5 Prop Bets to Target for Super Bowl LIV
The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of prop bets, and FanDuel Sportsbook is offering a slew of props for this year's big game. Using our projections as a guide, let's take a look at some prop bets you should zero in on for Sunday's clash.
Patrick Mahomes Over 300.5 Passing Yards (-112)
Typically, projection models are conservative, and our algorithm is no exception, so it speaks to the greatness of Mahomes that we forecast him to throw for 326.6 passing yards against a San Francisco 49ers defense that our schedule-adjusted metrics rank as the league's second-best pass D.
Mahomes averaged 318.6 passing yards per game in 2018, and while that dropped to 287.9 this past season, he has surpassed 300.5 yards in eight of his 15 healthy games this campaign, including the playoffs and not counting his injury-shorted outing against the Denver Broncos.
When Mahomes was fully healthy at the start of the year, he was putting up incredible yardage totals, starting 2019 with games of 378, 443, 374, 315 and 321 yards across his first five weeks. After the knee injury against Denver in Week 7, Mahomes came back in Week 10 and put up a laughable 446 passing yards. But he reportedly dealt with a hand injury for the next few weeks and posted lackluster yardage totals by his standard, throwing for fewer than 285 yards in five of his next six outings, including three games of fewer than 200 yards.
Well, through two playoff games, Mahomes looks 100% healthy, racking up 321 passing yards versus the Houston Texans and 294 yards against the Tennessee Titans. He could've done more against Tennessee if not for the Kansas City Chiefs getting out to an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, leading to KC running the ball 27 times for the game, compared to 35 pass attempts.
It should be a much closer affair in the Super Bowl, and we will likely see Mahomes unleashed. With a supporting cast that racked up the second-most yards after the catch this season, Mahomes has the ability to throw for 300-plus yards in any matchup, and our models think he'll cruise past this prop.
Raheem Mostert Over 91.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards (-112) and Over 77.5 Rushing Yards (-102)
These two props go hand in hand. Taking the over on both feels like putting too much stock into Mostert's insane performance in the NFC Championship, but these are two bets our projections see value in.
We have Raheem Mostert totaling 104.9 yards, and we project him to get 87.7 rushing yards. So we see roughly 10 yards of value on the rushing yards prop, and we have him threatening the total yards line solely on his ground work. It's easy to see why.
The Niners like running the ball, and this is a matchup they can exploit. Kansas City boasts the league's seventh-worst run defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. The Chiefs got beaten up by running backs both through the air and on the ground, giving up the eighth-most rushing yards to the position while allowing the third-most receiving yards.
So far in these playoffs, Kyle Shanahan has shown that he's willing to keep the rock on the ground. Through two games, Jimmy Garoppolo has passed the ball a combined 28 times. If San Fran can (ha), they'd probably like to run the ball a lot to both take advantage of the soft spot of this KC defense, which was sixth-best versus the pass, as well as keep Mahomes on the sideline for long stretches.
The downside, of course, is that just two games ago, Mostert took a back seat to Tevin Coleman. The 49ers' backfield usage that game was an outlier, though. In the four games before Coleman's outburst, Mostert totaled 35 carries to Coleman's 17. Mostert got at least 10 carries in all four contests while Coleman never rushed the ball more than five times in any game in that span.
Plus, Coleman is banged up and iffy to play as of Wednesday. It seems unlikely Coleman will be at 100% even if he suits up, so maybe we see the Niners feed Mostert workhorse volume in this one in lieu of getting Matt Breida and/or Jeff Wilson more involved.
Mostert made more than two catches in just one game this season, so this recommendation could be a whiff if the Niners get in a hole, and it's certainly in the range of outcomes that another 49ers back has a big game. But with San Fran up against a run-funnel defense, one that's isn't particularly good at stopping said run, I like Mostert's chances of getting at least 78 rushing yards and 92 total yards.
Patrick Mahomes to Score 2-Plus Touchdowns (+4000)
Let's clear this up first -- per the rules of this prop bet, for Mahomes to be the touchdown scorer, he has to carry the ball across the goal-line or make a catch in the end zone. But even without his passing touchdowns counting for this bet, I like this prop as a dart throw.
From Week 14 on, counting the postseason, Mahomes has averaged 5.5 carries per contest, and he has three rushing touchdowns in his past seven games. If we look at only his last three outings, he's got carry counts of seven, seven and eight with a pair of 53-yard efforts in his two playoff games. In short, Mahomes isn't too shabby with his legs, and he's been using them more often late in the year.
With the Niners boasting one of the league's premier pass rushes, Mahomes may have to scramble more than usual in this game. That's exactly how things unfolded for a lot of opposing signal-callers this year when they played San Fran. The Niners had the fourth-most quarterback rushing attempts against them, and they gave up three running touchdowns to quarterbacks on the season.
Our models project Mahomes for 4.5 carries, 21.7 yards and 0.17 scores as a runner. While 0.17 touchdowns doesn't seem like much, it's the third-highest rushing touchdown projection behind the clips for Mostert and Damien Williams.
One goal-line plunge or a scramble into pay dirt gets us halfway there, and sometimes in the Super Bowl, with all the prep time, coaches get creative and scheme up trickery like passes to quarterbacks near the end zone (don't hit that link, Patriots fans).
Is this likely? No, obviously not, which is why we're getting a +4000 line, but this is one of my favorite long-shot bets of the game.
Tyreek Hill Under 5.5 Catches (-148)
Admittedly, this isn't one you want to touch if you think the 49ers win, as in that game script, volume may push Hill to six-plus catches. But if you think Kansas City wins or at least see it being a tight game throughout, this is a solid prop bet to attack.
Over his last five games, Tyreek Hill has a single-game high of five grabs, yet his receptions prop is at 5.5. In 14 games this year, including the playoffs, Hill has hauled in at least six passes just four times. Amazingly, he's had more than six catches only once all season. Going back to 2018, Hill recorded six-plus catches in just 8 of 18 games, counting the postseason.
All those things point toward the under being a sound bet, and we haven't even touched on the 49ers' elite pass D as they rank second against the pass, per our metrics.
Our models don't see a lot of value here, projecting Hill for 5.4 catches, but I like the under unless you think Kansas City faces a negative game script.