After a historic and thrilling overtime victory by the Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl LVIII is now in the books. The Big Game has been decided, Patrick Mahomes, the reigning MVP, is headed back to Disneyland for the third time, while Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are in a state of shock, wondering what the heck just happened.
Although most of the betting focused on amassing statistics for the outstanding offensive weaponry of both teams, for much of the game, this epic battle was more about the stifling defenses that managed to curtail and shut down the league’s most talented superstars.
Super Bowl Prop Bets: One For The Books
Heading into Super Bowl LVIII, the Las Vegas oddsmakers heavily favored the San Francisco 49ers to win. Predicting a record-breaking night for betting, Super Bowl fans were expected to wager more than $20 Billion on the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. The Super Bowl is historically the American Gaming Association’s biggest night and this year seemed destined to attract even more gambling activity as fans weighed in on everything from who would be the first to score to what Taylor Swift and her posse would be drinking.
Across the board, early Super Bowl betting was up almost 35% from one year ago. According to Caesars Palace, at least one dedicated 49ers fan went all in with a one-million-dollar wager in favor of their 49ers beating the Chiefs. Whether relying on the more traditional Super Bowl Squares card or taking part in creative novelty prop bets, it seemed that virtually everyone wanted to get in on the action this year.
Before kickoff, one of the more popular prop bets was that Christian McCaffrey would be the first player to score a touchdown. The odds favored McCaffrey. This was a pretty safe bet since he was the first to score in 43.8% of the 49er’s regular season games. But no one could have predicted that McCaffrey’s 21-yard touchdown would come on a trick play from wide receiver Jauan Jennings, instead of quarterback, Brock Purdy.
One of the more popular pre-game parlay bets predicted a high-scoring game with total points favoring Patrick Mahomes completing over 275 passing yards and both teams’ star tight ends playing a big role. To win, the parlay had Travis Kelce scoring at least 60 receiving yards and George Kittle surpassing 40 receiving yards. While the reigning MVP came through last night with 333 passing yards and Kelce beat his projection with 93 receiving yards, Kittle failed to deliver on his, despite scoring on Brock Purdy’s four-yard touchdown late in the game.
Heading into the Big Game, Travis Kelce was also a favorite to score a touchdown but the 49ers defense kept him out of the end zone last night. Other popular prop bets speculated whether Brock Purdy would pass for over 250 years (he did with 255) or if he would add to his total with more than 10 rushing yards. Once again, the oddsmakers favored Purdy’s ability to run the ball since the Chiefs have found it difficult to contain opposing quarterbacks and keep them out of the red zone all season. Despite the overtime loss, Purdy came through with 12 additional rushing yards, and a four-yard touchdown to George Kittle.
Monday Morning Quarterback
In the aftermath of the game, it seems that despite the record-breaking wagers and the incredible talent on both sides of the field, this Super Bowl’s prop bets might have focused instead on those that weren’t anticipated. For example, what if there was a prop bet correctly predicting that this game would be decided in overtime for only the second time in Super Bowl history?
Lucky gamblers might be waking up this morning as big winners if they bet more points would be scored in the kicking game or that a long-standing Super Bowl kicking record would be broken not once but twice, during this game. Las Vegas odds can propose, project, and anticipate some of the most likely outcomes but in the end, it all comes down to the sheer unpredictability of the game, the flip of a coin, and the uncanny luck of the winning team.
Main Image: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports