Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers (2/2/20): Super Bowl Betting Picks, Lines, Props III

Last Week: 3-0
All Time Results: 116-107-2, +16.6 Units

Chiefs Under 4.5 Players with 1 or more Rush Attempts (-110) – .5 Units

The Source

Shout out to @sharpnotsquare on twitter for alerting me to this play.  Love getting ideas from other bettors, please reach out to me with a thought or question, @mackenrivers.  Here is what Sharp had to say:

“Initial SB prop best bet is under 4.5 total Chiefs with rush attempts. The only RB to get a carry outside of Damien in playoffs is Thompson w/ 1. SB not a time to feed unsure ball carriers. Mahomes/Damien/WR + 1 keeps us under.”

The Bet

After doing some independent research, I very much see the same value that Sharp does here.

In 14 games when only Patrick Mahomes played QB for the Chiefs, Kansas City had four or fewer rushers ten times, (10/14 – 71%).  Conversely, all 4 games where Matt Moore played at least one snap (including a kneel at the end of Week 1) the Chiefs went Over 4.5 Rushers every time, (4/4 – 100%).  This dichotomy strikes me as completely logical.  More importantly, I don’t think it has been priced into this number.

When the limited Moore is the signal-caller, Andy Reid wants to be more creative in his play calling in order to get the ball to his fastest players in space.  On the other hand, he doesn’t need to do that with Mahomes.  The Chiefs have ample creativity and speed after a generic pass play is called due to Mahomes’ elite scrambling ability.

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The Math

In the SB, I think only an injury could keep Mahomes from playing every snap.  I put the chances of that around 1-0%, given Mahomes has seldom gotten hurt in his college and pro career.  Even if he does play, there is no guarantee he gets a kneel or a rush: so let’s estimate Matt Moore’s chances of getting rush at roughly 0%.

Mahomes has had a carry in all but one of his 35 professional starts, so let’s call the chances of him getting a rush roughly 98%.

Same for starting RB Damian Williams – hard to imagine a scenario when he doesn’t get at least one carry.

Rookie RB Darwin Thompson has one carry in two games so far this post-season, playing more on special teams than he has on offense.  In 14 games played, Thompson has at least one carry in 10 games.  With LeSean McCoy recovering from an injury I would have expected to see Thompson get more work these past two games.  With McCoy possibly back, I think the chances of Thompson getting a carry to be much lower than his season average.  Estimate: 60% of a carry.

LeSean McCoy is a big wild card for this bet.  He hasn’t played in several weeks due to illness.  That said he is a consummate veteran, and if he has recovered fully, Reid might have more faith in him than the average backup running back.  Even if he plays, he might be more of a 3rd down/pass-catching option.  Estimate: 50% of a carry.

Likely this bet will come down to whether one or two Chiefs WR’s receive carries.  Tyreke Hill currently has odds that estimate he has about a 2/3rds chance of getting a carry.  I think that’s about right.  Hill has 9 carries total in 14 games this season.  Give him a slight pump-up due to the increased risk Reid will be willing to take in an all-or-nothing game, I estimate his odds at about 70% to get a carry.

The Summation

So if we add it all up, here’s where we are: Mahomes (.98) + Williams (.98) + Thompson (.6) + McCoy (.5) + Hill (.7)

That leaves us with about 3.8 estimated players with a carry.  One could argue that the Field – i.e. WR Sammy Watkins, WR Mecole Hardman TE Travis Kelce & FB Anthony Sherman – should combine to get at least one carry.  I don’t think that’s very likely.  The big difference between this Andy Reid team and all the others that have fallen short is the great Patrick Mahomes.

In 5 Conference Championship games and 1 Super Bowl, Reid’s Eagles teams averaged a 72.4 passer rating with Donovan McNabb starting every game.

In 2 Conference Championship games, Reid’s Chiefs have averaged 118.4 Passer Rating with Pat Mahomes starting each game.

Even adjusting for changes in the game, that’s pretty much the difference between the best and worst QB in the league.  Reid knows what he has that’s special.  It’s not his running game.  Reid will want the ball in Mahomes’ hands looking downfield as many times as possible.  One receiver getting a reverse is likely.  Two or more to me seems far fetched, and the possibility of at least one of the three RBs not getting a carry also seems to me to present great value.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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