Roughly 10 years ago I started a blog highlighting the bets and wagers I like for the Super Bowl and have continued to do so every year on RotoWire. It's easily my favorite piece of the year. I've spent countless hours over the years trying to research a possible edge for any of the bets or props (there has to be given the thousands of possible bets out there). Each year I've tried to identify a few I really like (I love you Malcolm Mitchell), and then some I just find entertaining and falling under the radar.
The twist this season is that sports betting is now legal where I live in western New York, so I can actually make these wagers myself, as opposed to using the friend of a friend in Las Vegas.
I'll finish this introduction with my yearly disclaimer: this is done for entertainment value, but if you want to throw actual money on it, don't bet the next three months of mortgage payments. Be smart; bet what you can afford to lose, and, more important, don't blame me. On to this year's picks!
Mecole Hardman over 22.5 receiving yards (-112)
This is my favorite bet of the Super Bowl. It's a bit of a contrarian play given that Hardman has hit this over only twice in his last eight games. But Hardman was the target on a long (phantom, IMO) DPI in the AFC championship, and it makes sense that the 49ers focus on stopping Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. What I really like is it will take only one play to hit the over; so if he's at zero catches for zero yards in the fourth quarter, the play is still very much alive.
Patrick Mahomes under 30.5 rushing yards (+105)
According to social media, EVERYONE had the over on Mahomes rushing yards in the AFC championship. Mahomes had 53 in each of his last two games, so he has to hit the over in the Super Bowl, right? First, I'd wait as long as possible on this as early money has bettors on the over, and the odds should turn in our favor. Before these last two 53-yard games, Mahomes had less than 30.5 rushing yards in five consecutive games, surpassing that number in only four of 16 games this season. Rating the 49ers defense as well above average, I like this almost as much as the Hardman wager.
San Francisco 49ers money line (+104)
Part of me is hesitant and thinks maybe, just maybe, the +1.5 points (-110) will come into play. While that's a possibility, it seems like a long shot. When I look at both teams, I subscribe to the fact that the 49ers defense, now healthy, can dominate. I'll side with it being the better team, taking into account both sides of the ball. I hate to be in lock-step with that NLM Chris Liss, but this makes a lot of sense. I'm also a fan of betting a parlay with the 49ers money line and under 54.5 and the Chiefs -1.5 and over 54.5, as those totals should dictate the winner.
Under 54.5 Points (-115)
Of the first few bets, I have the least faith in this one, but if I have to pick over or under, I'm going under. This is based on believing the 49ers defense can slow the Chiefs offense and essentially control the clock by using their run/play-action game. According to actionnetwork.com, the public has put 80 percent of its money on the over. So, Vegas stands to make a handsome profit if it goes under. I'll follow that side.
Jimmy Garoppolo under 240.5 passing yards (-112)
Let's look at the last two games for Jimmy G passing: 208 total yards; 77 and 131 in those games. So why would the over/under be at 240.5? Granted, it could turn into a pace-up game for the 49ers against the Chiefs. The over/unders for receiving yards for San Francisco — Emmanuel Sanders (40.5), Deebo Samuel (53.5), Kendrick Bourne (23.5), Kyle Juszczyk (12.5), George Kittle (73.5), Raheem Mostert (11.5) — totals 215 yards. Where will all the extra receiving yards come from? In addition, the Chiefs are much more suspect against the run, so it wouldn't be surprising if the 49ers stick to the ground game.
Over 2.5 players attempt a pass (+120)
I like the positive odds, and we could see the occasional trick play out of either coach. There could be a fake punt (or field goal) or one of the quarterbacks could get hurt. Over has hit in two of the last three Super Bowls.
Total yards on Jimmy Garoppolo's first pass will be higher than the number rounds for the Fury/Wilder boxing match (-120)
I hate laying more than -110 on any 50/50 bet, but I think this is worth it. Yes, boxing still exists in the world, and the first time Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder met they went the distance (12 rounds) for a split draw. First, this fight could end in the first round, meaning Garoppolo's pass would need to be more than just one yard to win. Next, the upside is with the pass, as that can easily go for more than 12 yards while the fight is capped at 12 rounds, if it goes that far (over/under is 10.5 rounds, FWIW). (But note, the fight is not until Feb. 22, so you'll have to wait to collect.)
Russell Westbrook's Points+Rebounds+Assist vs. the Pelicans will be higher than Patrick Mahomes' pass attempts (-160)
In Mahomes' last eight games, only once did he attempt more than 35 passes (40 at New England, Week 14). Westbrook averages 26.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists. Using my Euclid-like math skills, that adds to a total of 41.5. In terms of pace of play, the Rockets are second in the NBA while the Pelicans are sixth. Expect fireworks in that game, and Rockets guard James Harden has been dealing with a thigh injury, which could increase Westbrook's role if he's limited.
Anything I've missed or some other bet/prop you like? Let me know in the comments section. Good luck and enjoy this Super Bowl. We won't have football for a while after this!