Patrick Mahomes: The Best Underdog Quarterback of the Super Bowl Era
Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images Pictured: Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes hasn’t been an underdog often, but he’s sure dominated as one.
Actually, he hasn’t just dominated. He’s the best ‘dog quarterback in the Super Bowl era of those who’ve made at least 10 starts. He’s 9-1-1 straight up and 8-3 against the spread after downing the Bills last week as a 2.5-point underdog.
Mahomes has been favored in 101 of his last 109 games. He started his career as an underdog in his first three games, but it didn’t take long for books to realize he’s a special talent. Those three starts were the only other time he’s been an underdog in consecutive games prior to this week’s showdown against the Ravens.
Meanwhile, Mahomes is perfect in situations like he finds himself in heading into the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. He's 5-0 ATS in games in which the spread opened at +3 or higher. Baltimore was installed as 3.5-point favorites the second Kansas City beat Buffalo and has gone as high as four at certain books.
Mahomes has been a ‘dog of at least four points just twice in his career. The first came in his third career start at the Steelers. He entered the game catching 4.5 points, yet won 42-37. Kansas City closed as 4-point ‘dogs later that season at the Patriots, and managed to cover in a 43-40 loss.
The Chiefs have also been brilliant in the playoffs since Mahomes took over. More than half of their postseason wins (13-of-22) have come with him under center. Kansas City had also won only four playoff games between the NFL merger in 1970 and when Mahomes took over in 2018.
Still, Kansas City finds itself in a precarious situation heading into Sunday. It’ll only be Mahomes’ second road postseason game after making his first one a year ago. The playoffs have not been kind over the past 20 years to teams playing consecutive road games as ‘dogs in the Divisional Round or later. They’re just 12-41 SU (24%), and it’s even worse for teams who won by less than 10 points like Kansas City did last week, as they’re 6-23 (20.7%).
Fortunately for the Chiefs, Mahomes has defied that trend over the years. The AFC Championship Game marks his 15th game on a road trip, defined as at least two straight games away from home. He’s 12-2 SU and 7-7 ATS in his first 14. Not only that, but he’s a perfect 3-0 SU in games he was listed as an underdog.
Meanwhile, the public is heavily backing the Ravens with a few days to go before kickoff, with 53% of all bets and 67% of the money is on Baltimore covering. The public faded Kansas City a week ago, too, with 55% of tickets backing the Bills. If these numbers stay steady at kickoff, it would mark the fifth time the public faded Mahomes as a ‘dog. He thrived in the first four, going 3-1 SU and ATS.
Even with Mahomes, the Chiefs face an incredibly difficult task against the runaway freight train that is the Baltimore Ravens. However, if any quarterback can do it, it’s the greatest underdog quarterback of the Super Bowl era.