Yes +575

No -850

Since 2002, 291 out of 4,864 regular season games have gone to overtime, equaling about 6 percent of matchups. In the playoffs, that’s been a little more frequent at 11 percent, with the first three rounds carrying most of the freight. There has been just one overtime Super Bowl game in the past 18 seasons.

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