Super Bowl Prop Bets: Koerner’s Favorite Picks for 49ers vs. Chiefs
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: George Kittle
There’s tons of value to be had betting NFL props. And in honor of Super Bowl 54, I’m peeling the curtain back on my full prop betting process.
Below is a guide to the Chiefs and 49ers player props I’m betting for the big game. At the end of this story I’ve also included a downloadable player prop calculator, which you can use to plug in the lines available at your books and automatically calculate the exact edge on more than 50 different props (including ones I haven’t made picks on yet).
Note that I typically wouldn’t bet a prop unless the line offers a 58% edge according to my calculations, so every pick I’ve outlined in the following analysis reaches at least that threshold.
Now let’s dig in.
Super Bowl Prop Bets & Picks: 49ers vs. Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes Under 30.5 Rush Yards (+110)
I’ve long believed that Mahomes has underachieved as a runner at this stage of his career.
We’ve seen only his upside with the 53 rushing yards he’s posted in back-to-back games. Before that two-game stretch, Mahomes had rushed for more than 30 yards in only five of his 34 career starts (a 14.7% rate). So now after eclipsing that mark in two straight games to bring his career rate up to still only 19.4%, we should consider this his median?
This line is simply an overreaction by the market, and we should expect Mahomes to have a tougher time getting explosive runs against the 49ers. Coordinator Robert Saleh should be able to apply lessons from the mistakes the Texans and Titans made in letting Mahomes escape the pocket and scramble for huge gains.
I did give Mahomes a considerable boost in expected rush attempts and expected yards per carry before running my simulations. To his credit, he looks 100% recovered from the significant knee injury he suffered midseason, so I made sure that wouldn’t influence my sims data too heavily. I also added the chances of kneel downs at the end of the game by factoring in the Chiefs’ chances of winning and how that correlates to one to four (-1 yard rush) potential attempts.
After this intense calculation, I arrived at a 60.2% chance he finished with fewer than 30 rushing yards here.
Be sure to use my prop calculator below to see how the different numbers or prices at your book would impact my perceived edge.
Raheem Mostert First Rush Under 3.5 Yards (+112)
This prop really showcases what I mean when it comes to “mean” vs. “median” props.
I really like Mostert’s rushing upside in this game. He faces a Chiefs defense that’s been very poor against the run this season. In fact, I have his yards per rush attempt distribution at 4.64 yards/rush against Kansas City. However, we have to remember that the distribution is heavily skewed.
Long runs are what are responsible for much of the noise in a running back’s yards per carry. The median for every rush attempt is 3 yards for most backs. Mostert, as good as I have him projected to be in this game, is no different — I have him getting fewer than 3.5 yards on his first carry 57% of the time.
The fact that we’re getting plus odds on this market makes it even better.
Raheem Mostert Under 12.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
Mostert is a bit tricky to project given that we don’t know Tevin Coleman’s status for Sunday quite yet. Coleman dislocated his shoulder in the NFC title game and it’s unclear how much he’ll be able to play in the Super Bowl, if at all. But this prop is offering enough value that it likely won’t matter whether Coleman plays or is ruled out.
I have Mostert projected for 1.9 receptions and a 7.8 yards per reception rate. You might be thinking, “If 1.9 multiplied by 7.8 equals 14.8 yards, how is that screaming value on the under 12.5?”
Well, this prop is low enough that it’s easy to break down a few better ways to analyze this market.
- Mostert has a 15.6% chance of ending with zero catches — that’s an instant win scenario as he’ll have zero yards.
- There’s a 44.5% chance he’ll finish with one or zero catches. And the odds of just one reception being fewer than 12.5 yards would be about 83%, which would bring his overall odds of getting fewer than 12.5 yards on one or zero receptions to 52.9%
- Even still, there are plenty of scenarios in which he can catch two passes and still finish with fewer than 12.5 yards. He would finish with under 12.5 yards with exactly two receptions 47% of the time.
We have a lot of cushion with this prop, and it’s really not until he catches three or more passes that this bet becomes a loser. Mostert really hasn’t shown the underlying usage as a pass-catching back to be too concerned with the chances of three or more catches happening (28.5%) to be scared away by this number.
Every yard matters in a market like this — a line of 10.5 would see the chances of the under hitting fall to 63.4%. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you are getting the best number(s).
Emmanuel Sanders Longest Reception Over 17.5 Yards (-108)
Taking the over in other player prop markets often requires a leap of faith. This prop is no different, but I’ve found these markets tend to be tricky for people to handicap.
This is also a prop for which my simulations can shed some insight as to where the break even line should be. They’re going to be much more predictive as to the expected probability of such a market that isn’t going to be reliable to forecast by just looking at a season’s worth of data.
By “leap of faith” I’m implying that I trust my models here despite the fact that Sanders has gone over this number in only five of his 12 games as a 49er — that’s only a 41.7% rate in which he’s recorded a reception longer than 17.5 yards. However, if you look past that number, you would see that between two of those five games, he had three additional catches of 18 or more yards. So if all eight of those big gains had been spread out evenly (one per game), he would have hit the over on this prop in 66.6% of his games as a 49er.
Now, I’m not saying that we can expect his receptions of 18-plus yards to be perfectly spread out to hit this market 66% of the time, but my models do expect this to hit closer to 58% over the long run.
Also factored into my projection here is the idea that Sanders may have needed a few games to really learn the 49ers playbook and gain chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo. We can only expect Sanders to improve as a receiver in this offense as the season goes on. Additionally, the 49ers could be forced to throw the ball more in this game in order to keep up with the Chiefs offense.
We have to remember that the 49ers won 13 games over the regular season and are entering this game as a slight underdog. It’s safe to assume we can expect an increase in their passing volume.
Give me the over here.
Demarcus Robinson Under 26.5 Receiving Yards (-125)
This is my prop of the game as I have it hitting at a 69% rate at this number.
Most books are offering this number at 20.5 or higher, and while I like the under at all prices, but make sure you take the best number possible. This prop market is very similar to Mostert’s receiving yards market in the sense that we’re dealing with a player who is likely going to see between one and three receptions. My simulations take the various scenarios and expected distributions into account and it’s screaming to take the under here.
One reason I’ve been bearish on Robinson in my models of late is due to the recent increase in usage of Mecole Hardman. From Weeks 14-16, Robinson averaged 70% routes run per quarterback drop back compared to Hardman at 13%. But over the past three games, that split has become Robinson 47% vs. Hardman 37%. I have to believe that this may be partially due to Robinson dropping three catchable passes from Mahomes in the Divisional Round. It could be the reason Hardman finally out-snapped Robinson on pass plays in the AFC title game.
All that said, I have Robinson regaining his role and out-snapping Hardman with a 50% routes run rate this week and still see value on the under here.
George Kittle Longest Reception Under 27.5 Yards (-115)
Much like the Sanders’ longest reception prop, a simulation will give you a much more accurate forecast than just looking at a player’s season over/under rate in this market. However, in this case, the sample size happens to line up on the same side as my model.
Kittle has a reception of 28 or more yards in seven of 16 games played this season. That comes out to 44% rate of him going over this market, but my simulations have it expected to occur at a lower rate of 34%.
I think we can expect public perception to play a huge factor in here as books are likely expecting a ton of over action on this prop. Kittle is known for his big-playmaking ability, which includes his highlight reel catch against the Saints when it required multiple defenders to bring him down. But while Kittle absolutely has that huge playmaking upside in this matchup, we need to be aware of how much lower his “true” median is as opposed to what the market may think.
Give me the under here.
Super Bowl Player Props Calculator
Click this link to download the spreadsheet with my calculator for more than 50 different Super Bowl player props.
Simply use the dropdown menu for each prop to adjust the lines accordingly, plug the right vig in for your book’s over and under, then my calculated edges will auto-populate under “Sean %.”
Here’s a preview of what the spreadsheet looks like: