We knew Super Bowl LVII had the potential to be close and high scoring, and it exceeded those expectations with the Kansas City Chiefs storming back after halftime for a 38-35 victory.
But it was certainly not the 38-35 game we expected from a betting perspective, and the sportsbooks can probably celebrate again, as much of the money was on the Eagles winning.
We look back at the prop pick locks that were not locks at all, the worst of the bad beats, and the value plays that proved to be valuable for Super Bowl LVII.
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Teasers: Hope You Took the Over!
The Super Bowl was close enough to where it did not matter which team you picked on a teaser as Eagles +4.5 and Chiefs +7.5 both hit. But hopefully you took our advice on the total and took the over 45 instead of the under 57.
Super Bowl LVII set a record with 35 points as the most ever by a losing team in a Super Bowl. Oddly enough, it replaces the 33 points the 2017 Patriots scored against the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, a 41-33 win by the Eagles.
Elite Touchdown Scorers Make Early Statement
No one had better betting odds to score a touchdown than Travis Kelce and Jalen Hurts in this game. They wasted no time in delivering as Hurts scored the first touchdown of the game and Kelce answered right back just halfway into the opening quarter. Hurts even added two more scores before the night was done.
But the rest of the game took some odd turns as the Chiefs ended up being the defense to score a touchdown instead of the vaunted Eagles after Hurts coughed up a bad fumble for the only turnover of the game. The Chiefs pounced on it and Nick Bolton scored the touchdown.
With Hurts hogging up three scores and the Chiefs finding Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore wide open on blown coverages in the fourth quarter, it was not a great night for anyone who had a variety of touchdown scorer betting picks on Miles Sanders, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jerick McKinnon, DeVonta Smith, etc.
The Worst Prop to Play
But the worst bad beat was anyone who had a touchdown scorer ticket, especially a first touchdown scorer ticket on Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell. It looked like the backup runner had the game’s first touchdown, but on further review, his elbow was down just short of the end zone.
One play later, Hurts used the quarterback sneak to open the scoring in the game and Gainwell never found the end zone. At least he hit his over in rushing yards by the slimmest of margins.
The Game Script Bets Were Beyond Solid
The Chiefs winning 38-35 was almost comical since days before the game, someone leaked a “script” that showed a fake Pro Football Reference box score with the Eagles winning this game 37-34.
But if you followed the Chiefs and Eagles this year, then you knew what were realistic game scripts for both teams that you could turn into actionable betting strategies in this Super Bowl.
The Chiefs had a hard time covering and would make a lot of double-digit comebacks on their way to 16-3 and the Super Bowl. You had confidence in the team to come back if necessary.
Trends and Predictions Held True
Meanwhile, the Eagles were a historic team in the second quarter, scoring 133 points in that quarter on their way to an 8-0 start. Sure enough, they dominated this second quarter, outscoring the Chiefs 17-7.
But the Chiefs outscored the Eagles by 13 points in the other three quarters, including 17-8 in the fourth quarter to give this postseason only its second fourth-quarter lead change.
Also, it is official. The Indianapolis Colts were the only team to hold Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts under 20 points this season, holding each to 17 points. It is the funniest footnote of the season since the Colts were a 4-12-1 team who hired their former center from the ESPN set halfway through the season.
But putting it all together, you could have made a killing on these bets:
- Both teams to score 20 points – Yes (-179)
- Both teams to lead in the fourth quarter – Yes (+259)
- Eagles first-half winner/Chiefs end-of-regulation winner (+700)
- Eagles first-half spread (-120)
- Chiefs second half spread (-125)
It was a most favorable Kansas City script, and the comeback kids did it again.
Super Bowl MVP: Most Valuable Patrick
When we did our analysis on the best Super Bowl MVP bet, it still came down to Mahomes (+135), the best player in the game. If the Chiefs won this game, he was almost certainly going to get it no matter how he played.
Well, it ended up being one of the stranger Mahomes games as he only passed for 182 yards, his fewest in a playoff game, and tied for the fifth-fewest in any game in his NFL career.
But he threw three touchdown passes, took zero sacks, led the Chiefs to 31 points on just eight drives, and his 26-yard run on a bad ankle put the Chiefs into game-winning field goal territory.
Mahomes was the only logical choice for MVP at that point. By winning the award, Mahomes is the first player since Kurt Warner in 1999 to win MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season.
Passing Props Were Wild
With the Chiefs not even passing for 200 yards, you might have thought it’d be an easy win to get the under 79.5 yards on Travis Kelce, especially after the Eagles held him to 23 yards last season – his lowest game in four years.
But Kelce had a 7-yard catch on the final drive that put him just over his prop total to finish with 81 yards, a bad beat for anyone who liked the under in this game.
Speaking of bad beats, Marquez Valdes-Scantling ended up with no catches on one target after dominating the Bengals with over 100 yards last time out, and Kadarius Toney only had a 5-yard touchdown catch.
What About Props for the Eagles?
While it was a rough night for Kansas City passing props, the Eagles shined on the overs with Jalen Hurts passing for 304 yards, including 100 to DeVonta Smith, 96 to A.J. Brown, and 60 to Dallas Goedert as all four hit their overs.
If you studied the 42-30 game these teams played last season, it was the most prolific passing game of Hurts’ career, with 48 attempts, 32 completions, and 387 yards. That carried over a bit here in this game, though the Eagles lost both.
Hurts is now 15-2 when scoring at least 27 points, and both losses are to Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Where Were the Sacks and Interceptions?
This was an awful game if you were betting on player or team props involving sacks and interceptions. Despite 22 straight Super Bowls seeing at least one team throw an interception, this matchup had none. It was the first time that happened since the 1999 Rams faced the 1999 Titans.
As for sacks, the Eagles (70) and Chiefs (55) ranked as the top two defenses in the regular season and had some great pass rushers on both sides. Yet, this game featured just two sacks, and they were both on plays where Hurts ran out of bounds and gave himself up behind the line for what are technically sacks.
That means Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat all finished without a sack in a real bummer of a game for the defenses.
The only turnover was Hurts losing the ball on a fumble, an unforced error that was returned for a touchdown that proved to be costly.
No Philly Special Sequel?
A favorite prop bet of many this week was for over 2.5 total players to attempt a pass (+150) in this game. Both the Rams and Bengals had a non-quarterback attempt a pass in Super Bowl LVI, and with the creativity of the Chiefs and the Eagles maybe wanting to do their own version of the Philly Special for Jalen Hurts, it looked like a good bet.
But no trickery ever came as the teams went for brutal efficiency in the red zone with Hurts running in three scores and the Chiefs getting two touchdown passes on blown coverage.
Alas, there was a chance when Mahomes looked injured again in the second quarter that we would see backup Chad Henne in this game to get a third player with a pass attempt, but Mahomes must have got the best injections ever during the long halftime as he did not miss a snap.
The Refs Were Quiet Until the Worst Time
Finally, we have to take a big loss on our favorite prop pick going into the game, which involved penalties.
Head referee Carl Cheffers has a documented history of calling more penalties than most, and he especially likes to call them against the Chiefs.
In the last 12 games since Travis Kelce said Cheffers shouldn’t be allowed to wear the referee uniform at a Foot Locker, Cheffers had 12 straight games with over 10 accepted penalties on both teams and over 47.5 accepted penalty yards on the Chiefs.
That 12-for-12 consistency made these penalty props of over 10 penalties and over 47.5 penalty yards on the Chiefs look like a lock, especially after an AFC Championship Game where some people felt like the officials decided the game for the Chiefs.
Things Did Not Go as Expected
Well, things are not going to look good on the officiating front in this one either. After swallowing their whistles all night, Cheffers’ crew called a ticky-tack defensive holding penalty on James Bradberry on a third down late in the game.
It helped the Chiefs run down most of the clock and kick the go-ahead field goal with just 8 seconds left. Without the call, the Eagles would have had nearly a full two minutes to answer Kansas City’s field goal.
Even with that final flag, the game finished with just 9 penalties and the Chiefs only had 3 penalties for 14 yards. Of the 9 penalties, only 3 of them were after the snap, and all were on the Eagles. The other 6 penalties were all pre-snap things like offside, neutral zone infraction, false start, and delay of game.
It was a very good Super Bowl, but the lack of flags in the first 58 minutes really makes that last one stand out, especially when it robbed us of the chance for a classic finish.