Super Bowl betting: Here are 3 reasons to consider an under bet for the big game
We are less than one week away from the NFL crowning a new champion at Super Bowl LVII. The opening odds surged immediately toward the Eagles, positioning them as slight 1.5-point favorites. The odds have held steady since that initial move, and it’s hard to see anything significant, like hitting the key number of 3, before kickoff. However, that might not be the case with the total, which has moved to 50.5, right up against the key number of 51.
As the injury reports this week clarify the status for several Chiefs players on both sides of the ball, the total could cross 51 or settle back toward the opening number. Mecole Hardman‘s doubtful designation makes him feel like a longshot. But positive news on fellow wideouts Kadarius Toney and Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster could give Mahomes some better weapons for Sunday. On defense, Kansas City could also be without CB L’Jarius Sneed and LB Willie Gay against a Philadelphia offense that averaged 28.7 points per game this year.
Good news on the offensive players and bad news on the defensive side for Kansas City could push this number past 51. But, conversely, the opposite could also drive the number back down under 50. So while waiting until the final injury report may feel safer, it limits your opportunity to beat the closing number in the most-bet game of the season. As enticing as getting the total at 51 is, here are three reasons I decided to jump in this morning and take a position on the under at 50.5.
Philly’s pass rush will be a real problem for Kansas City
The Eagles’ pass rush hunted quarterbacks better than any other team by a significant margin. Philadelphia finished the regular season with 70 sacks, and continued its dominance in the postseason. The Eagles’ edge rushers ripped through the Giants offensive line for five more sacks in the divisional round and knocked out both 49ers quarterbacks in the NFC championship.
You can’t stop Patrick Mahomes, but a tenacious pass rush is the best way to slow him down. In his first two Super Bowl appearances, Mahomes was impacted by pressure with mixed results. He was able to rally to beat the 49ers with a 21-point fourth quarter, but never had a chance in 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay. While the Chiefs’ interior offensive line is a strength, the offensive tackles have been less reliable. RT Andrew Wylie ranks 67th as a pass blocker amongst tackles who took at least 20% of snaps this season. Considering the Eagles have four pass rushers with double-digit sacks on the season, I expect them to be able to exploit the weakest link of the Chiefs offensive line and limit some of the off-platform plays that make Mahomes so dangerous. Without the time for long-developing plays, we will see a more efficient than explosive Chiefs offense.
Eagles will lean hard on their rushing attack
Nick Sirianni is smart enough to know that Philadelphia’s best chance at outscoring Patrick Mahomes is to have him on the field as little as possible. That’s where being able to run the ball better than anyone team over the last five years makes a huge difference. The Chiefs defense, which ranks in the top half of the league against the run, will provide enough resistance to force Philadelphia to methodically work its way down the field, chewing up clock along the way. It’s a simple formula, and it’s hard to see the Eagles not depending on their biggest strength, the offensive line, with everything on the line.
Explosive plays won’t come as easy as they have all season
It makes sense to want to smash the over when the NFL’s two most explosive offenses take the field in a perfect climate. However, defensive coordinators Jonathan Gannon and Steve Spagnuolo know exactly what they are up against, and both defensive game plans have to start with limiting explosive plays. It’s not a far cry considering it’s been a strength of each unit, and part of both teams’ DNA this season.
Philadelphia ranks sixth in opposing explosive play rate, while Kansas City is only two spots below at eighth. Both the Eagles and Chiefs like to play two safeties, and bet they can kill drives by forcing negative plays before opposing offenses can drive the length of the field. It’s worked all season, and I am betting it will continue to work on Sunday. The offenses will get their points, but the defenses will make them earn it enough to keep this one under the total.
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