Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 | 2 a.m.
The Super Bowl annually creates tension between serious gamblers and the hordes of recreational players who drop in for the biggest betting event of the year.
The former group can’t comprehend the latter putting millions of dollars down on mathematically-flawed wagers—paying juice to the house to bet heads or tails on the coin toss is Exhibit A—and therefore mocks and criticizes their approach. Most bettors simply don’t concern themselves with making smart investments and would rather just fire action on things for which they want to root.
But making bets on fun things to occur and ones that hold value don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Yes, there’s always going to be a bigger statistical edge on betting on certain events not to happen—a safety, two-point conversion and such—but it’s understandable that’s not how most people want to watch the big game.
So this year, instead of focusing on those types of bets, I’ve dug through the hundreds of wagers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to find options that appear to be both easy to root for and mispriced in favor of the bettor.
Every sportsbook now has hundreds of prop bets available, but the SuperBook was the first to post such an extensive menu, so I’ll stick to its offerings below. Numbers can also move extensively before kickoff, so I’ll include a price range for targeting most of the plays.
Patrick Mahomes to win Super Bowl MVP at +130 (i.e. risking $100 to win $130)
There should be a natural inclination to bet on the best football player in the world, but doing so by going over on his traditional statistical categories like passing yards and touchdowns is cost-prohibitive.
This is a much wiser way to back Mahomes and root for his success in every area. The number on Mahomes taking home the ultimate individual honor at the end of the night feels far too low.
Kansas City is most widely +105 on the moneyline to win the Super Bowl outright, implying more than a 5% chance that it could prevail without Mahomes winning the MVP. The true probability is much lower than that.
Mahomes is such a singular force that if the Chiefs win, it’s almost surely going to be because of him. This is a safe—and smart—bet at any price higher than the Chiefs’ moneyline down to even money.
Noah Gray to score the first touchdown at 60-to-1
Everyone knows how much Patrick Mahomes loves throwing to Travis Kelce, but it actually goes deeper than that. He loves throwing to tight ends in general—especially around the goal line.
The Chiefs have designed more end zone routes, and even deeper shots, to their No. 2 tight end, Gray, than this line suggests. The Eagles are the rare defense that might have enough talent to successfully scheme Kelce’s impact, but such extensive attention could work to Gray’s benefit.
The SuperBook has the highest price in town on Gray to score the first touchdown—he’s more commonly 40-to-1. That’s high enough to take in hopes of hitting a long shot, but pass on this bet if Gray gets any lower than that.
A.J. Brown longest reception over 25.5 yards at -110 (i.e. risking $110 to win $100)
The Eagles’ top receiver is one of the most talented wideouts in the league, but stock on him is down after a quiet opening in two playoff games. The former Tennessee Titan has only seven total catches for 50 yards, with a longest reception of 12 yards, so far in the playoffs.
But the game against the Chiefs is likely to be nothing like the Eagles’ first two contests, against the Giants and 49ers. New York and San Francisco were both totally overmatched—the latter because it was down to no healthy quarterbacks—so Philadelphia had no need to aggressively throw downfield.
The game state of the Super Bowl should be much closer, and the Eagles will need production from their best weapon. Brown went over this number 12 times during the regular season, including seven of the final eight games.
The over/under 25.5 line is pretty widespread, but can be confidently taken up to 27.5 yards.
Haason Reddick over 3.5 tackles at +120
Philadelphia’s best player in the playoffs hasn’t been any of its offensive stars, but rather, this veteran do-everything linebacker.
Reddick has been dominant enough to throw away the usual rule of betting under on tackles for the biggest-name defenders (tackles are typically harder to come by than public perception indicates). Reddick is different because he’s involved in every facet of the Eagles’ defense. He’s most known as a pass rusher but can more than hold his own in run defense and pass coverage, too.
Any plus-price on 3.5 tackles is a good bet on Reddick.
For a much bigger gamble, consider pairing the aforementioned Mahomes MVP bet with Reddick at 50-to-1. If anyone can stymie Mahomes, it’ll be Reddick and, unlike the Chiefs, the Eagles don’t have one clear leader on their team.
Nikola Jokic points and rebounds +13.5 vs. Isiah Pacheco rushing yards at -110
Cross-sport props are usually better for conversation than actual gambling. Fewer variables make it simpler to just bet players’ or teams’ individual numbers.
But again, the aim here is fun, and a lot of people like to have at least one cross-sport play mixed into their pile of tickets. Jokic, the Denver Nuggets’ superstar, is on pace for his third-straight MVP award, averaging 36 combined points and rebounds per game this year.
And on Saturday night, he’s going up against the defensively porous Charlotte Hornets, meaning his expectation should be boosted to at least 40.
Pacheco, the Chiefs’ rookie running back, has been a breakout star, but asking him to put up 54 yards or more on the ground against the Eagles’ formidable defense is a lot. Chiefs coach Andy Reid also mixes up his running backs a lot, so there’s no guarantee Pacheco even gets as large a workload as many anticipate.
This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.