* Super Bowl 57 is finally here and, no, the Commanders aren't playing. That being said, NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey and Ethan Cadeaux each share three of their best bets for the Eagles-Chiefs: favorite game prop, favorite player prop and favorite wacky prop.
Pete Hailey's picks
Pete’s favorite game prop: Will either team convert a fourth-down attempt in their own territory? YES (+120)
On one side of this title tilt, you have the Eagles, a crew that’s managed to turn QB sneaks into near-guaranteed first downs in short-yardage situations and one that’s led by a coach in Nick Sirianni who’s as aggressive as they come in terms of going for it. In fact, Philadelphia cashed this prop out in the NFC Championship Game versus the 49ers a couple of weekends ago.
On the other side, meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes is running the show with sideline assistance from the ever-creative Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy. If the Chiefs are looking to jumpstart a comeback or finish the Eagles off by stepping on the gas on their half of the field, those three (along with studs like Travis Kelce and Jerick McKinnon) are more than capable of moving the chains in a must-have spot.
And, to be clear, this wager needs just one club to come through for the winnings to follow. In a contest that figures to be a tight one, where all the proverbial stops may have to be pulled out, I’m ticked at this plus-money opportunity.
Pete’s favorite player prop: A.J. Brown over 72.5 receiving yards (-110)
I’m always in favor of taking overs on receivers when they have some woeful unders on their ledger recently, and Brown has posted 22 and 28 yards in his two postseason outings thus far. I’d be quite surprised if he or the Eagles let him go so quiet for a third-straight matchup.
Expect him to be targeted, especially early, and for those targets to come on high-percentage throws that provide him with room to run afterwards.
Strategy-wise, the Chiefs also aren't shy about playing man-to-man coverage with their corners, and the big-bodied Brown is a menace to handle in those one-on-one battles.
If you’re feeling frisky, by the way, Brown’s MVP odds are around 20-to-1. Frisky it up accordingly if you so choose.
Pete’s favorite wacky prop (courtesy of NBC Sports Washington’s brilliant Mitch Tischler): Will the opening kickoff result in a touchback? NO (+124)
All the credit goes to Mitch for this one, which he’s convinced me to tag along on (and who you can blame/harass if you, too, join and it eventually loses).
While Kansas City’s Harrison Butker and Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott are two of the league’s more successful kickers, neither are automatic in terms of generating touchbacks. Philly finished 11th this year in that category (65.5% of their kicks weren’t returned) while K.C. was one tick behind (64.6%). So, top-third of the league-ish, but far behind the leaders (the New York Jets paced the sport at 79.5%).
On top of that, seven of the last eight opening kickoffs in Super Bowls have been returned as opposed to getting downed/booted out of bounds, so there’s a promising trend that’s worth paying attention to.
And lastly, savvy bettors like to note that the ball that’s used to initiate the action is one that’s not touched beforehand and taken out of the rotation immediately after so it can be sent to the Hall of Fame. In other words, kickers don’t have the chance to break it in to their liking.
Stay away from betting on the coin toss and put a few bucks on this prop instead. You’ll get your early fix — and hopefully a nice, early profit as well.
Ethan Cadeaux's picks
Ethan's favorite game prop: Eagles over 22.5 total first downs (+128)
In Jalen Hurts' last six starts, the Eagles have cleared this mark five times --the lone miss was against Chicago in Week 15, the contest Hurts injured his shoulder. Additionally, the Eagles cashed this bet in both of their playoff games this year: 25 first downs against San Francisco in the NFC championship; 26 against New York in the Divisional Round.
It's also worth mentioning that the Eagles have dominated time of possession throughout the playoffs, too. Against San Francisco, Philly had control of the football for over 37 minutes. The week prior, they had possession for 35-plus minutes. I'm no math expert, but more time of possession should equate to more first downs And, with this prop offering plus money, it's difficult to pass up.
The Chiefs' defense has stepped up its play throughout the postseason; neither Jacksonville nor Cincinnati cleared 22.5 first downs against Kansas City. However, neither of those offenses has a rushing attack as talented or as deep as Philadelphia's. If the Eagles can get the run game going -- something they've done an excellent job of such the past few weeks -- this prop still should hit.
Ethan's favorite player prop: Travis Kelce anytime touchdown (-120)
Am I an absolute sucker for picking an anytime touchdown bet as my favorite player prop? Absolutely. Do I care? Not one bit.
Travis Kelce is the sport's best tight end and, yes, his regular season production is a major reason for such. However, in the postseason, Kelce has established himself as one of the best playoff pass-catchers, receiver or tight end, of all time.
Kelce is -120 to score a touchdown, something he's done in eight of his last nine playoff games. Kelce has found the end zone in five straight postseason contests and scored twice against Jacksonville in the Divisional Round. In his last 14 playoff games, Kelce has scored 15 (!!) times.
Kelce is by far Patrick Mahomes' most-trusted target and has been so for years, even when Tyreek Hill was in the mix. Expect No. 15 to find No. 87 for six at least once on Super Sunday -- if not more.
Ethan's favorite wacky prop: Will either team score a touchdown on their opening drive? YES (+118)
This is a weird one, but I love it. We've seen recent Super Bowls start slow when it comes to scoring, as teams have spent the first few drives of each game figuring the other out. I think that trend stops this year.
In this year's playoffs, both Philadelphia and Kansas City have made a habit of starting fast. The Eagles scored a touchdown on their opening drive against both the Giants and 49ers; the Chiefs found the end zone on their first drive against Jacksonville and nearly scored a touchdown on their first drive against Cincinnati.
Kansas City and Philadelphia were both two of the best first-quarter scoring teams throughout the regular season. The Chiefs (5.8 points per first quarter) ranked fourth in the NFL, while the Eagles were one spot behind them (5.4). Both teams like to score early, making this prop a fun one to take.
On the flip side, I do understand the hesitancy of taking this prop. The last time any team scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the Super Bowl was when Baltimore did so in 2013. If you trust history more than my reasoning, maybe NO (-148) on this prop is the side you should take.