Super Bowl LVIII: Best Bets, Player Props and Novelty Props

It's finally here: Super Bowl LVIII!

If you've been following along with us, you know we've been having a little competition at Sports Illustrated. Using an imaginary bankroll, each of our fantasy/betting experts have chosen one game bet and one player prop for each week of the postseason. Using betting units of $100, each expert's record and balance are listed below.

For the big game, we have added an extra bet. Each expert will also place a bet on their favorite novelty prop. Anything is in play from the color of the Gatorade shower to how many times the cameras find Taylor Swift.

Now, let's have some fun!

Michael Fabiano: 2-4 ($381.82)

Best Bet: Chiefs +1.5 (-110)

I have picked against the Kansas City Chiefs all the way through the playoffs, so now I'm flipping the script. Maybe that will prove to be a mistake, but they've been pretty profitable when they're underdogs with Patrick Mahomes under center. Let's look at the numbers: K.C. is 11-1-1 ATS, regular season and postseason, as an underdog. In those games, the Chiefs are 10-3 straight up. Also, Mahomes and the Chiefs are 6-0 ATS in games in which the spread opened at +3 or higher (which this game did before getting bet down to 1.5).

Player Prop: Patrick Mahomes under 262.5 passing yards

Mahomes has surpassed this total eight times in 19 games (42%) but he has missed it in four of his last five. In those five games, he averaged 239.6 yards. The 49ers have allowed 261 or more passing yards just seven times. In their last six games, quarterbacks have hit that mark once. In those games, the quarterback has averaged 210.3 passing yards. The lone quarterback to hit the mark was Jared Goff, who threw for 273 yards in the NFC title game.

Novelty Prop: National Anthem Under One Minute and 30.5 Seconds (-120)

What research have I done to make this prediction? None! But it's a novelty prop, right? Two of the last three national anthems have gone under, and Reba McEntire probably is going to get right to it and get through it without any "artistic liberties." I'll throw the under dart, for fun!

Jen Piacenti:  4-2 ($820.91)

Best Bet: Under 47.5 (-110)

As much as we would all love the total to go over for our Super Bowl parties, it's far more likely this total stays under the listed amount. The Chiefs defense has been elite in the postseason, allowing an average of a mere 13.3 points per game across three postseason contests. During the regular season, these two defenses were top-three in points allowed, with neither team allowing more than 18 points per game on average. Four of the last five Super Bowls have gone under the listed total, and though the public is overwhelmingly on the over (likely hoping for another shootout like last year), I'll take the under to hit for the third of four Super Bowls featuring Mahomes.

Player Prop: Brock Purdy over 3.5 rush attempts (+134)

I'm sticking with my strategy of picking plus-money props, as it has worked out so far. Fingers crossed I finish strong with this one.

The Chiefs allowed the third-most rushing attempts to quarterbacks during the regular season and they have allowed the most rushing attempts in the postseason -- for an average of 7.5 per game. Eleven regular season QBs exceeded this mark vs. the Chiefs, and both Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen easily exceeded it in the postseason, with Tua Tagovailoa getting close with three. Purdy has exceeded this mark in both postseason games, with six attempts vs. the Packers and five vs. the Lions. The Niners should stick with what has been working, and Purdy should use his legs.

Novelty Prop: San Francisco 49ers to Win First Half & Kansas City Chiefs to Win the Game (+700)

This is the "SHAKE IT OFF" special from SI Sportsbook. Go big or go home, right? It's my last chance to put this contest away, and I'll be betting on the Chiefs to make a second-half comeback in a close one on Sunday.

Kyle Wood: 3-3 ($555.66)

Best Bet: Under 47.5 (-110)

The Chiefs are the only team in the NFL that have not allowed 30 points to an opponent this season. The under has hit in 70% of their games (14–6) and there have been only four times a Kansas City game has seen more than 47.5 points scored. The same cannot be said for the 49ers, whose 58% over hit rate (11–8) is among the highest in the league. The 47.5-point threshold has been much easier to clear for San Francisco as it's happened eight times, most recently in the NFC championship shootout. But when the Niners ran into the Ravens, the only team with a better scoring defense than the Chiefs in the regular season, they scored just 19 points. With both teams looking to exploit each other's run defense, the clock will bleed quickly and the under will hit for the 15th time for Kansas City.

Prop Bet: Isiah Pacheco Over 0.5 Rushing Touchdowns (+110)

After Christian McCaffrey, Pacheco has the next-best odds to find the end zone. But instead of laying the juice on Pacheco's anytime touchdown odds (-130), you can instead get plus odds on a rushing score. He has a rushing touchdown in his last four playoff games (including last year's Super Bowl) and seven scores on the ground in his last seven games. Pacheco also only has two receiving touchdowns in his career compared to 16 rushing touchdowns. The 49ers just gave up three rushing touchdowns in the NFC championship to the Lions and Pacheco's number of attempts have hit career-high levels in the playoffs. He'll have the opportunity to punch in a touchdown near the goal line come Sunday.

Novelty Prop: Largest Lead of the Game Under 14.5 Points (-144)

The spread of Sunday's game is on pace to be the tightest since Super Bowl LIV, when these teams last played on this stage. Even in that game, which the Chiefs won 31–20, the lead never ballooned past 11 points. Only three times in the last 10 Super Bowls has a team led by more than two touchdowns (XLVIII, when the Seahawks blew out the Broncos; LI, when the Patriots mounted a miraculous comeback to beat the Falcons; and LV, when the Buccaneers dominated the Chiefs). These teams are evenly matched — Kansas City's defense will see to it that the game never gets out of reach and the 49ers are never out of a game with their talent level on offense. Yes, you have to lay a bit of juice, but I'm confident this game won't be a blowout, one way or the other.

Craig Ellenport: 2-4 ($375.66)

Best Bet: 49ers -1.5 (-110)

I get that Patrick Mahomes is devastating as an underdog and I get that San Francisco has not been its dominating self in two come-from-behind playoff wins, but I also know that the 49ers are the better team here. Even though they struggled in their two playoff wins, they won both games by three points. I'd also suggest looking at what they did coming off their in-season bye week: After losing three straight games when some key players were injured, they came out of their bye and won their next six games by an average of 17 points. Christian McCaffrey will run for chunks at a time behind All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, putting this game out of reach.

Prop Bet: Kyle Juszczyk anytime touchdown (+600)

I took this prop in the NFC title game and while I didn't win, Juszczyk did get a red-zone carry (he was tackled at the 3, dammit!). I'll remind you that Juszczyk scored a touchdown when these teams last met in the Super Bowl four years ago. And if the game script goes as I think it will, the 49ers will have a comfortable lead late and will actively try to get their fullback, a beloved player on this team, a crack at the end zone.

Novelty Prop: National Anthem Under One Minute and 30.5 Seconds (-120)

Here's the thing about novelty props: For the most part, they're all based on luck. Which is why I'm taking a prop that was thoroughly researched by our own Jen Piacenti in this article. I'm not sure why Jen isn't following her own work here and taking this prop, but I like her logic in assuming that Reba McEntire will not be looking to get over-dramatic in her anthem rendition. Give me the under.

Bill Enright: 3-3 ($574.24)

Best Bet: Chiefs Moneyline +105

Forget the points, I'm going with a straight up Chiefs win. It's hard to call Kansas City an underdog, after all they are the reigning Super Bowl champions and have played in three of the last four Super Bowls. Nonetheless, I'm banking on them to pull off an "upset." Look for the 49ers to jump out to an early lead but for the Chiefs to hang around for most of the first half and then just suffocate San Francisco in the second half while ultimately winning by at least six points!

Player Prop: Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl MVP +110

It would be a lot more fun and profitable to take Travis Kelce at +1600, or a defensive player like Chris Jones at +16000 or L'Jarius Sneed at +16000 but the fact is no tight end has ever won this award and there have only been four defensive Super Bowl MVPs in the last 37 years. Three of the last four Super Bowl MVPs were quarterbacks, with two of those going to Mahomes. Since I'm banking on a Chiefs victory, I'll go with their star player and the face of the NFL as the player who hoists the MVP and announces, "I'm going to Disney World!"

Novelty Prop: Coin Toss Outcome Tails +100

For my novelty prop, I'm going with a true 50/50 proposition but as the saying goes "tails never fails."


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