Last year, the most popular play in the most popular Super Bowl prop paid off.
Every year, BetMGM oddsmakers anticipate the first player to score a touchdown prop getting the most action. It typically gets about 10 times the action of any other prop. And every year, the quarterbacks get the most bets.
Yet, it’s rare for the quarterbacks to actually cash that ticket. Last year it cost BetMGM in the low six figures.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who took so many bets to score first that his odds went from 21-to-1 to 12-to-1 before kickoff of Super Bowl LIV, got in the end zone first. After Darrel Williams was stopped at the 1-yard line, Mahomes scored on a short run against the San Francisco 49ers. Bettors rejoiced.
Mahomes is back in the Super Bowl and bettors will likely lean toward taking him again. But what is the best play for the most popular Super Bowl LV prop? A year after costing sportsbooks, Mahomes is still getting pretty good odds.
Tom Brady isn’t exactly known for his running ability. But he is pretty good at quarterback sneaks. He had three rushing touchdowns in the regular season and one more in the playoffs. He had three last season too. He’s +3300 to score the first touchdown, and it might be worth it just for the chance of saying you cashed a big ticket on a 43-year-old running for the first score.
Mahomes’ odds are curious. BetMGM got hammered on that prop last season. Jeff Stoneback, the director of trading for MGM Resorts, said last year that the book was down about a quarter-million dollars on props early in last year’s Super Bowl, mostly due to Mahomes’ touchdown (don’t cry for the sportsbook, it rallied by the end of the game). And still, this year Mahomes is +2200 to be the first touchdown scorer.
The book knows Mahomes will get bets. He is mobile (though he had just two rushing TDs this season to three for Brady ... you’d win some bar bets on that trivia) and will be a threat to score. Yet the books are daring bettors to find out if lightning can strike twice.
Chiefs star playmakers
Two players are by far the biggest favorites, and for good reason.
Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Mahomes’ two phenomenal playmakers, are both +600. No other player at BetMGM is better than +1100 for the first touchdown.
The Chiefs scored 53 offensive touchdowns in the regular season, and Hill and Kelce combined for 28 of them. Hill scored 17 and Kelce scored 11. The Chiefs are favored in the game, and they have two key targets that stand out above everyone else.
Getting just 6-to-1 isn’t going to lead to a life-changing payday, but it would still be a good win early in Super Bowl LV.
Buccaneers top scorer
When the Buccaneers get near the end zone, Brady looks for Mike Evans. He scored 13 receiving touchdowns in the regular season. Nobody else on the Bucs had more than seven.
Evans is the third favorite at +1100, but given how he dominates the Buccaneers’ red-zone targets, it doesn’t seem like he should be so far behind Hill and Kelce. Evans scored the first touchdown of the NFC championship game, and he probably has some value at his current odds.
The running backs
Usually, running backs are a good bet to score first. But ambiguity in each backfield makes it a bit tougher for this Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers share snaps between Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette. Jones scored seven regular-season touchdowns and Fournette had six, but with Jones banged up going into the playoffs, Fournette has two postseason scores with none for Jones. Fournette is +1200 and Jones is +1400 to score first on Sunday.
The Chiefs backfield might be even more confusing. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was solid as a rookie, but only scored four rushing touchdowns and got hurt late in the regular season. When he returned, he had 32 snaps in the AFC championship game to 30 for Darrel Williams. Williams scored a 6-yard touchdown in the AFC championship game. Perhaps CEH takes a larger role with a couple weeks to get healthier, but it’s unclear. Edwards-Helaire is +1200 and Williams is +1600 to score first.
If you can have a confident read on which running back will dominate his team’s backfield in Super Bowl LV, maybe you like one of those backs for the first TD prop.
The long shots
BetMGM has odds listed for 28 different players in the first touchdown market. If you want to go far off the board, any Chiefs player not listed is +3300 and any Buccaneers player not listed is +4000.
Two Buccaneers pass catchers who scored in the NFC championship game have enticing odds. Scotty Miller is +2800 and Cameron Brate is +3000 to score the first touchdown. Miller had a solid season and could see a bump in playing time if Antonio Brown is out or limited. Brate has always been pretty good in the red zone and plays enough that 30-to-1 odds are interesting.
If you want to get really crazy, the longest shot who is listed at BetMGM is Buccaneers tight end Antony Auclair. He has 200-to-1 odds. Nobody else listed is higher than 150-to-1 to score first. Auclair hasn’t scored a touchdown in his career and hasn’t appeared in any playoff game this season, but it would make for a heck of a story if he’s the one to crash that prop party.
Here is the list of notable names and BetMGM’s odds for them to score the first touchdown of Super Bowl LV:
Tyreek Hill +600
Travis Kelce +600
Mike Evans +1100
Clyde Edwards-Helaire +1200
Leonard Fournette +1200
Chris Godwin +1200
Ronald Jones II +1400
Antonio Brown +1400
Darrel Williams +1600
Mecole Hardman +1800
Rob Gronkowski +1800
Sammy Watkins +2200
Patrick Mahomes +2200
Le’Veon Bell +2500
Tom Brady +3300
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