Last week, I was 0.5 yards away from a perfect prop performance.

RB Christian McCaffrey finished with 132 scrimmage yards, so I went 5-1 (+4.0 units). If he’d had 131 yards, I would’ve been 6-0 (+9.78 units) with a big swing in units -- because the McCaffrey prop was part of a same-game parlay.

That’s the way it goes.

No time to wallow in the close calls of the past.

We have one game of football left: Super Bowl 58

The Super Bowl is a fantastic event: We get two weeks to focus on the largest prop menu of the year, and with all the money wagered on the event the sportsbooks don’t mind (as much as they usually would) taking large bets in the smaller markets.

This is heaven.

In terms of percentage gained for my bankroll, the best betting day I’ve ever had was almost exactly five years ago: Super Bowl 53. Patriots 13, Rams 3.

Looking back, I was almost certainly overinvested in the game -- because it was just one game, and anything can happen in football. Additionally, most of my bets were correlated, so I was at risk of losing an amount of money I wouldn’t have wanted to disclose to my wife. 

And so the lesson from this is clear: Don’t get married.

Also, if you’re going to bet way more than you should on just one game, be right. 

But really the best advice I can give is not to go too wild on betting the Super Bowl. It’s just one game.

You should of course be degenerate -- but intelligently degenerate.

How to Bet the Super Bowl

Here are some general thoughts on the Super Bowl prop market and how I like to attack it.

  • People like to bet on things to happen: Yards, TDs, excitement. That tends to create value on player prop unders.
  • Unless an under is obviously and massively mispriced, it’s usually best to wait to bet it until closer to kickoff, because prop lines tend to be bet up in the runup to the game.
  • If you like an over, you might want to bet it right away unless you have a strong reason to believe that the line will move down.
  • For game props, betting on nothing to happen -- such as no safety, no overtime, etc. -- tends to be profitable. Again, people (i.e., casual bettors) tend to bet on action, and that creates value on the negative side of yes/no propositions. (Check out our Thursday Betting Life Newsletter for a breakdown of the different prop types available for the Super Bowl.)
  • Sometimes there’s value on the side with heavy juice. No one wants to bet on something with -900 odds … but if that thing has a 95% chance of happening (vs. the 90% implied probability of the -900 odds), then there’s value in the prop (per our Fantasy Life Odds Calculator).
  • For the Super Bowl especially, it’s good to have accounts at as many sportsbooks as possible. In a worst-case scenario, this enables you to line shop, which helps you win more money (or lose less money). And in a best-case scenario, having accounts at multiple books facilitates middle and arbitrage opportunities.

Here are the usual reminders.

  • Bet Tracker: You can find these props -- and many more -- in our 100% FREE Fantasy Life bet tracker.
  • Discord: When I post bets in our tracker, I sometimes jump into the “Free Picks” channel of our Discord and let everyone know that I’m putting up plays. Join our Discord (again, it’s free).
  • Projections: You can find my player projections in the Fantasy Life Projections Tool. In my experience, these projections are useful for both betting props and making fantasy decisions.
  • Prop Tool & Prop Finder: The Fantasy Life Prop Tool contains my player projections (as well as our official projections) and compares them to the lines in the prop market to show the bets that we think offer the most opportunity. It’s a great resource. And there’s also the Fantasy Life Prop Finder, which allows you to see easily all the props for any given player and the books that offer the best lines.
  • Lines Move: Lines can and often do move, and we update our projections regularly, just in case there’s a difference between what you see in the market or on the site versus what you see in this article.

Preamble given, here are various player props I like for Super Bowl 58.

Patrick Mahomes Under 21.5 Fantasy Points (-110, DraftKings)

  • My Projection: 18.6
  • Cutoff: 20.5

Years ago, I built the foundation of my bankroll by betting fantasy point props at one particular sportsbook. I went at these props as hard as I could until I was backed off and the book stopped posting them. Those were the days.

So now whenever I see fantasy point props my attention is immediately piqued.

Think about it. Books have gotten way better at pricing traditional player props, but the market is still exploitable, and if books sometimes struggle to set good lines for normal player stats imagine how much harder for them fantasy points must be.

When it comes to fantasy point props, I believe that the typical fantasy degenerate has a true edge.

And DraftKings has blessed us for the Super Bowl by posting fantasy point props, and this one on Mahomes stands out.

In the regular season, Mahomes played 16 games. He went over 21.5 DraftKings points in just three of them while averaging 19.3.

And then in the postseason, he has put up 18.6, 18.5, and 15.1 DraftKings points.

Mahomes is certainly capable of hitting the over, but his pass catchers haven’t done him many favors this year, and his matchup isn’t great against the 49ers, who are No. 5 in defensive dropback EPA (-0.036, per RBs Don’t Matter).

As I highlight in my Super Bowl 58 betting breakdown, I like under 47.5 points for the total, and if the game goes under then many player props will likely do the same. 

I hate sounding like a Mahomes pessimist, but the last time he had more than 21.5 DraftKings points was Week 7, when he passed for 424 yards and four TDs against the Chargers.

The 49ers ain’t the Chargers.

In their 18 real games this year (discounting the meaningless Week 18), the 49ers have allowed five QBs to go over 21.5 DraftKings points.

This is probably my favorite bet on the board.

You can tail the under at DraftKings, where you can get $200 in bonus bets INSTANTLY when you sign up below and place your first bet of just $5 or more!

Isiah Pacheco +23.5 Yards Rushing vs. Christian McCaffrey (-115, DraftKings)

  • My Projections: Pacheco - 70.0, McCaffrey - 82.7
  • Cutoff: +15.5

Pacheco is one of my Super Bowl fantasy favorites. I think he has a chance to outrush McCaffrey in a head-to-head matchup (+175, DraftKings), but I prefer the spread to the ML because I do think the 49ers will rely on the running game.

But Pacheco is likely to have a significant workload as well.

He entered the AFC Championship dealing with ankle and toe injuries, but he played through his questionable tag last week to earn 24 carries.

In the postseason, Pacheco has 21 carries per game; McCaffrey, 18.5.

Isiah Pacheco

Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hands the ball off to Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Week 10 bye, Pacheco has averaged 18 carries across eight games, while McCaffrey has averaged 17.6 across nine since his Week 9 bye (with his injury-impacted Week 17 removed).

It’s not a stretch to imagine that Pacheco could lead the game in carries.

Because the 49ers are -2 favorites, McCaffrey could benefit from a run-heavy game script, but the Chiefs should keep this game competitive and are live to win: Mahomes as an underdog is 10-1-1 ATS (71.4% ROI) and 9-3 ML (85.3% ROI, per Action Network).

And that could mean a heavy rushing day for Pacheco, especially since the matchup is good: The 49ers are No. 30 in defensive rush success rate (42.9%). In the NFC Championship, they allowed 182 yards rushing to the Lions. In the Divisional Round, 136 to the Packers.

If the Chiefs decide they want to run as relentlessly as possible, Pacheco will have an excellent chance to match McCaffrey in carries, and if that happens it will be hard for him not to cover the spread of +23.5 yards.

Christian McCaffrey Anytime TD + Under 130.5 Scrimmage Yards (+219, FanDuel)

  • My Projection: ATD -278.4, Scrimmage Yards - 116.7
  • Cutoff: +200 or 127.5 Scrimmage Yards

I’m running it back with the CMC SGP, which I’ve highlighted in this article for the past two weeks.

With -220 and -110 odds, the two legs of our parlay come out to +178 when combined (per our Fantasy Life Parlay Calculator).

But if we create the SGP at FanDuel we get +219 odds because the sportsbook assumes that these two events -- McCaffrey scoring a TD and hitting the under -- are inversely correlated.

And they probably are … but only slightly. I think the correlation isn’t as strong as the sportsbook (or the algorithm) assumes.

McCaffrey has had fewer than 130.5 scrimmage yards in eight of 18 games, so it’s not as if this number is unreasonably low. In the playoffs, he has averaged 130 yards. The prop of 130.5 is in the realm of reality. I think it’s a little high -- and that’s one of the reasons I see value in the SGP -- but it’s within 15 yards of where it should be in either direction.

Now here’s the key: McCaffrey has scored a TD in 87.5% of his games with fewer than 130.5 scrimmage yards and in “just” 80% of his games with more than 130.5.

There’s some noise in this sample, and he has averaged more TDs (1.5 vs. 1.25) in his 10 games above the yardage threshold, but McCaffrey’s performance this season highlights the fact that his scoring prowess has little to do with his yardage and more to do with his usage -- especially in the redzone, where he led the league in opportunities in the regular season (63 carries16 targets).

Regardless of the carries and targets McCaffrey sees elsewhere on the field (and those are the opportunities that will impact whether he goes over the scrimmage total), his workload near the endzone is locked in and will be determined mainly by the total number of snaps the 49ers have near the goal line.

And I think the correlation between team snaps near the goal line and the total number of McCaffrey touches is minimal.

At +219, this same-game parlay has a 31.4% implied probability, but I think the true odds are 35-40%.

You can tail the mini-parlay at FanDuel, where you can get $150 in bonus bets when you sign up below and place your first bet of $5 or more!

Freedman's Props
Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman is the Head of Betting at Fantasy Life. He's a profitable sports bettor with 100K+ followers in the Action Network app. While he specializes in NFL (spreads, totals, futures, and player and draft props), he has also successfully invested in NBA, NHL, and March Madness player prop markets. Before joining Fantasy Life, he was the Director of Content at FantasyPros and BettingPros (2022-23), Chief Strategy Officer at FTN Network (2021-22), Lead NFL Analyst at Action Network (2017-21), and Editor-in-Chief at FantasyLabs (2016-21). Freedman started at RotoViz in 2013 and contributed to Pro Football Focus, DraftKings Playbook, and Fantasy Insiders before joining FantasyLabs on a full-time basis. As a fantasy analyst, Freedman is a five-time top-20 finisher in the FantasyPros accuracy contest.