Raybon: Ranking Super Bowl 54 Mismatches & Player Props I’m Betting
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Deebo Samuel
What are the biggest mismatches in Super Bowl 54?
More importantly: How we can leverage them into betting value?
In this piece, I rate and rank all of the key team and player matchups through the lens of their per-play efficiency, adjusted for strength of schedule. To measure this, I used Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
1. 49ers Rush Offense vs. Chiefs Rush Defense
If you’re looking for an x-factor that could swing the game — or the MVP vote — look no further than Samuel. Seventeen carries into his professional career, the rookie already has five runs of 20-plus yards and three rushing scores under his belt.
To get a sense of how valuable Samuel is as a runner, consider this: On just 14 carries, he generated 110 Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement this season, which would have made him the 16th-most valuable running back.
Degen alert: Samuel’s median carry is 9 yards. He has now received at least one carry for seven games and counting. Most sports books have settled on a line of 13.5 for his rushing prop (9 yards x 1.5 carries), but his median outcome, carry-wise, over the last seven games is actually 2. He has hit that mark in four of his last six (67%) and three of his last four (75%), so you can make the case that bookmakers are being too conservative with this line, both at 13.5 (-112 at DraftKings) and 17.5 (+130 at PointsBet).
Kyle Juszczyk & George Kittle
Juszczyk and Kittle both earned top-three run-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus this season, and the Niners’ run game is a completely different beast when both of them are on the field together:
- Juszczyk and Kittle both active (12 games): 5.3 yards per carry, 173.8 yards per game, 1.8 touchdowns per game
- Juszczyk and/or Kittle out (6 games): 3.5 yards per carry, 115.0 yards per game, 1.2 TDs per game
After surrendering an unforgivable 28.2 carries for 148.1 yards and 1.2 TDs per game in Weeks 1-10, the Chiefs run defense has started to come on. Since Week 11, Kansas City is allowing just 21.5 carries for 93.6 yards and 0.5 TDs per contest.
Just in case you thought the Chiefs weren’t for real, they derailed the Derrick Henry train last week, holding him to just 69 yards on 19 carries. Still, things won’t be nearly as easy this week. The 49ers’ backs possess more speed than Henry. In fact, Raheem Mostert finished first among running backs in rushing DVOA (26.4%) — 10 spots higher than Henry (6.5%).
Mostert’s rushing props have been all the map, and they’ll continue to be something of an adventure as long as Tevin Coleman (shoulder) remains a game-time decision. I’ve seen Mostert’s yardage as low as 60.5 and as high as 80.5, and though the extremes have likely dried up, you may want to consider attempting to middle if you have accounts at two sportsbooks with diverging lines.
The best value, though, lies with Mostert’s TD props. His anytime TD prop can be found as low as -140 (at FanDuel), which implies 58.3% odds, but he has found the paint in seven of his past eight games (87.5%). And despite notching multiple scores 50% of the time over his past six outings — and his teammates doing so on five on occasions — his multi-TD prop is being offered as low as +420, which implies 19.2% odds.
- Deebo Samuel Super Bowl MVP: +3300
- Deebo Samuel over 13.5 rushing yards: -112
- Deebo Samuel over 17.5 rushing yards: +130
- Raheem Mostert 2+ TDs: +420
- Raheem Mostert anytime TD: -150