Proposition wagers are a Super Bowl tradition that really started in 1986 with Chicago Bears defensive lineman William “Refrigerator” Perry scoring a TD at odds of 20-1 here in Las Vegas in the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
They’ve grown to the point where they account for more than 50 perceent of some sportsbooks’ overall handle and have exploded even more with the expansion of states offering legalized sports betting since 2017.
The assignment here was to come up with the Top 10 bets that tell the story of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers. However, similar to ESPN’s Chris Berman running over in his “Two-Minute Warning” segments at halftime of Monday Night Football games over the years, we go well over our self-imposed limit here in the telling of these stories as most of the relevant plays cash multiple props at the same time.
No score in first 7:30 of game: No (+150)
The 49ers received the opening kickoff and Christian McCaffery fumbled the ball away on the fifth play from scrimmage. The Chiefs went three–and-out on their opening possession and it took only a few plays on the 49ers’ second drive for the “no” to cash at the Westgate SuperBook at +150, as well as all these type of wagers as some books also offer the first 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 or 6:30.
First score of game: Non-TD (+130)
The scoring drought continued as it ended up being 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. Anyone out there luck into having “0,0” in their Super Bowl end-of-quarter squares or buy it in the fixed-odds option (+410) at Circa Sports here in Las Vegas? After an incomplete third-down pass on the first play of the second quarter, the 49ers drew first blood as kicker Jake Moody booted a Super Bowl-record 55-yard field goal (+450 at Circa … record was then broken later with Harrison Butker’s 57-yarder in the third quarter) as the first score of the game was a non-TD. Note: touchdown is usually favored around -150 to be the first score, so non-TD – aka “other score” at some books – basically means a field goal or safety. Longest FG of the game also cashed at Over 47.5 yards (-110).
Player to score first TD: Christian McCaffrey (+400)
This is always one of the most-bet proposition wagers every Super Bowl and this year was no different. As noted above, neither team scored in the first quarter and the first score was a field goal on the second play of the second quarter, but we didn’t actually get our first touchdown until 4:23 left in the first half when Christian McCaffrey cashed as the 4-1 favorite (he was also the 9-5 fave to score the 49ers’ first TD) on a 21-yard touchdown pass from WR Jauan Jennings. In addition, “Over 2.5 Players to Attempt a Pass” also cashed at +145 and “Players Other Than QB to Throw TD Pass” at around 35-1).
Will there be a missed extra point (+400)
Both kickers had great games; however, this prop cashed when the 49ers took a 16-13 lead with 11:22 left in regulation on Brock Purdy’s 10-yard TD pass to Jennings and the Chiefs broke through to block Jake Moody’s PAT attempt. Remember, the “Will a kick hit off an upright or cross bar cashed at +450 at DraftKings, so these kicking props can be fun – and profitable). This also turned out to be a critical play in the game as it kept the Chief within a field goal instead of trailing by 4 points and needing a late TD.
Game Tied after 0-0 (-120)
This was my personal Best Bet among my props in my “Tuley’s Takes’ column at VSiN.com and in the VSiN Super Bowl Betting Guide. We were hoping to get there early after the 49ers grabbed the 3-0 lead, but they went up 10-0. We were within a TD and PAT of a tie when the Chiefs pulled within 10-3, but their next score was a FG in the third quarter to make it 10-6 and get us off course. However, after the Chiefs took a 13-10 lead with 2:28 left in the third quarter on a 16-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, we were back in position. The 49ers scored a TD on a 10-yard TD pass from Brock Purdy to Jennings, so we looked in trouble again until the Chiefs blocked Moody’s PAT attempt to keep us alive at 16-13. We finally cashed when the Chiefs tied the game at 16-16 on Harrison Butker’s 24-yard FG with 5:46 remaining in the 4th quarter. Had it all the way, right?
Chiefs (+2 and +110 on moneyline)
One of the most commonly heard things the past two weeks was “you gotta take Mahomes as an underdog,” especially since he was 11-1-1 ATS in his career in that role with 10 outright upsets. Fortunately, yours truly landed on that as well, even though I felt like a square. The Super Bowl line pretty much stayed at Chiefs +2 for the entire two weeks even though some books dropped to 49ers -1 and there was some thought it could go to pick-’em, and then some books went to 49ers -2.5. Those bets on the Chiefs (as well as the moneyline to win straight-up, which wavered between +105 and +115) looked in jeopardy when they fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter, but Mahomes pulled one of his patented comebacks to get them back in the game and came through in the clutch when it mattered.
Chiefs-49ers Under (push on 47 points)
I could write a full thesis on the Over/Under of Super Bowl LVIII as an example of how important it is to shop around for the best numbers and also in timing of your bets. According to our official grading of the Super Bowl side/total, the Chiefs’ 25-22 victory landed on a push with the consensus closing Over/Under of 47 points. However, earlier bettors were able to get Under 47.5 and even Under 48 to cash their bets. Those who waited and had to settle for Under 47 ended up with a push and a refund. Further, some bettors on Sunday were betting Under 46.5 and were probably crying “bad beat,” but was it really? Conversely, Over bettors who correctly saw the total dropping and waiting to grab Over 46.5 were also rewarded. Like my mama told me, you better shop around!
Will there be Overtime: Yes (+900)
This has long been considered one of the biggest sucker bets in prop betting history as there wasn’t an overtime in the first 50 Super Bowls until the Patriots’ epic comeback in Super Bowl LI when they rallied from the infamous 28-3 deficit to force OT and win 34-28 with an opening TD drive to also cover the spread. So, those bettors finally cashed that year and now cash just seven years later when Butker booted a 29-yard field goal to tie the game at 19-19 with :03 left in regulation.
Game decided by exactly 3 points (+450)
This prop obviously cashed for the second straight year with the Chiefs 25-22 victory, but it was in great shape throughout most of the second half and should probably be considered in most years, especially when the Super Bowl line is around a field goal or lower. The Chiefs took a 13-10 lead with 2:28 left in the third quarter on that Mahomes to Valdes-Scantling TD pass and the 49ers went up 16-13 early in the fourth quarter (but only 3 because of the blocked PAT). After the Chiefs tied it 16-16, it went to 19-16, back to 19-19, then 22-19 with the 49ers taking the lead in overtime on their opening drive, but then right back on the number with the Chiefs’ game-winning TD (and no PAT attempt per the rules). A 3-point margin seemed destined and way more likely than the generous +450 price in retrospect.
Patrick Mahomes win MVP +140
It’s a popular option to bet the QB of the team you think is going to win the Super Bowl to also win the MVP as it always pays better than betting the team on the moneyline. In this case, the Chiefs were mostly around +105 to +115 to win the game outright over the course of the last two weeks, yet bettors were able to grab Mahomes around +140 for a juicier payoff. Mahomes wasn’t spectacular as he went 34-for-46 for 333 yards and two TD passes while also throwing a rare playoff interception; however, he certainly came through the clutch time and again, including the game-tying FG drive at the end of regulation and the game-winning TD drive in OT.