Super Bowl LVI: Player Prop Preview
With Super Bowl LVI fast approaching Gaz takes a look at the player prop markets and tries to spot some value.
Super Bowl LVI is here and I have to be honest I can hardly believe it. It seems like the season has passed in a blink of an eye and I’m already worried as to how I’ll fill my Sunday nights throughout the off season. Hopefully I’ll be comforted by landing another of my NFL futures bets which were laid out in our pre-season preview. Micah Parsons has already bagged Defensive Rookie Of The Year (6/1) and if the LA Rams can get the job done on Sunday the 14/1 odds will be landed.
Player Passing Props
Let’s start with the main men, the quarterbacks. Undoubtedly the most pressure will be on Rams QB Matt Stafford come Sunday. A Super Bowl in their own stadium, an expectant celebrity crowd, and a franchise that have admittedly gone “all in” to land the Super Bowl title puts a lot on the veteran’s shoulders. Can he handle the pressure? If his post season performances thus far are anything to go by then I would say yes. Stafford has thrown for 905 yards, 6 TD’s (rushed for another 2) and thrown just 1 INT in the 3 post season games. He has racked up huge yardage against two of the leagues meanest defenses (337 v 49ers, 366 v Bucs) and I fancy him to beat the 281.5 target set by the bookmakers. The Bengals D are no mugs but have their work cut out trying to restrict the Rams receiving corps.
For the Bengals and Joe Burrow this is a free hit. Nobody expected them to be here and to that end the season has been a massive success already. There’s no doubting Burrow’s ability and if he can click early it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were to lead the Bengals to victory. The issue comes with whether his offensive line can give him good enough protection to work his magic. He was sacked 55 times in the regular season and a further 12 times in the post season. Up against Aaron Donald, Vonn Miller and Co. the Bengals Offensive line will need to be on their A game. Burrow’s passing target is 276.5 and I’d be inclined to back the under given the above mentioned doubts and also factoring in that the Bengals will likely try establish the run early in the game.
Player Receiving Props
Most people will look towards the top two WR’s here and with good reason. I’m not going to churn out the superlatives. Anyone who has even a passing interest (pardon the pun) in the NFL will know that Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase are standout players in their position. For Kupp the bookmakers have set him a target of 105.5 yards. Normally I’d be looking to plough into the under with such a high target but everything sets up well for Kupp to have another massive game. He’s got the talent, he’s in a pass heavy offense and he has a gunslinger at QB. Kupp led the league in receiving yards in the regular season and has averaged 128.7 yards per game in the post season. He won’t be carrying my money but I couldn’t turn you off backing the over at 5/6.
Chase has had a breakout year. Again it’s tough to argue he isn’t worth a bet given the 78.5 yard threshold set by the layers. Considering his season, he posted relatively poor numbers (54 yards & 1TD) in the Championship game against the Chiefs and that’s probably why the target is on the low side. He’s sure to be a marked man so that’s another aspect to be taken into consideration. Personally I think the under is the sensible play if your having a bet, but to me there’s no value given the risks that are attached. Chase’s yards after the catch ability means that it only takes one chunk play to sink your bet and I think there’s better bets to be had. Of the 279 yards Chase has racked up this post season, 135 of those (48%) have been after the catch.
Rounding out my thoughts on the Rams, Odell Beckham Jr has been a growing part of the LA Offense. He could shine in this type of game. Beckham hauled in a season-high 113 yards last time out versus the 49ers, the first time he’s broken the 100 yard barrier as a Ram. His target of 62.5 looks a very good bet here considering he’ll be the primary beneficiary of the double coverage of Kupp. I can’t find odds for Rams TE Kendall Blanton which is likely due to the uncertainty over whether Tyler Higbee will be fit to play. Blanton should be set a low target and I’ll be checking his prop closer to kick-off. Even if Higbee is fit, anything in the 25 yard range would be enough tempt me to back Blanton’s over.
For the Bengals the best bet looks to be Tyler Boyd over 39.5 yards. His stats don’t back it up given he hasn’t exceeded that target in the playoffs thus far, but I can see the veteran having a big game. The aforementioned Chase will be watched like a hawk and the Rams also need to be wary of Tee Higgins and TE C.J. Uzomah which should benefit Boyd.
Player Rushing Props
It’s very likely both sides will try to establish the run early but both have been known to pretty much abandon the rush and that makes the rushing overs a dodgy enough bet. With that in mind I’m tempted to back the unders for both starting RB’s. For the Rams Cam Akers has been set a target of 64.5 yards which looks on the high side. He has yet to get near that target in the playoffs (55 yards his best) and he’ll be sharing snaps with Sony Michel. Akers will see a lot of the ball early but needs a big first quarter to breach the 64 yard mark. If you want to back an overs rushing prop Joe Mixon is probably the best bet of the two. Again he’ll see a bit of the ball early and has the ability to break off a big run. That said, if the Bengals fall behind his carries will fall off a cliff and could leave backers singing their shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.
Anytime TD Props
You don’t need me to tell you the likely scorers in this game so I won’t waste much time on that. Yes Cooper Kupp will likely score and give you a good bit of entertainment on the night. At 8/13 he’s not what I’m looking for in a bet. Ja’Marr Chase gets a little more interesting and at 6/5 you could make the argument he’s a good bet. I think there’s better value around though and I’m focusing on a couple of players who could be forgotten. For the Bengals QB Joe Burrow could end up having to use his wheels to put points on the board. I’ve mentioned above that there’s questions over his Offensive Line. I’ve also touched on his main aerial threats being double covered. That opens the possibility for plenty of scrambling and I can see Burrow taking it upon himself when the Bengals reach the RedZone. At 7/1 he looks a good value play.
For the Rams it’s Van Jefferson that sticks out as a bit of value. His numbers in the playoffs haven’t been brilliant but he was the second highest scorer of receiving TD’s (behind Kupp) in the regular season for the Rams. He seems to have the trust of Matt Stafford and if the Bengals double down defending Kupp and Beckham, Van Jefferson could be the man to benefit. At 16/5 he looks a good bet anytime but I also like him at 9/1 to be the team’s 1st TD scorer.
Matt Stafford Over 281.5 Passing Yards (5/6)
Odell Beckham Jr. Over 62.5 Receiving Yards (4/5)
Tyler Boyd Over 39.5 Receiving Yards (4/5)
Joe Burrow Anytime TD (7/1)
Above in and Accumulator (39/1)