It’s the biggest football game of the year and there is no shortage of bets to be made for our viewing pleasure. This Sunday Patrick Mahomes looks to get his second Super Bowl ring as he battles it out against the feisty Philadelphia Eagles who are firing on all cylinders. Fireworks are to be expected when these offenses hit the field, making it vitally important to set the tone early for either unit. Who will go into halftime feeling good about their chances for raising the trophy?
Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Philadelphia Eagles First Half Betting Odds
Oddsmakers have this as a near pick’em with the Eagles as a slight favorite at -1.5 in some shops. Correlated with the full game line movement, this number has bounced up and down as the clock ticks closer to kickoff. Since opening as an underdog, the Eagles have firmly stayed in the range of less than a field goal since they flipped towards a favorite. They have dominated first halves, pacing the league in scoring as well as covering as a whole.
Speaking of scoring, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace from both ends as oddsmakers currently have the total at 24.5. The total has seen little to no movement since slightly dipping from the open, holding firm at 24.5. This is tricky as the game script calls for points to be scored at ease, yet the hook gives me caution on hitting the over. Should the number dip to 24, I will place a small wager on the over.
Kansas City Chiefs Vs. Philadelphia Eagles First Half Prediction
The Pick: Kansas City 1H +1.5
While I am keeping my eye on the first half total as I patiently wait for a flat 24, I have already pulled the trigger on a separate first half bet by backing the Chiefs as a slight underdog. I expect this number to slowly climb back towards their favor as injury reports surface of their skill players being deemed good to go. It’s not every day you can get the best quarterback in the NFL as an underdog, especially when he gets extra time to rest his ankle sprain.
The beauty of betting on the first half is that it eliminates a majority of variance and allows the respected team to still play a split game approach. That style of play will be vital against the Eagles as their defense is one of the best in the league, especially at limiting the pass. The Eagles finished first in Def Pass DVOA, now having to go against the Chiefs pass attack who also finished first in Off Pass DVOA.
Even when hobbled, Mahomes was still able to play at a high level as it was made apparent against the Bengals. He now comes in healthier, allowing himself to be more mobile in the pocket. That is crucial as his mobility can keep the Eagles second level from being able to sit back in coverage, forcing them to creep up which would create holes for the Chiefs weapons to exploit. Their pass attack has revolved around their success in finding the gaps in the middle, serving no different this time around.
First Half Betting Trends
- Eagles are 14-5 ATS in the first half this season
- The full game over is 4-1 in their last five games against each other
- Kansas City finished 11-7-1 ATS in the first half
First Half Key Matchups
Can the Chiefs take advantage of a weak Eagles rush defense? How will the Chiefs secondary fare against Dallas Goedert?
Isiah Pacheco vs Eagles rush defense
The beauty of Andy Reid being able to utilize a full playbook before the game itself dictates the play calls is that he can lean more in favor of the ground game. Establishing the run will be crucial as the Eagles rush defense has been the bane of their existence throughout the season. They finished the season ranked 21st in Def Rush DVOA.
While the Chiefs lack a true number one running back, they do have an intriguing young player who has carved out a role of his own in the back half of the season. Isiah Pacheco is a speedy back, excelling at getting to the second level of opposing defenses.
It’s almost outwardly to say his production may be more critical than that of Mahomes, but his ability to force the Eagles to stack the box will do wonders for the Chiefs offense as a whole. Andy Reid will be sure to have some tricks up his sleeves to get Pacheco out in the open field early in this one, especially as he gets more involved in the pass game while in the backfield.
Dallas Goedert vs Chiefs secondary
When Goedert is healthy, he is Jalen Hurts safety blanket and most trusted weapon to keep the chains moving. He leads the team in postseason receptions and is second in receiving yards. This does not bode well for a Chiefs defense that ranked well below league average in allowing tight end production.
Not only have they struggled to cover tight ends, but they have mightily struggled in limiting the pass as a whole as the Chiefs secondary finished 20th in Def Pass DVOA.
In order to combat against this, the Chiefs may opt into the same idea that opposing defenses do to try and limit their own Travis Kelce. When Goedert is out wide they may sit a man in the middle, or send secondary help from up top pending the current scheme. Getting physical when he is on the line will slow him down, giving their defensive line precious extra time to force Hurts to scramble.
While both units have fared well in the first half this season, I will back the Chiefs at +0.5 or higher as the limited early game variance gives Andy Reid full control of a wide-open playbook. It’s not every day you get to back Mahomes as an underdog in the biggest football game of the year, a cover we may be able to tell our children about 10 years from now.