Thu. Feb 27th, 2020

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Scramble for the Ball: 17th Annual Prop Bet…

38 min read


Bryan: Toss a coin to your Scramblers, and we’ll immediately blow it on very stupid things.

That’s right, it’s time for the 17th annual Prop Bets Extravaganza! Once again, we have compiled and collected prop bets that help us have a great insight into what will happen during the big game. Important questions like which team will end up scoring first, whether Jimmy Garoppolo will attempt a single pass, and how many catchphrases MC Hammer can rattle off in 30 seconds. You know, relevant questions to further our understanding.

If you’ve been following along in recent weeks, you can obviously tell that I’m very excited about this game. It’s the first time since I’ve been writing here at Football Outsiders that my favorite team is in the Super Bowl. You may think that this would be a source of bias, that I’d be out here waving the red and gold and generally making a nuisance of myself. And, indeed, you’ll find that Andrew and I have very different theories as to how the game will unfold. I’m expecting a tight, exciting, and offensively potent game, with the Chiefs’ firepower eventually outlasting the 49ers’ defensive prowess. Andrew, on the other hand, is expecting the Chiefs to jump out to a significant lead, with some garbage-time San Francisco scores making the final margin closer than the game would otherwise have it.

This may not be an entirely fair way to characterize his position, but dang it, I’m the one writing the intro, so I get to make these sorts of generalizations.

A reminder for those of you who aren’t familiar with how prop bets work:

These are all Super Bowl odds that people are actually betting on, because we have far more money than sense as a species.

Most of these bets are whether a proposition is over or under the “line,” usually a total. For example:

Number of brain cells lost due to reading this column (9.5)
Over -115
Under +105

Here, you would be betting on how many brain cells this week’s column will destroy. You would have to choose either more or fewer than 9.5. Since football stats are generally whole numbers, most propositions won’t have “push” as a viable option. If you were to bet that more than 9.5 of your little dudes would croak, you would have to wager a hypothetical $115 to win $215: your $115 that you wagered, plus $100 more (hence the “-115”). If you wanted to take the under, you would wager a hypothetical $100 to win $205: your $100 back, plus $105 (hence the “+105”). Since I imagine your Scramble writers have almost certainly killed a number of your brain cells purely through fright at this point, the under is less likely to win, therefore you’d get more money if it actually does come through.

The other bets are those with many possible options, like wagering on who will score the first touchdown in the game. The odds there will be something like:

Which Scramble writer will correctly predict the most prop bets?
Andrew Potter -130
Bryan Knowles +110

This means that if you wager $130 on Andrew, you will receive only an extra $100, because that’s the price you pay for picking the guy who won the Double Survival Challenge. If you instead believe Bryan has been saving up his correct picks for one dramatic showdown, you will receive your $100 back plus an extra $110.

For the purposes of determining a winner of this column , we’re laying down 100 Nilfgaardian Florens on any of these “pick from a crowd” bets. For over/unders we’re wagering 100 on any overs where we’re receiving positive odds (e.g., anything above +101) or whatever it takes to win 100 on any overs where we’re receiving negative odds (e.g., anything below -101).

Confused? Don’t worry; we’re keeping track of all that. All that matters are the results of the bets. So let’s bet on the Super Bowl and everything else we can think of!


GENERAL SUPER BOWL BETS

Super Bowl LIV Game Odds
San Francisco 49ers +1.5 (-115)
Kansas City Chiefs -1.5 (-105)

Bryan: Early on this year, I would have taken the 49ers over the Chiefs without too much of a problem. Mahomes was limpy and gimpy, and the San Francisco defense looked like an all-time great unit. The 49ers might be back to that point — though two healthy games is not really enough of a sample size for me to be 100% sold at this point — but the Chiefs are firing at a level they simply weren’t in September and October. A lot of that is the health of Mahomes, who I think is the best quarterback in football. Picking against a great quarterback, even against a great defense, should make anyone nervous.

But it’s not just that — it’s the run defense going from terrible to average, the plethora of weapons at their disposal, and Andy Reid getting two weeks to prepare a game plan to break down Robert Saleh’s defense. This is the Chiefs firing on all cylinders, and I’m not sure I’d pick anyone over a Chiefs team at the peak of its powers.

There are plenty of ways the 49ers can win this game, mind you. Stopping the 49ers’ running attack is more complicated than stopping the Titans’. Tennessee’s ground game is based on Derrick Henry being really good and plowing through things; the 49ers’ system is about angles and changing the pace, creating confusion with pre-snap motion and seven excellent blockers. That’s a significant San Francisco advantage there, as long as the score is close. The Chiefs don’t have the defenders to match up with the physicality of George Kittle or the speed of Deebo Samuel — and yes, the 49ers have won and can win with Jimmy Garoppolo throwing the ball. I’m expecting a good game!

But I just can’t get the idea of the Chiefs just marching down the field for touchdown after touchdown out of my head, and I think, at the end, the 49ers won’t quite have the firepower to keep up. Chiefs -1.5.

Andrew: They might have plunged into an early hole against the Texans, but otherwise the Chiefs are playing the best football they’ve played all season. Patrick Mahomes is back to his best and the receivers are catching more than they’re dropping, and that is easing the pressure on a defense that functions better against the pass than the run. San Francisco’s defense is very good, but its weakness across from Richard Sherman is a weakness the Chiefs are almost custom-built to attack. In a tight game I’m more inclined to trust the better of the two quarterbacks — especially when there’s this big a difference between them — and the specifics of the matchup tilt me further in Mahomes’ favor. Chiefs -1.5. Sorry, Bryan.

Super Bowl LIV Money Line
San Francisco 49ers (EVEN)
Kansas City Chiefs (-120)

Bryan: A line of -120 implies that the Chiefs win 54.5% of the time. Our odds give the Chiefs a 57.4% chance of winning. I could see picking the 49ers here with a longer line, even while predicting the Chiefs will cover the spread, but this is close enough that I have no problems taking the Chiefs straight up.

Andrew: I took the Chiefs above. I’ll take the Chiefs here too.

Super Bowl LIV over/under
Over 54.0 (-115)
Under 54.0 (-105)

Bryan: Two top-ten offenses going at it always makes me want to take the over. Two great offensive minds drawing up game plans makes me want to take the over. I think the Chiefs will score a lot on the 49ers because of Pat Mahomes, and the 49ers will score a lot on the Chiefs because Kansas City’s defense ain’t all that. So I’m fairly comfortable taking the over.

Andrew: The under is very tempting. 28-24 is a very realistic outcome. However, I think the Chiefs get past 30, and the 49ers won’t be a million miles behind. That’s enough to tip me toward the over.

Super Bowl LIV MVP
Patrick Mahomes (+115)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+200)
Raheem Mostert (+550)
George Kittle (+1200)
Nick Bosa (+1600)
Travis Kelce (+2000)
Tyreek Hill (+2000)
Damien Williams (+2500)
Deebo Samuel (+3500)
Sammy Watkins (+3500)
Emmanuel Sanders (+5000)
Tevin Coleman (+5000)
Richard Sherman (+6000)
Matt Breida (+6600)
Darwin Thompson (+10000)
Demarcus Robinson (+10000)
Harrison Butker (+10000)
Kendrick Bourne (+10000)
Mecole Hardman (+10000)
Robbie Gould (+10000)

Bryan: It’s quite possible we’ll see something here we haven’t seen since Super Bowl XXXII — a running back winning MVP. Obviously, if this award had been given out last week in the NFC Championship Game, it would have gone to Raheem Mostert; 200 rushing yards and a quartet of touchdowns will tend to do that for you! Had it been handed out to the 49ers the week before that, it likely would have gone to Tevin Coleman — 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns is nothing to sniff at, either. Mostert, Coleman and Matt Breida all had MVP-caliber days at one point or another during the regular season, so betting on A 49ers Running Back isn’t a bad idea; it’s just trying to guess which one it would be that makes your head spin. Add in a potential multi-sack day from Nick Bosa or a great receiving day from George Kittle, and I think you take the 49ers’ field over Jimmy Garoppolo (even if he has shown he’s capable of 400-plus-yard days — more on that in a moment). Sadly, that’s not something you can bet on, so you have to flip and parse the 49ers list quite significantly to try to find an advantage.

Fortunately, you don’t really have to bother with that too much. It is hard to imagine the Chiefs winning without Mahomes hoisting the MVP, so even if you considered the outcome of the game a 50/50 proposition — or even if you’re leaning towards 55/45 San Francisco — it’s hard to pass up Patrick Mahomes, even at the highest odds on the table. If I had to go elsewhere, I’d pick Travis Kelce; the 49ers are really good against tight ends, but, well, Kelce’s a really good tight end. A three-touchdown day, like he had against Houston in the divisional round, might put him over the top, especially if Mahomes is “limited” to just four touchdown passes. Still, no. When in doubt, you take the 2018 MVP, even at a nasty 46.5% implied probability.

Andrew: If the 49ers win, the MVP could be absolutely anybody. It could be any of three running backs, two receivers, the quarterback or the tight end on offense, and any of a handful of defenders. There’s no way I’m trying to predict any of that.

If the Chiefs win, Patrick Mahomes is the default option. There’s at least a reasonable chance that somebody other than Mahomes comes through, but even if one of the receivers has a big day, the league’s new star quarterback will get a share of the credit. That’s reflected in his odds, but it’s also why I’m taking him anyway.


TEAM/GAME PROPS

Coin toss
Heads (-105)
Tails (-105)

Bryan: The last three times the 49ers were in the Super Bowl, we had a heads. This, despite the historic 28-25 lead tails has over heads; it’s just a much stronger side of a coin. Tails, in fact, has been the result in five of the last six Super Bowls; it has been a dominant force in recent years. Still, with the return of San Francisco to the field, I think we’re about to see a resurgence of heads domination, like we saw from ’87 to ’96. The coin flip tide is about to turn, believe me! Heads.

Andrew: Tails, tails, never fails.

Team to score first in the game
San Francisco 49ers (-105)
Kansas City Chiefs (-125)

Bryan: Uh, have you seen recent Chiefs games? They went down huge to both Tennessee and Houston before coming back. This isn’t just a recent phenomenon either; the Ravens and Patriots both scored before Kansas City did in their matchups. In fact, excluding the two Matt Moore appearances, the Chiefs only scored first in eight of their 16 games this season. The 49ers, contrariwise, often get off to fast starts — 12 out of 18 of their overall games featured the 49ers scoring first, including both playoff games, both Seattle matchups, and the Green Bay game back in Week 12. So, recent form favors the 49ers, overall season-long form favors the 49ers, and the odds favor the 49ers. So, yeah, I’m taking the 49ers to jump out to an early lead, at which point I’ll be pleading for the refs to stop the game.

Andrew: A strong case, succinctly made. The 49ers will score on their opening drive. The Chiefs won’t. By halftime, it won’t really matter all that much.

First scoring play
Touchdown (-190)
Field Goal or Safety (+145)

Bryan: I’d stay away from both of these odds; they’re both pretty spot-on with a fair house advantage. That being said, I think both coaches will know that they’ll need to score touchdowns, and plenty of them, to win; these are two of the top five scoring offenses in the league. So, while Kyle Shanahan has often been far too conservative with kicking short field goals, I think he makes sure his guys get into the end zone if the 49ers score first, and the Chiefs are likely to zip all around the field. I don’t like the line, but I’ll take a touchdown.

Andrew: Kyle Shanahan has been conservative recently, but he hasn’t needed to be anything else. I think he’ll recognize that he isn’t going to beat the Chiefs only kicking field goals, and he’ll be aggressive unless the down-and-distance really is prohibitive. That improves the chances of a touchdown, which is what we’ll get.

Will the team that scores first win the game?
Yes (-190)
No (+145)

Bryan: Oh, no, no, no, no. Again, have they watched any Chiefs games this season? The Chiefs had eight non-Moore games in a row where the team getting on the scoreboard first ended up losing the game. All six Mahomes-vs.-Playoff Team games this season saw the losing team score first; that’s how every Kansas City game ends up playing out. Obviously, just because it has happened a lot in the past doesn’t mean it will happen a lot in the future, but look at those odds — that’s an implied 65% chance that the first team to score wins, and just a 40% chance that they go on to lose. In a game I expect to feature a lot of points, going back and forth, up and down the field, I don’t think just managing to get in the end zone first is worth 15% of added win probability. You expect the team to score first to win more games because sometimes, the team that doesn’t score first doesn’t score at all. I … tend to think that’s not a realistic outcome this year.

Andrew: I’ve already predicted that the 49ers will score first, but the Chiefs will win. I may as well go all-in on that outcome. No, the team that scores first will also score last, and still lose.

Team to score last in the game
San Francisco 49ers (-115)
Kansas City Chiefs (-115)

Bryan: At even odds, give me the 49ers once again. The Chiefs allowed 18 fourth-quarter scores this season; the 49ers 16. The 49ers have scored 22 times in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs just 16. Plus, it sort of fits in with my general theory of the game — the Chiefs jumping to a multi-score lead late, and the 49ers taking advantage of a soft Kansas City defense to come some of the way back, but not quite all of the way.

Andrew: See above. San Francisco will open the scoring. San Francisco will close the scoring. Between those ends, the Chiefs will score considerably more than the 49ers do.

Will either team score three straight times in the game?
Yes (-300)
No (+220)

Bryan: Will it happen? Yes, I think it will. The Chiefs are explosive and can score any time they touch the ball. The 49ers are good at generating turnovers and punts, which could give them a run of good field position — plus, there’s halftime, so all you really need is a pair of scores to end the second quarter, and the ball back in Quarter No. 3. I think this is going to be a very swingy game, rather than just trading touchdowns back and forth. The problem is, those odds are so bad. Am I really willing to say that there’s a 75% chance that a team scores three times in a row? Yes. Yes I am.

Andrew: Yes, the Chiefs will. One or two of them might be a field goal, but they’ll be leading at that point so a field goal is fine. I can easily see the 49ers holding the Chiefs to field goals repeatedly, but that being enough to pad the lead.

Margin of victory
49ers by 1-6 Points (+375)
49ers by 7-12 points (+600)
49ers by 13-18 points (+850)
49ers by 19-24 points (+1400)
49ers by 25-30 points (+2200)
49ers by 31-36 points (+4000)
49ers by 37-42 points (+5500)
49ers by 43+ points (+8000)
Chiefs by 1-6 points (+350)
Chiefs by 7-12 points (+550)
Chiefs by 13-18 points (+800)
Chiefs by 19-24 points (+1200)
Chiefs by 25-30 points (+2000)
Chiefs by 31-36 points (+3500)
Chiefs by 37-42 points (+5500)
Chiefs by 43+ points (+6600)

Bryan: I’m interested in those first three Chiefs buckets; a 14- to 17-point win doesn’t seem out of the question from a quick-striking Chiefs offense. I’m also moderately intrigued by Chiefs by 31 to 36; of all the absolute blow-out scenarios, it seems like it has the best mix of reasonable odds and a reasonable score. But no, I’m still sticking with a closer game, so I’ve got to look towards the middle of the table. The most likely outcomes are Chiefs by 1 to 6 and 49ers by 1 to 6, but I’ll take one step back and get better odds with the Chiefs by 7 to 12 grouping. “Chiefs take a big lead; their opponent cuts it late against the prevent defense but can’t quite close the deal” is a totally reasonable scenario — it describes the AFC Championship Game to a T, as well as the Patriots game from Week 14. The 49ers don’t generally go far down; their only two-score loss this season came when Atlanta scored two touchdowns in the final five seconds of the game. Still, at +550 odds, I’ll take it.

Andrew: Dangit, we’re continuing our recent trend of agreeing on absolutely everything. Yes, the Chiefs by roughly a touchdown is my expected outcome, firmly in the Kansas City by 7 to 12 bin. I think the 49ers will go down by two scores, but won’t necessarily stay down by two scores.

What will be the first offensive play of the game?
Run (-150)
Pass (+115)

Bryan: No team in football passed more often in neutral game situations than the Kansas City Chiefs, and it wasn’t even close — 62%, crushing the likes of the pass-happy Saints and Falcons. The 49ers have been fairly run-heavy on early downs, carrying the ball 59% of the time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to silence some of the “Garoppolo can’t throw!” nonsense with a quick bomb. Either way, give me a pass, complete with the better odds.

Andrew: San Francisco. Play-action pass, going for the quick strike on the opening drive. Start as you mean to go on. Pass.

Which will be the highest scoring quarter?
First Quarter (+500)
Second Quarter (+175)
Third Quarter (+450)
Fourth Quarter (+205)
Tie (+800)

Bryan: The second and fourth quarters are typically the highest scoring, but man, does Vegas want you to pay through the nose for the rights to take them, so they’re right out, as is the tie scenario. The Chiefs have been sluggish in both the first and third quarters this season — only four of their non-Moore games saw either quarter be their highest-scoring, and the first quarter hasn’t seen the most action in a Kansas City game since way back in Week 7 against Denver. The 49ers have been more evenly spaced throughout the game; just as likely to jump out to a big lead in the first quarter (see: the divisional round) as they are to allow third-quarter comebacks (see: both Packers games). I’ll take the first quarter, just because it has the longest odds, but I don’t like any of these picks.

Andrew: The first quarter tends to be relatively cautious, which is why it has the longest odds. The clock stoppages in the second and fourth quarter really help. I think, by the fourth quarter, somebody will be draining clock. I like the odds for the third quarter to be the period in which a lot of the scoring takes place, after the halftime adjustments but before one team is trying to close the game out.


TOUCHDOWNS AND FIELD GOALS

First touchdown scorer
Raheem Mostert (+600)
Damien Williams (+700)
Travis Kelce (+800)
George Kittle (+1000)
Tyreek Hill (+1000)
Deebo Samuel (+1200)
Tevin Coleman (+1400)
Emmanuel Sanders (+1600)
Sammy Watkins (+1600)
49ers D/ST (+2000)
Kendrick Bourne (+2000)
Mecole Hardman (+2000)
Chiefs D/ST (+2500)
Darwin Thompson (+2500)
Matt Breida (+2500)
Patrick Mahomes (+2500)
Jeff Wilson (+3300)
Kyle Juszcyzk (+3300)
LeSean McCoy (+3300)
Jimmy Garoppolo (+4000)
Anthony Sherman (+5000)
Deon Yelder (+5000)
Ross Dwelley (+5000)
No Touchdown Scored (+25000)

Bryan: Quite a few interesting lines to be had here. We’ve warned our Scramble readers about top Touchdown Thief Jeff Wilson; if Tevin Coleman ends up unable to go, Wilson will be active and is a goal-line threat, at a very reasonable +3300. A downfield bomb to Mecole Hardman has a pretty nice line, as well. But no, for me, the best values here can be found in San Francisco’s receiving corps. Mostert and Kittle are overpriced, one based on his massive NFC Championship Game, the other on general overall reputation. But the three wideouts — Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and Kendrick Bourne — all offer pretty juicy payouts. I was really, really tempted to grab Bourne; he opened the scoring against Minnesota and Kansas City ranks just 21st against “other receivers.” But no, in the end, I can only go one way. Are we not men? We are Deebo.

Andrew: George Kittle has barely been sighted as a receiver during these playoffs, much to my fantasy team’s dismay. That will change in this game: the 49ers will know that they have to pass, and their most versatile receiver will be a big part of that action. Give me a wide-open Kittle touchdown on the opening drive, and a 7-0 49ers lead.

Longest touchdown yardage in the game
Over 44.5 (-115)
Under 44.5 (-115)

Bryan: If a long touchdown is gonna happen, it’s gonna be from the Chiefs. Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman have three 45-plus-yard scores each; the 49ers have five as an entire team. For as good as the 49ers’ defense is, they don’t really scoop and score that much; at least, not from distance. I’m still taking the over, though I don’t know how much of that is deep analysis and how much of that is wishful thinking.

Andrew: Over. Somebody’s going to have a coverage breakdown, and there are too many receivers who are too fast to be caught when that happens. Between Tyreek, Deebo, Sammy, and Mecole, somebody, somewhere, somewhen is going to boom big. Over.

Shortest touchdown yardage in the game
Over 1.5 (-110)
Under 1.5 (-120)

Bryan: Thirteen of San Francisco’s 18 games have involved a 1-yard touchdown — perhaps surprisingly, more given up by the 49ers defense than scored by the 49ers’ offense. That’s probably in part due to the running game being good enough to not get stopped at the 1 particularly often, as well as a lack of throws in the end zone to draw pass interference flags. It’s not quite as frequent in Chiefs games, but Kansas City has actually scored more 1-yard plunges than San Francisco has. In short, I’m taking the under, and it’s pretty easy.

Andrew: Under 1.5 yards nowadays seems like a relatively safe bet to me. At some point, somebody’s getting stuffed, and conventional wisdom is finally beginning to swing toward going for it on fourth-and-1 at the goal line. In this game, both teams will like their chances of converting that. I like the odds that at least one of them will do so. Under.

Longest successful field goal in the game
Over 47.5 (-115)
Under 47.5 (-115)

Bryan: Robbie Gould is 1-for-5 this season from 48 yards or more out, finally getting on the board against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Harrison Butker is a more reasonable 4-for-7, so if this is going to happen, it’ll likely be Butker booting a long bomb after the 49ers’ defense stiffens up … but only four teams have even attempted long field goals against the 49ers this season. No, I think this is just a bit too far; only about one in five games have had 48-plus-yard field goals this season, and neither team is particularly known for their kicking prowess. Under.

Andrew: I don’t think either of these coaches will see a long field goal as an acceptable outcome unless the down-and-distance is dire. Both would prefer to go for it rather than risk handing the other team possession with a short field. If there are any field goals, they’ll be from closer in. Under.


OTHER GAME EVENTS

The first turnover of the game will be?
Fumble (+140)
Interception (-175)
No Turnovers (+900)

Bryan: Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown an interception in 11 games this season; only Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston were kind enough to give so many opponents free passes. At some point, a linebacker is going to drift into zone coverage, Garoppolo is going to assume that makes them intangible and irrelevant, and he’s going to sling it right to him. Like, a 50-50 chance that happens. Still, though, those odds are kind of low, and I’m tempted by the 9-to-1 odds on the No Turnovers line. Only two of San Francisco’s 18 games had no turnovers, but hey — that’s above 10%. And three of Kansas City’s 16 non-Moore games had no turnovers; that’s nearly 20%. You know what? I’ll take it — a good, clean, turnover-free game for the first time since Super Bowl XXXIV.

Andrew: I feel confident that Jimmy Garoppolo will throw an interception at some point. The question is, “when?” Will it be early enough that the 49ers have time to overcome it, or late enough that it effectively seals the game for Kansas City? I’m going with late, but I still consider it more likely than a fumble. Interception.

Will the game go to overtime?
Yes (+850)
No (-2500)

Bryan: No. For the sake of my heart, if nothing else.

Andrew: Yes, but only so I don’t lose a backbreaking amount of money in the unlikely event that it does.

How many players will have a passing attempt?
Over 2.5 (-150)
Under 2.5 (+110)

Bryan: The 49ers are two-for-two this season on non-QB pass attempts; both Dante Pettis and Emmanuel Sanders have shown off their arm. Pettis hasn’t seen the field in months, but you can’t rule out another Sanders shot as Kyle Shanahan empties his playbook. Dustin Colquitt tried one pass for the Chiefs, but that wasn’t by design; it was a botched field goal attempt. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have also attempted passes for Andy Reid’s Chiefs, but both of them fell incomplete. In short, the best chance this prop has of passing is if the game’s such a blowout that the reserves come in, and I don’t see that happening. Under.

Andrew: I’m really not sure why the under has better odds than the over, considering the teams involved. The fact that it does makes this one easy. Under.

Will any TD be overturned by replay?
Yes (+155)
No (-220)

Bryan: This is probably wishful thinking, but no. The NFL will try it’s best to not make the refs the story of the game, and will only overturn something if there’s no getting around it.

Andrew: Nah, let’s not have any of that rubbish. No.

Will both teams combined score 76 or more points to break the Super Bowl record?
Yes (+450)
No (-850)

Bryan: 76 points is a lot of points. Both the Chiefs and 49ers have only gone over 40 points three times this year, and the 49ers just don’t play fast enough to be particularly conducive to a zillion-point shootout. I don’t think you could find a better team in the AFC to try to break the record than Kansas City, but I don’t see a repeat of the New Orleans shootout for the 49ers. No.

Andrew: No, not a chance, not happening, and no. Even if these two teams did go crazy, their strategic approach means we might not have time for that many scoring drives. Realistically, we’re talking about one of these teams hitting 40 for that to even be possible and I just don’t see it. No.

Will there be a successful two-point conversion attempt in the game?
Yes (+220)
No (-340)

Bryan: Kansas City has only attempted one actual two-point conversion all season long, against Denver in Week 15. This is partly because the Chiefs weren’t in tons of close games this year, but also partly because Andy Reid is fairly old school, not “chasing points” when he doesn’t have to. Since Reid took over as the Chiefs’ head coach in 2013, Kansas City has only attempted 15 two-point conversions, tied for fourth-fewest in the league. All but two of them have come in the fourth quarter. Kyle Shanahan is a little more willing to go for it, picking up 12 attempts in his three years as 49ers coach (tied for seventh-most over that span) and trying it five times in 2019. If the question was if a two-point conversion would be attempted, I might be tempted to bet on it. As it is, I think no, we’ll just see standard extra points.

Andrew: Yes, but only to minimize my losses if I’m wrong. I don’t think there actually will be, but it’s not so unlikely that I’m willing to wager three-and-a-half times my possible winnings on it not happening.

Will either team hit the upright or crossbar on a missed field goal or extra point attempt?
Yes (+375)
No (-650)

Bryan: No. What, Cody Parkey is going to get signed before kickoff? We’re still doing this, prop bet makers? Alright, sure.

Andrew: I hate this prop. No, but randomness sucks.

Will there be an onside kick attempt in the game?
Yes (-110)
No (-130)

Bryan: No. The onside kick has become so difficult that even the NFL is admitting quasi-defeat, testing out new rules during the Pro Bowl to see what could eventually replace the onside kick. It would take an act of pure desperation for either team to attempt one.

Andrew: It’s time to do away with the onside kick. Make the kickoff a punt, where teams have the option of a straight-up punt, going for it, or a fake to replace the surprise onside. At least then, it might be worth the attempt. Right now, it is not. No.

Will a special teams or defensive TD be scored?
Yes (+190)
No (-290)

Bryan: I’ll take a longshot here, sure. The 49ers do have five defensive touchdowns on the year, though two of them came in the same game courtesy of Jameis Winston. It’s fair to say that Mahomes is unlikely to be as generous as Winston is when it comes to throwing up prayers. But, again, Garoppolo has had more than his fair share of disastrous moments; only one of them has led to a touchdown so far this season, but why not go with the longer odds? Jimmy G throws a touchdown to Ben Niemann, who runs it back for six for Kansas City. Yes.

Andrew: Ben Niemann is a very random choice of player to score. I don’t think this is going to happen, but I’m hedging to minimize my losses again here. Yes, somebody will run in the fumble that I don’t actually think is going to happen.


CHIEFS PLAYER PROP STATS

Total Passing Yards — Patrick Mahomes
Over 304.5 (-114)
Under 304.5 (-114)

Bryan: Oh, you better believe I’m taking the over. He has only topped 300 yards passing in half his starts, and he didn’t do it against Tennessee, but I think Mahomes will have to be throwing early and often, even against San Francisco’s tough pass defense. The game should be close throughout, meaning the Chiefs can stick to their pass first, second, and third philosophy. I think Mahomes pushes up near 40 pass attempts, and that should get him well over the 300-yard barrier.

Andrew: This is three hundred and four, not four hundred and four, right? Mahomes might approach that in either half alone. For the game, I’m thinking around 400 yards. This seems like it’s at least half a century too low. All the way over.

Total Receiving Yards — Tyreek Hill
Over 74.5 (-114)
Under 74.5 (-114)

Bryan: Over. If Mahomes is throwing for 300, 350 yards, someone’s gotta catch them, right? Hill has only hit the over on this prop four times this season, but I’m not sure any of San Francisco’s corners can keep up with Hill’s speed. The 49ers’ best chance of stopping a long bomb to Hill is to sack Mahomes, or at least pressure him so he can’t hold on to the ball. Mahomes should escape at least once or twice, however, and all it takes is one deep shot to Hill to break this prop wide open.

Andrew: Hill is a really, really bad matchup for San Francisco. He’s too fast and elusive for Richard Sherman, but he will utterly roast whichever other corner they put on him. He’s the most likely candidate for the long-score prop above, and he’ll be too involved elsewhere to keep down. Over.

Total Receptions — Travis Kelce
Over 6 (-114)
Under 6 (-114)

Bryan: Over, albeit not for very many yards. The 49ers have done an excellent job shutting down tight ends this season, ranking second in DVOA against them. They haven’t faced someone as good as Kelce, however. I think Kelce will end up playing a lot of safety valve for Mahomes against that ferocious four-man pass rush, giving him plenty of opportunity to rack up large reception numbers.

Andrew: Kelce has exceeded six receptions in 10 of his 18 games this season, including the first playoff game. The odds are very good that he at least pushes this horrible whole-number line, and very slight that he fails to reach it. That puts me firmly in over territory, though I’d be a lot more comfortable if the line was a half-point lower.

Will the Chiefs hold Jimmy Garoppolo under 100 passing yards … and still lose?
Yes (+600)
No (-1500)

Bryan: This is the closest thing we have to a Chiefs defensive prop at this point in time; most individual player props don’t go live until Thursday evening, and we want to get the prop bets article out a bit faster than that. So, our defensive prop is basically “are the Chiefs as bad at stopping the run as the Packers were?”

This is a meme prop. It really is. Yes, the 49ers beat the Packers with Garoppolo throwing for just 77 yards, but they’ve also won with Garoppolo throwing for 424 yards. The idea that the 49ers are afraid to let Garoppolo pass is ridiculous; just ask Drew Brees and company. Unlike the Packers and Vikings, I’m confident the Chiefs will force Kyle Shanahan to go to Page 2 of his playbook. No.

Andrew: I don’t see any way the 49ers defense can keep Kansas City’s offense so completely in check that their own offense doesn’t see the need to pass. Even if Kansas City’s run defense collapses, San Francisco will never be secure enough to just squat over the ball. Garoppolo is going over 100 yards, win or lose, rain or shine. No.


49ERS PLAYER PROP STATS

Total Pass Completions — Jimmy Garoppolo
Over 19.5 (-114)
Under 19.5 (-114)

Bryan: Again, Jimmy Garoppolo is an above-average quarterback. He was 11th in DVOA, 12th in DYAR. He has only completed 17 passes this postseason — and doesn’t even qualify for the QBR tables, hilariously — but the 49ers are A-OK with Jimmy G throwing the ball.

That being said, he has only hit 20 completions eight times this season, so don’t pencil this in as an automatic win just yet. The 49ers will attempt more than eight passes, but they beat the Seahawks with Garoppolo going 18-for-22. He is not the focal point of the offense. I’m still saying he goes over 19.5, but this isn’t a gimme.

Andrew: This is a precarious line. Will Garoppolo hit 20 completions? I expect San Francisco to need to pass enough that he does. Something like 22-of-30 in the end sounds about right for my expectations. It’s not much of an over, but it is an over.

Total Receiving Yards — George Kittle
Over 70.5 (-114)
Under 70.5 (-114)

Bryan: Kittle has gone over 70 yards receiving in seven games this season, but has yet to top 20 in the postseason. It simply hasn’t been necessary for him to be involved as a receiver, and you don’t get stats for pancake blocks. Kansas City has done a very good job stopping tight ends this year, but I question which members of the Chiefs defense can match up physically with Kittle. A couple of play-action boots and some broken tackles later, and Kittle should go over 70 yards.

Andrew: The 49ers will need to pass, and they’ll need Kittle involved as a receiver to do that effectively. If Jimmy Garoppolo goes over 20 completions, Kittle goes over 70 yards.

Total Rushing Yards — Raheem Mostert
Over 76 (-114)
Under 76 (-114)

Bryan: Latest word is Tevin Coleman will be active for the Super Bowl, so you’re playing the good ol’ Shanahan Shuffle, trying to predict the 49ers’ run game. It is notable that Coleman got the heavy workload against Minnesota, as well as the first snaps against Green Bay. If he doesn’t dislocate his shoulder, maybe he gets a couple of those four Mostert touchdowns. I do think Shanahan will keep running with the hot hand, and few hands are hotter right now than Mostert, so I’ll pick the over one more time — can you tell I’m expecting offense in this one?

Andrew: There are too many 49ers running backs, and I expect them to play much of the game from behind. Mostert as the clear starter might clear this line. Mostert as part of a Shanahan rotation in a game they play in chase mode? I’m not so sure. Under.

Will Dee Ford have a sack against his former team?
Yes (+150)
No (-200)

Bryan: If Dee Ford hadn’t jumped offsides in last year’s AFC Championship Game, we might be talking about the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs looking for a repeat. Instead, here’s Ford trying to ruin the Chiefs’ season once again. Ford was back to his full workload against the Packers, so there’s no need to worry about his health entering the Super Bowl. Kansas City has excellent tackles and a strong pressure rate, so the 49ers’ pass rush will have its work out for them, but Robert Saleh has been stacking Ford and Nick Bosa on the same side of the line. That means one of them gets to attack Kansas City’s relatively week guards and interior linemen. I think Ford gets home for one sack, yes.

Andrew: I’m with you on that one. Ford is a key situational rusher on a very deep and talented front four against a team that loves to pass. He’ll get to Mahomes at least once, yes.


EXOTIC PROPS

Who will the FOX Broadcast mention first?
Joe Montana (-125)
Jerry Rice (+125)
Steve Young (+300)

Bryan: The 49ers’ three Super Bowl MVPs, and all three have legit reasons to be brought up by the broadcast. Joe Montana, of course, played for both the 49ers and Chiefs — more on that in a moment. Jerry Rice was at the Packers game, catching passes and generally looking like he could suit up again at any moment — and, just as important, was the 49ers’ MVP the first time they played a Super Bowl in Miami, so there’s an obvious segue to 49ers Super Bowls of Miami Past somewhere during the broadcast. I think I’m going to rule out Steve Young — he, too, was a 49ers MVP in a Miami Super Bowl, but he was the second player to earn that distinction, and so if Joe Buck and Troy Aikman start talking about the 49ers’ history, either in the Super Bowl or in Miami, then Young isn’t going to be the first mentioned. Montana doesn’t show up for as many 49ers games as either Rice or Young, and he even skipped Super Bowl XL when nearly all the living former Super Bowl MVPs were honored before the game. That being said, there’s no way he’s missing this one, the cameras will find him, and he’ll get mentioned.

Andrew: Joe Montana played for both teams. He’ll definitely be mentioned most. Not sure that means he’ll be mentioned first, but I suspect he will be. Montana.

Will FOX show a clip of the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV?
Yes (-300)
No (+200)

Bryan: They’d better. I need a dose of Hank Stram and matriculating the ball down the field. Double credit if the Chiefs score on 65 Toss Power Trap. It might well pop right open. Yes

Andrew: Undoubtedly. Why wouldn’t they? Yes.

Will FOX show a clip/pic of Joe Montana playing with the Kansas City Chiefs?
Yes (+150)
No (-200)

Bryan: All these Joe Montana props are there because of the long history of the Chiefs grabbing ex-49ers under center. There’s a related prop as to whether Alex Smith will be mentioned, and you might even get rare Steve DeBerg, Elvis Grbac or Steve Bono references if the game is particularly uninteresting. That being said, I think while they’ll mention the connection at some point, I doubt they’ll roll any old footage unless it’s a really slow game, which I doubt it will be. So no.

Andrew: When they mention him, they’ll show pictures of him in both uniforms. Yes.

Will Darrelle Revis tweet about Richard Sherman during the game?
Yes (+120)
No (-200)

Bryan: This is referencing the Revis-Sherman Twitter feud which broke out after Sherman allowed Davante Adams to catch a 65-yard bomb late in the NFC Championship Game. Adams thinks Sherman is far overrated, a glorified Cover-3 specialist who isn’t up for the challenge of shadowing his opponent’s best receiver — he’s “hiding,” because of a “fear of getting beat.” He was still tweeting and retweeting stuff about the feud as of Wednesday morning, so he’s not letting it slide. I do think Sherman will have to get beat deep for Revis to bring it back up during the game — and I think the Chiefs will get one over on him. So yes, bring in the tweets straight from Revis Island.

Andrew: Twitter feuds are one of humanity’s very lowest forms of entertainment, right down in the muck with reality TV and Friends reruns. Revis isn’t going to let this lie, and it only takes one play for the sniping to start. Yes, but nobody should care.

How long will it take Demi Lovato to sing the U.S. National Anthem?
Over 2 minutes (-175)
Under 2 minutes (+135)

Bryan: I had to go to the tape to scout this one out. Lovato took a brisk 1:52 to sing the anthem before a Cowboys game in 2008, a lightning fast 1:48 before Game 5 of the 2011 World Series, and just 1:51 during Game 4 of the 2012 World Series. Short, to the point, and well under time. But since then, things have gotten worse. It took her 1:58 to get through the anthem during Game 4 of the 2015 World Series and a laggy 2:12 to belt it out during Mayweather vs. McGregor. She has started stretching that final syllable out, jumping up over an octave to finish with a flourish, and as she has grown more experienced, she’s taking longer, and longer, and longer to finish. I think she’ll fly over the two-minute mark without much trouble.

Andrew: She’s a performer. A very talented one, at that. Stages don’t get much bigger than this. She’s stretching this out and milking it. This is an easy over.

Will any scoring drive take less time than it takes Demi Lovato to sing the national anthem?
Yes (-200)
No (+150)

Bryan: Oh, for sure. The Chiefs had 26 sub-two-minute scoring drives this season; the 49ers had 22. These teams aren’t going to poke around all day! We’ll probably see two or three clock in under two minutes, in all likelihood. Yes.

Andrew: How do you write three-play scoring drive in musical notation? Yes, at least one team will score in less time than the anthem.

How many songs will be sung in Spanish during the halftime show?
Over 1.5 (-300)
Under 1.5 (+200)

Bryan: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are much more fitting than Maroon 5 was last year, I’ll tell you what. While neither are actually from Miami, picking some Latin dance-pop makes a ton more sense for the setting. Besides, both are performers and not just singers, and so there’ll probably be some choreography and dancing, rather than just standing there doing a weird striptease and a fake-out SpongeBob crossover. Gotta be better than last year, just by the law of averages.

It has not been made clear what “sung in Spanish” specifically means for this prop — does it have to be entirely in Spanish, or is just a Spanish section or phrase enough? If it’s the latter, I think they’ll hit the Over, with each headliner taking one. Can’t let the other one show them up, after all.

Andrew: They’re going to get at least one each, then possibly a third together. Enough of their songs have both Spanish and English lyrics that they’ll probably switch between the two a couple of times. The prop has to account for that, so I’m confident they’ll count any verse or phrase from the song. That will be enough to comfortably hit the over.

Which of these Jennifer Lopez songs will be sung first during the halftime show?
Let’s Get Loud (+300)
On The Floor (+300)
Live It Up (+500)
El Anillo (+750)
Get Right (+1000)
Waiting For Tonight (+1000)
If You Had My Love (+1200)
Love Don’t Cost a Thing (+1200)
I’m Real (+1500)
Ain’t It Funny (+1500)
I’m Gonna Be Alright (+1500)
Que Hiciste (+1800)
Jenny From the Block (+2000)

Bryan: JLo has been opening her 2019 shows with Medicine, but that’s not one of the options, nor has it exactly been carving up the charts. Let’s Get Loud is a big choice, but that might be a great choice for a closer; I think it’s between that and Hips Don’t Lie, depending on who gets which slot. On the Floor is begging for a Pitbull cameo, and I don’t think you open with the guest star — ditto Live It Up. El Anillo isn’t big enough of a song to open a Super Bowl halftime show. I’m going to go down a bit and say that her first song will be Love Don’t Cost a Thing; it’s not exactly the way I’d kick things off, but I think there are too many arguments against the other options.

Andrew: I love these props. Jennifer Lopez is going to open with Waiting for Tonight, with at least one verse of the Una noche más Spanish lyrics, hitting on two of these props nice and early. Necesitamos más de lo que ella nos da, pero…

Which of these Shakira songs will be sung first during the halftime show?
Whenever, Wherever (+250)
Dare (+350)
La Tortura (+500)
Can’t Remember to Forget You (+550)
Waka Waka (+700)
Hips Don’t Lie (+850)
Rabiosa (+1100)
She Wolf (+1200)
La Bicicleta (+1500)
Try Everything (+1500)
Chantaje (+1800)

Bryan: I’m just going with the odds here and picking Whenever, Wherever. It’s still the song I think of first when I think of Shakira, it’s instantly recognizable, it’s got a good singalong potential, it doesn’t require a guest verse … this is all good stuff.

Andrew:Shakira cantará Suerte con un verso en inglés, and that will get us the two we need. Suerte, of course, being Whenever, Wherever, which is an absolutely glorious pop song. I am very much looking forward to this halftime show.

Which of these songs will be sung last during the halftime show?
Live It Up (+185)
Whenever, Wherever (+240)
Can’t Remember to Forget You (+333)
Let’s Get Loud (+450)
On The Floor (+575)

Bryan: And then this is where I go with Let’s Get Loud. I’m concerned that now JLo will open with it and I’ll look like an idiot, but this is JLo’s signature, and a great way to close the show. Plus, as it was co-written by Gloria Estefan, there’s an opportunity for guest vocals on this one, making it even more fitting as a closer.

Andrew: It’s going to be something they can sing together, isn’t it? The favorite is a song I hope not to hear at all, I expect to hear the second-favorite earlier in the show, and Let’s Get Loud seems like the perfect closer. I hate to agree with you on two of these three props, but I guess that’s where we are with this thing.

Will any of the following make an appearance during the halftime show?
Pitbull (-400)
Ricky Martin (-130)
Gloria Estefan (+250)
DJ Khaled (+300)
Will Smith (+300)
Marc Anthony (+400)
The “In Living Color” Fly Girls (+425)
Enrique Iglesias (+500)
Rhianna (+800)

Bryan: This is actually a bunch of different props pushed together to save space here — everyone is fairly sure that there will be at least some guest appearances during halftime, they just can’t agree on who. Pitbull shows up everywhere and has been featured on singles for both JLo and Shakira; he’s pretty much a gimme. Ricky Martin has teased an appearance, though I think he’s more trying to get people to remember Ricky Martin exists more than anything else. Gloria Estefan has said, explicitly, that she will not be part of the halftime show, which ironically enough makes me suspect she’ll be there all the more; she’s a part owner of the Dolphins and a Miami legend, so she’d fit right in as a special guest appearance. Pitbull would likely be some free and easy points, but I’ll take Estefan pulling a double-bluff, and hope for an appearance from the Miami Sound Machine.

Andrew: I strongly hope that Pitbull doesn’t show up, but I am absolutely not willing to lose money on that prospect. I’ll happily watch some Gloria Estefan in a show of female solidarity. You can keep the rest of these (except Rihanna, who would be equally welcome) off my screen, thanks.

Will Shakira and Jennifer Lopez twerk during the halftime show?
Yes (+170)
No (-250)

Bryan: Now, I’m not entirely sure how this is going to be judged. I haven’t been to a club in years; I don’t think I could recognize someone twerking if they were doing it right in front of me. I put this prop on here to remind myself that I’m old and no longer hip with the kids of today. No.

Andrew: No, they’ll be too busy actually dancing for any of that nonsense.

What color will the liquid be that is poured on the head coach of the winning team?
Clear/Water (+160)
Lime/Green/Yellow (+350)
Blue (+350)
Orange (+400)
Red (+400)
Purple (+1200)

Bryan: With neither team having recent Super Bowl appearances to analyze here, we’re left with very little to go on. There has been no rhyme or reason to the “liquid” choice, and my attempt to get Vegas to accept “motor oil” at 10,000-to-1 has once again been met with failure. So I shall instead pick red, as this is the first-ever Super Bowl between teams with red as a primary color. It’s literally as good a reason as anything else.

Andrew: Both of these teams play in red. It has to be red, doesn’t it?

Who will the Super Bowl MVP mention first after he is presented the trophy?
Teammates (+160)
God (+190)
Friend or Family Member (+400)
City (+850)
Coach (+1000)
Owner (+1200)
None of the Above (+400)

Bryan: If the Chiefs win, it will be Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl, after years and years of coming close. I’ll take Pat Mahomes giving it up for his coach, as the general public finally accepts that Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in league history.

Andrew: I have Mahomes as the MVP, and that means he’s thanking his coach.

How many commercials will have a dog in it?
Over 3.5 (-130)
Under 3.5 (-110)

Bryan: I think we’re past the heyday of animal reaction shots. At least, I hope we are. I’ll take the under, but I’m a cat person, anyway.

Andrew: Unless we’re dressing a dog up as the Bud Knight, all dog bets are off. Under.

Will MC Hammer say “hammer time” in his Cheetos commercial?
Yes (-200)
No (+150)

Bryan: First thought: why on earth would you hire MC Hammer for your commercial if you are not going to have him say “hammer time?” I suppose it’s possible someone else could say hammer time, thus establishing that it is, indeed, hammer time, without the man himself making it clear. And, since it’s a Cheetos commercial, I’m going to assume that the plot is Hammer getting his fingers covered in orange “cheese” dust, and thus being unable to touch things. In that case, that might be sufficient reference to work with in a 30-second spot, merely leaving the hammer time implied. Over the course of this paragraph, I’ve talked myself out of it. No.

Andrew: True story: I play FIFA Pro Clubs in a club named FC Hammertime. I’m here for MC Hammer, and I’m here for his catchphrase. I’m not reading past your first sentence. Why would you bring him in not to say it? Yes.

Will a Mountain Dew commercial say “Here’s Johnny?”
Yes (+200)
No (-300)

Bryan: This seems like a non-sequitur until you learn that Mountain Dew is doing a Shining parody, because they are exceptionally timely, apparently. The teaser is just the typewriter scene, which is not the “Here’s Johnny” scene — but again, why would you pick The Shining, a 30-year-old film, if you’re not going to use its most famous line? Once again, I suppose they could twist it, but into what? “Here’s Mountain Dew?” No, that would be stupid. I say yes, they use the line.

Andrew: I’m sticking to the same logic as before, for the same reasons. Why would you, if you aren’t going to? Yes, they use the line.

Bryan: This is just a small smattering of the over 400 props you will be able to bet on by the time this article goes live. We remain ever incredulous that these exist, and that they’re only getting more popular over time. We’re not sure that you’ll exactly secure your financial future by gambling on Shining references and In Living Color dancers, but hey, that’s what we’re here for. Good luck gambling!


https://www.footballoutsiders.com/scramble/2020/scramble-ball-17th-annual-prop-bet-extravaganza