Super Bowl 57 Defense Props: 4 Bets for Chiefs vs. Eagles, Including Sack Props
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Eagles defense.
- The Eagles' elite defense will be on display in Super Bowl 57 and the Chiefs have the ability to play at that level.
- With standout units on both teams, is there value on defense specific game props?
- Billy Ward breaks down his four bets for the defensive side of the ball.
The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the best defenses in the league this season. According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric (regular season and playoffs), they rank third overall. They were exceptional against the pass, ranking first in pass DVOA. Philly also had four players tally at least 10 sacks during the regular season, which was a NFL-first.
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes rightfully steals most of their headlines. Makes sense – he’s the MVP, after all. But we saw what their defense is capable of the in the AFC Championship game, racking up five sacks against Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
Defense deserves some love in the betting space, and Billy Ward from Action Network’s Predictive Analytics team has four of them to consider for Chiefs vs. Eagles in Super Bowl 57.
Will there be a D/ST touchdown: Yes +300 | No -400 (FanDuel)
In 2022, there were 78 return touchdowns (including kick/punt/defense) across 272 NFL games played. Based only on that information, the fair odds of a D/ST touchdown should be around +250.
However, it’s not that easy. First, that doesn’t mean 78 games saw a defensive or special teams touchdown. Some of those 78 touchdowns happened during the same game, making the true odds lower. It’s hard to find an exact number without sorting through all 272 game logs, but I was able to identify seven games where one team scored multiple D/ST touchdowns using DFS scoring logs.
That brings it down to 71 games with a D/ST score. While I’d guess the true number is higher, let’s go with a conservative estimate of five games where both teams scored without their offense. With that, we’ll go with a final base rate of 24%, or +316 odds.
Now, both Philadelphia and Kansas City rank in the top half of the league in ball security, with the Eagles coming in third. They’d be first if you remove Gardner Minshews’ starts – he had three interceptions in just two games, compared to six in the other 17 (counting postseason) for Jalen Hurts.
Additionally, a higher total means less punts, and punts are more likely to result in touchdowns than kickoffs. All things considered, I’d make a very rough estimate of a 15% chance we see a D/ST touchdown – and the -400 no implies 20% odds.
As is often the case, betting on something not to happen is the sharper side. The only way I’d take the “yes” is if I’m able to parlay it with something else – like the opening kick to be returned for a touchdown. That’s not currently available on FanDuel.
The Pick: No -400
Will there be a safety in the game?: Yes +750 | No -2000 (DraftKings/BetMGM)
This one is a Super Bowl classic.
Most people know the “no” side of this bet is almost always the sharper side, but because nobody wants to lay -2000 and hope something doesn’t happen, “yes” gets most of the action.
Based on 2022 data, the fair odds here are roughly -2900 for “no.” Even with some slight adjustments either way, there is still pretty clear value at -2000.
If you’re brave enough to play this one, check all of your available sportsbooks to see who has the best line.
The Pick: No -2000
Total Interceptions 1.5: Over +138 | Under -170 (FanDuel)
The -170 odds to the under “feels” like a pretty big juice to lay, but it converts to just under 63% implied chances. These two starting quarterbacks have combined for just 18 interceptions in 36 games played (counting playoffs), and just three multi-interception games.
Obviously, each of them throwing one would take this over, so it’s not that simple. Let’s look at the percentage of games from each team with an interception thrown compared to forced.
Combining team thrown and opponent forced against the league average, it works out to roughly a 45% chance of Jalen Hurts throwing a pick and 55% chance for Patrick Mahomes. (Since this was based on team stats, it also includes both Gardner Minshew games for the Eagles. Philadelphia’s percentage thrown with Hurts is lower.) This also assumes an equal weight between quarterback and defense for what causes an interception — it probably lies more heavily on the quarterback.
Assuming these events are independent, that gives us a roughly 25% chance both teams throw an interception. If anything, it’s likely that they’re negatively correlated — a big lead for one team raises the odds of an opponent interception while lowering the odds of theirs.
Even if we add in the odds of either QB throwing multiple interceptions (based on their 2022 game logs), that gives us a 33% chance (-200) of multiple picks being thrown. We could continue to get more precise here, but it’s pretty clear where the value is.
Pick: Under 1.5 Interceptions (-170)
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Total Sacks 5.5: Over +104 | Under -132 (FanDuel)
For the Super Bowl – and occasionally other games – books are offering an over/under bet on the total number of sacks between the two teams. I prefer this market over betting on sacks for either team individually. It’s far more resilient to game flow, as a team with a big lead will attempt far fewer passes and vice versa.
While game flow matters a bit here, the impact is far less. Theoretically, a reduction in one team’s passing rate would be balanced out by an increase for the other team. In practice, unless we’re projecting an identical sack rate per dropback for each team, a big lead either way shifts the math a bit.
Fortunately, this game is expected to be close, with a spread holding in the 1.5-point range. Additionally, both teams should have very similar sack rates. The Chiefs allow far less sacks, but the Eagles’ defensive front forces more than their counterpart.
Comparing each team’s sack rates to the league average, and then multiplying by their opposing sacks allowed, I came up with a rough estimate for the expected sack percentage from each team. Then, adjusting for each quarterback’s expected pass attempts in Sean Koerner’s projections, I was able to come up with a median total.
That number works out to just over 6.2, making the over a clear value at plus-money on FanDuel.
Pick: Over 5.5 Sacks
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