TEAM TO WIN THE COIN TOSS: CHIEFS OR 49ERS?
Just like the Heads or Tails prop, which team will win the coin toss is a 50/50 swing of the bat. But it’s quick and dirty, and we like it like that.
There’s no real handicapping involved with this one, leaving your wager up to the gambling gods, but the NFC team – San Francisco in this case – has won the Super Bowl coin toss in 19 of the past 22 Big Games, including the L.A. Rams last year. In fact, the Patriots’ coin toss win in Super Bowl LII is the only time the AFC has won the toss over the past six Super Bowls, going back to Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
Depending on where you bet, this prop could be anywhere from -105 to -115 a side.
OPENING KICKOFF A TOUCHBACK: YES OR NO?
The opening kickoff to the Super Bowl used to be one the most anticipated single plays in sports, like the battlefield scene in Braveheart. Then the NFL killed the chaos of kickoffs to save guys from getting killed, installing more of a buffer so players couldn’t get up to Mach 2 before crashing into each other.
Five of the past six Super Bowls have opened with a kickoff return, with Super Bowl LI as the lone touchback in that span. Currently, “Yes” on a touchback is priced at -220 while “No” is +175.
As for the teams involved in Super Bowl LIV – Kansas City and San Francisco – the Chiefs produced touchbacks on 60 percent of their kickoffs this season while opponents produced touchbacks on 38.55 percent of their kickoffs to Kansas City – lowest in the NFL. San Francisco kickoffs were downed for touchbacks on just half of its boots while the 49ers’ foes produced touchbacks on 67 percent of their kickoffs.
The Chiefs do have a more explosive return game than the Niners, ranked sixth in the league in average yards per kickoff return (49ers sixth lowest at 20.5 yards per return) and speedster Mecole Hardman leads the postseason in total return yards (228) and is fourth in average yards per kickoff return (22.8). He was sixth in average return yards during the regular season (26.1) and, given that explosiveness, perhaps San Francisco stays clear of Hardman if it ends up kicking off to open Super Bowl LIV.
If you’re interested, those five opening kickoff returns over the past six Super Bowls have gone for an average of 24.8 yards – just in case you find some Over/Under options on length of opening return.
FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME: RUN OR PASS?
This prop has “Run” as a -150 favorite while “Pass” is priced at +115. Looking deeper into the two teams’ playcalling trends, you can see why.
San Francisco has been run-heavy in the postseason and handed off on almost 52 percent of its total snaps in 2019-20 – second most in the NFL behind Baltimore. The 49ers’ first play in both postseason games was a run and this team called run as its first offensive play in 13 of 16 games during the regular season.
However, while San Francisco went with a run to open the offense in each of the first nine games of 2019, it opted to pass on the opening play in three of the final seven contests of the schedule.
Kansas City, a team that ran on only 38.6 percent of its offensive snaps, actually handed off on its first offensive play in 11 of its 18 total games this season, passing on the first snap in only nine outings. That includes running plays in the Chiefs' first kick at the can in both playoff games.
RESULT OF FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY?
This prop could be limited to select books and may be something you need to jump into the in-play markets for.
Sportsbooks offering live betting odds will have a “What is the result of the first play of the drive?” available for each possession, and the first possession of Super Bowl LIV will be no exception. Although it won't be on the board long, so be ready to strike.
The options are many. In-game selection could range from: No gain/incomplete, 1-5 yards, 6-9 yards, first down, touchdown, penalty or turnover. Given that both the Chiefs and Niners like to go run on the opening play of their games, a short one to five-yard gain or a six to nine-yard pickup could be the best option. Odds will varying depending on the book and in-game action.
WILL THERE BE A SCORE IN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES?
This “Yes/No” option is set at Yes +130 and No -165, which may surprise you since we’re dealing with two of the best offensive attacks in the NFL. However, Super Bowl nerves have gotten the best of teams in recent years and that’s led to low-scoring results, including three scoreless first quarters in the past five Big Games.
Last year, the Rams and Patriots hung goose eggs in the opening frame. In 2018, just over seven minutes were burned up before points hit the board. In 2017, the Pats and Falcons posted zeros in the first quarter. In 2016, the “Yes” hit with Denver kicking a field goal just over four minutes into the game. And in 2015, the Patriots and Seahawks failed to score in the first 15 minutes of action.
San Francisco’s two postseason games have seen the first strike come after the five-minute mark, however, Kansas City has given up points within the first five minutes in both playoff games, including two scores in the opening 300 seconds to the Texans in the Divisional Round.
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