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

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

Fewer than 2.5 Total Players to Throw a Pass -135 – .27 Units

Here is how CBS Sports writer, Jordan Dajani begins his case for the opposite bet that I post here: “Here is a fun one”, he says, “I think a player other than Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo will throw a pass this game.”

Really? Why would you think that? The Oddsmakers don’t – clearly as indicated by the plus-money payout on the “Yes”.

What numbers suggest that this will happen? Non-QBs have thrown a total of 3 passes in 36 combined games for these two teams this season.  So about 1 out of every dozen games, we’ve seen this – yet we are supposed to expect it in this one?  Based on these numbers, we would expect the “No” to be closer to -800 than the current odds.

Why are the odds so off? Mr. Dajani nailed it: “this a fun one”.

Stemming partly from one of the most memorable SB plays in recent memory – the Philly Special – bettors increasingly gravitate toward this bet – simply because of thrill they imagine could happen when watching the game unfold.   As soon as a RB or WR cocks back to throw, the “Yes” bettor has already won.

Add in the fact that Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid both have well-earned reputations as creative play-callers, the public loves to envision a triple reverse flea-flicker Hail Mary out of one of these two teams.   They don’t stop to consider that neither calls such a play very often at all.

Many casuals said the same thing last year about Sean McVay and Josh McDaniels.  You can bet they’ll dial up something!  But in SB 53, just like in most Rams and Patriots games, only the starting QBs threw a pass.

Oddsmakers know the SB is still a football game.  They know there is a far better chance at only 2 QBs throwing a pass then these odds indicate.  Take advantage of the public betting market “having some fun”.  We will have enough fun after the game cashing our tickets.  Besides as Lisa Simpsons says: What could be more exciting than the savage ballet that is Pro Football.

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Combined Accepted Penalties Under 13 (-110) – .22 Units

Over the last 10 years, the league average for combined Accepted Penalties has been around 13 in regular-season games.  However, over that same time frame, there has been an average of only 11.4 Accepted Penalties in the SB.  Coincidence? Small sample size?  Maybe.  Or…

Call me a conspiracy theorist, if you like.  But I see way too many recognizable patterns in officiating to think that all referees are above the catering to the preferences of their bosses.  Do people really think it was a coincidence last year that worst call in NFL history happened to end the season of the NFL team in the 50th biggest media market (New Orleans) – while advancing the NFL team in the 2nd biggest media market (LA) all the way to the Super Bowl?

I hear this counter all the time: No ref or official would ever conspire in such a way because the minute it got out, the league’s reputation would be tarnished.  That assumes there would be a smoking gun.  All the league has to do is not fire a ref that makes a colossal mistake and the message is clear going forward.  If the integrity of the game was truly paramount, all the league would have to do is release a statement saying that a clear and egregious error such as the one in last year’s NFC championship game would lead to the immediate dismissal of all game-officials involved.  It wouldn’t happen again.

But they don’t do that – they add some convoluted addition to the replay rules – reserving the right to interpret any play any way they see fit.

So, no: I don’t think it’s a coincidence that fewer penalties have been called in the Super Bowl, historically.  I think it’s a non-verbal directive of the league to keep this game as easy and pristine as possible for the millions watching NFL football for the first time.

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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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