It’s Super Bowl time, and this year’s matchup between the Eagles and Chiefs is one of the best in recent memory. With plenty of angles to discuss across the board, we’ll have you covered with a boatload of content for this game over the next two weeks. To get us started, I’ll discuss the first bet I’ve placed for the big game in this article. I’ll have player props and more wagers later on. Let’s get to work.
Super Bowl 57 Early Bet To Make
Updated Super Bowl 57 odds. Best prices are shown across the major U.S. sportsbooks.
When the Chiefs Have the Ball
The odds were stacked against Patrick Mahomes last week. He and Travis Kelce entered the game injured, and receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney were all on the bench with injuries by the end of the game. Mahomes was facing a Cincinnati defense that has given him fits in the past. None of it mattered.
Mahomes put together a clinical performance that finished with an EPA per play rate that would have been the third-best of any quarterback during the regular season. With all of those factors listed above, that’s incredibly impressive.
You don’t need me to tell you how brilliant Mahomes is, though. All he did this year was lose Tyreek Hill, who some see as the best receiver in the NFL, and still lead an offense that ranked first in EPA, success rate, and DVOA while leading the league in passing yards, touchdowns, and QBR.
In the Super Bowl, Mahomes faces an Eagles defense that had an exceptional regular season as they ranked first against the pass by DVOA and EPA. Most notably, they finished with 70 sacks, tied for the third-most by any team in a regular season, and were the first team with four different players to finish with double-digit sacks.
However, the Eagles are relatively untested against elite competition. In the playoffs, they got through Daniel Jones with a severely limited pass-catching corps and the 49ers who didn’t have any semblance of a passing threat for most of the game due to injuries to Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson.
During the regular season, the Eagles faced three top-ten quarterbacks by EPA – Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, and Trevor Lawrence. Goff’s Lions put up 386 total yards and 35 points. Prescott’s Cowboys put up 419 yards and 40 points. Lawrence turned the ball over five times in a driving rainstorm and still managed to lead his team to 21 points.
Part of why those quarterbacks found so much success was the Eagles’ tendency to play zone coverage. Jonathan Gannon trusts his front four to get home and likes to have his defensive backs sit back so as to not allow big plays. Prescott completed 24 of 24 passes for 300 yards against that zone defense.
Dak Prescott just lit up the #Eagles’ Zone Coverage on Saturday!
24-24, 300 yd and 3 TD vs Zone
*per @AFLCoffee & Next Gen Stats*
— Ron Jaworski (@JawsCEOQB) December 26, 2022
Now, the Eagles have to face Patrick Mahomes with the benefit of two weeks for his ankle to heal. The Eagles’ pass rush will get home at times against a Chiefs offensive line that allowed the most QB hurries in the league, but Mahomes is elite at avoiding sacks and throwing from pressure.
When the Chiefs played the 49ers in October, they were up against a similarly stout front seven. Andy Reid called a ton of quick passes – jets, screens, slants, rubs, and more – and the Chiefs ran a majority of 12 and 13 personnel (with extra tight ends on the field). Still, they scored 44 points and torched the Niners’ secondary.
The Eagles arguably have a better overall defensive roster than the 49ers, but the point stands – the Chiefs are fully capable of producing elite offensive numbers even against the best defenses in the league. The same can’t be said for the Eagles this season, and Mahomes should be able to put up points here.
When the Eagles Have the Ball
Jalen Hurts was set to give Mahomes a real run for his money as the MVP this season before a shoulder injury kept him out for two games towards the end of the year. Still, he had a very impressive season both through the air and on the ground. As a result, he ranked fourth among qualified quarterbacks in EPA and QBR.
Much of the Eagles’ successful offense hinges on their elite run game. It’s tough to argue against this as the best offensive line in football, and it’s headlined by two First Team All-Pro players in Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. The Chiefs will be at a disadvantage upfront as they rank just 21st in adjusted line yards.
Look at this rep from Lane Johnson: He's playing with a torn abdominal muscle, one that was initially expected to rule him out for the season. Planted on an island vs. Nick Bosa — wins out of the stance; slips in the contact phase; recovers, regains and controls the rep. Bonkers pic.twitter.com/WbuLWOoPqE
— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) January 29, 2023
The Chiefs’ defense is heavily reliant on young players, particularly in the secondary. As a result, they ranked just 17th in defensive DVOA during the regular season and were just 20th against the pass. They were also 16th in EPA against both the run and pass.
In their first two playoff games, the Chiefs were up against two rising star quarterbacks, Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow. To help combat their secondary’s deficiencies in experience and production, the Chiefs ran dime personnel (6 defensive backs) at a much higher rate.
They’ve used dime on 30% or more of plays in four of their last five games after doing so in just three of their first 14 games. As a result, their postseason pass defense success rate is up to 63.2%, which ranks second among all of the playoff teams. They were just 16th in the regular season in that regard.
As with all things in life, there’s some give and take there. The dime packages have meant their defense has been lighter and smaller, particularly in the box. As such, they are ranked just 13th out of 14 teams against the run as they’re allowing 0.286 EPA per play – that would rank dead last in the NFL in the regular season.
Against the Eagles’ elite offensive line and with their dynamic backfield, that won’t hold up. So they’ll have to play more of their traditional defense, but that will mean more one-on-one opportunities for A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert against the Chiefs’ inexperienced secondary.
All 11 of A.J. Brown's touchdowns this season.
He was everything the Eagles could have asked for and more. pic.twitter.com/SvzMh2Z9Fk
— Brenden Deeg (@BrendenDeeg_) January 9, 2023
I don’t envy defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Eagles can generate offense both on the run and through the air depending on how the Chiefs want to play this, and it’s going to require inspired efforts from the team’s rookie starters to combat Hurts and this offense.
The Chiefs and Eagles both ranked top 12 in pace of play this season, and they combined to score a whopping 72 points in their matchup back in Week 4 of the 2021 season. With the two likely MVP contenders at quarterback and plenty of offensive firepower on both sides, we could be in for a shootout here.
Every year, the Super Bowl draws billions of dollars in wagers, and the number is only growing as more and more states legalize sports betting. That means it’s the most efficient betting market in the world, and as such, edges are more limited. Still, for all of the reasons above, I love the over in this game.
There might be some merit to waiting for a depressed number live if there’s a slightly slow start, but the total has already been bet from 49.5 up to 50.5, and I’ll jump in before it moves further. 51 is a key number with 5.5% of games from 2018 to 2021 landing on that number exactly, so I wouldn’t play this past 50.5. If it moves further, wait to see if you can get a better number live.
The Verdict: Over 50.5 Points