Proposition betting: We’re guessing the first play of Super Bowl LIV is…

Tuesday, 28 January 2020 11:39 EST

NFLbets has no sense of humor about most special props offered on the Super Bowl; what exactly the public fascination with losing money on the coin flip, national anthem performance or color of Gatorade dumped on the winning head coach is, we have no clue – but rest assured that the bookmakers won’t be taking our money on these inanities this year or ever.

It’s like, you know Barnum’s old aphorism, “there’s a sucker born ever minute”? You know the expression “sucker’s bet”? Yeah, well, that’s what those kinda BS props are.

Having said (written?) that, NFLbets admits that our bet in the prop “49ers vs Chiefs – First offensive play from scrimmage” is based purely in instinct and a favorable line. “Run play” is currently listed on My Bookie at odds of -145, while “pass play” is paying out at +115. That’s right: NFLbets is advising that Super Bowl bettors take Pass Play in the First Offensive Play From Scrimmage prop at those nice odds.

Can we possibly justify making what resembles a serious throwaway bet at all? Let’s try.

On the Kanasas City Chiefs sideline is Andy Reid, and we suppose you may have heard that Reid is probably the greatest NFL head coach never to win the Super Bowl yada yada yada. More importantly, the dude is armed (so to speak) with a QB who’s the most athletically gifted we’ve seen in the ’Bowl in years, if not ever. In 16 starts this season, Patrick Mahomes has begun the game with a pass seven times and in the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans, the first play call was an option which had Mahomes on the run.

What’s truly amazing in that on the aforementioned 16 games, the Kansas City offense’s *second* play from scrimmage has been a pass 15 times. The Chiefs game plan for the opening series of the first quarter is, half the time, have Damien Williams or LeSean McCoy hit the line for a yard or two, followed by Mahomes throwing again. If you can get a prop on KC’s second play, that’s a no-brainer.

For the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo has shown gunslinging skills and, as mentioned elsewhere on NFLbets, has lead his team to a 11-2 SU mark when throwing more than 21 passes and 4-2 SU when getting over 240 passing yards – but even when he’s not playing possum as in the first two playoff games, Jimmy G has always started slow. Just twice in 18 games has he begun the proceedings with a pass play: in weeks 14 and 16 against the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, respectively. However, in both cases, the 49ers offense got the ball only after a clock-killing, TD-scoring drive by the opposition. This makes perfect sense when running with a ridiculously effective RB-by-committee such as the 49ers do.

But if there’s one guy that’s capable of overthinking this game, it’s Kyle Shanahan. (Chiefs backers are meanwhile concerned about Andy Reid *under*thinking things…) He’s already admitted to the “humbling” experience as an Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator in helping throw away a 25-point third-quarter lead against the Patriots through lack of adjustments in the game plan to the actual, likesay, game situation. And NFLbets is convinced that limiting Garoppolo to 27 attempts in the postseason thus far is Shanahan’s attempt at ta smokescreen covering his desire to air it out, particularly over the middle where the Chiefs pass D is weakest.

Recall Shanahan Sr., whose multiple Super Bowl appearances with the Denver Broncos always seemed to begin with John Elway launching on 50 yards or more, as well. Why wouldn’t we think that the mentally-churning Shanahan the Younger, knowing his offense is decidedly lower-watt and will inevitably be playing from behind, trying to outfox Reid with the unexpected early?

Okay, so this isn’t the strongest reasoning or the best bet that NFLbets’ll be making for Super Bowl LIV, but look at it this way: At least we’ll have this one won/lost nice and early…

–written by Os Davis

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