Kansas City Chiefs +1.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles: 51
The final game of the 2022/23 NFL season is almost upon as Sunday Night at 1130pm UK time sees the Chiefs take on the Eagles in the 57th Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Both teams played in this stadium in the regular season, both leaving with the W, and with the AFC being the designated road team this year they’ll take the field from the same changing room they used in their win against the Cardinals.
These teams are no strangers to the big game with the Eagles winning in 2017 and the Chiefs winning just a couple of years ago with Patrick Mahomes at the helm. It’s a heck of a job by the Eagle’s front office getting back to the finalé with a very much altered roster but here they are.
Both were the #1 seed in their conferences, something which has happened 13 times in the 43 years where seeding has been in place. Both had 16-3 records to get to this point, both scored exactly 546 points in their 19 games, both had 4.6 yards per carry and had 4 takeaways in the post-season so it’s safe to say they should be fairly evenly matched.
The Chiefs faced the 4th easiest schedule according to opposing DVOA during the regular season and fought through injuries to their star QB with wins against the Jaguars and the Bengals in the playoffs to reach this point, the win a couple weeks ago will definitely have them battle-tested for this one and the week off in between would have been greatly appreciated to allow Mahomes and the WRs some time to heal up after a lot of the offense went out with injuries in their win.
The Eagles had the easiest schedule in the same metric and have faced a cake-walk through the playoffs to reach this point, they killed the Giants as they usually do, and then beat the 49ers in the Championship round, the 49ers who lost both of their active QBs, leaving them utterly inept on offense and allowing the Eagle’s to rest a lot of starters later in the game.
Obviously two very good teams here, but to put it simply the Eagles have the better roster in general, they’re stronger on the DL and the OL, they have the better run game and have studs at WR, but the key position is at QB and the Chiefs win that by a significant distance.
What we do know if that the Eagles pass rush is best on the edge and that’s the weakest point for the Chiefs, but the Chiefs rush is best inside with Chris Jones and that’s the weaker area of the Eagles offensive line, so that’s a fun balance.
The Eagles have the best-run game in the league, the Chiefs have the best passing game (DVOA) while the Eagles pass D is rated the top in the league but has only faced a couple of good QBs and gave up 30+ in those games, so it may be a little over-rated, while the Chiefs run D is below average as well, so some nice mirror images which in theory should mean points.
The big talking point of the game has to be the health of the QBs on either side though, Mahomes may well still be hampered with the ankle sprain which got progressively worse through their last game, although he did scramble for the key first down when it was required, while Jalen Hurts has been dealing with a shoulder injury for weeks now and may have aggravated it vs. the 49ers for no reason.
Jalen Hurts has 13 rushing TDs in their 19 games this year and is a vital part of that league-leading run game, he hasn’t had to do too much in recent weeks but he’ll step up the running when it’s needed. He has generally been quite accurate down-field but there was no touch on his passes against the 49ers, he just needed to chuck it in the vicinity of AJ Brown and he’d catch it but the over-throws were concerning, hopefully the extra week of rest has helped him. He’s lined at around 239.5 passing yards, I’d take the under if I was backing a side of it.
Patrick Mahomes did his ankle against the Jaguars a month ago, he played through that game and the full 60 vs. the Bengals and was hobbling around a lot come the end of it, that injury usually takes more than 4 weeks to heal up, so I think he’ll still be feeling it. It won’t affect his passing too much though and he’ll target Kelce frequently. This is his 3rd Super Bowl in just 5 years as a starter, he’s the best in the game and he may well let that show this weekend. His betting line is probably going to hit 300 at some point this week so if you like the under then it’s worthwhile waiting. I do like o25.5 completions and o39.5 attempts for him though.
Not too much of a contest here, the Eagles were the best running offense in the league with Hurts a key part of it. Miles Sanders was the main man between the 20s, but tended to get phased out when they reached the 10-yard line and in. Hurts, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell all got work near the end-zone. It does make it tough to pick out any props for them… I’d go Sanders o13.5 rush attempts (although that’s got a little high now) and lean over on his yardage (61.5), under on his receptions… Kenneth Gainwell could be the one to aim for… his rush line is 19.5, he’s on 1.5 receptions and 10.5 rec. yards, they’ve been using him a lot in the playoffs, I would be leaning over on all his numbers. The odd-man out could be Boston Scott who tends to get 5-zone carries, but it’s tough taking u8.5 on a nippy little fella. Best bet of all these? Kenneth Gainwell o19.5 rush yards. (I do like his rec. yards too)
The Chiefs have a pretty varied backfield now too after activating Clyde Edwards-Helaire from IR. He’s added to rookie Isiah Pacheco and Jerrick McKinnon, in reality I think it takes away from McKinnon far more than the kid though. Pacheco has been increasingly involved on the ground and in the passing game in recent weeks and I see no reason why that drops too much. I like the over 48.5 on Pacheco rush yards and under on McKinnon’s 20.5 (also his longest rush of 8.5 is a very good under as well) – They faded Clyde early in the year and I don’t think he’ll get too many touches here either. Best bet from these? McKinnon longest rush u8.5
Would usually just be WRs, but the TEs on both teams are essential for the offenses here so we’ll bundle them into one, Travis Kelce set records with 14 receptions in their win over the Jaguars and he should be fine after (apparently) suffering back spasms before their win again the Bengals. His line was 6.5 receptions earlier in the week, but o7.5 doesn’t seem too bad really, he’ll be targeted freely and has a good matchup against the middle of this Eagles defense. Dallas Goedert on the other side of the ball is a useful piece for the Eagles, always free and reliable when Hurts is under pressure, his 4.5 receptions line is a nice one to go over as well.
The WRs for the Chiefs are very, very tough to call, Juju Smith-Schuster seems like the 1, if there is one, but Marquez Valdes-Scantling proved his worth last game and Kadarius Toney is very entertaining with the ball in his hands, then there’s Justin Watson to add some deep threat, and Skyy Moore if you want to include another. When you’ve got Mahomes at QB, all are viable options.
The Eagles have one of the best WR duos in the league though with Devonta Smith and AJ Brown. Brown is the 1 and will likely get more targets, but Smith won the Heisman trophy in college and is looking to join a fairly select group to have won that and the Lombardi in their careers. Outside of the big two, it’s Goedert and frankly, not a whole lot more, Quez Watkins may get a deep shot but might end with no receptions and then it’s the running backs really, although all are capable in the passing game.
I like the TE receptions, but with the Kelce line going up during the week I’ll say Goedert o4.5 receptions is my best bet of this grouping.
These two teams were the sack leaders in the regular season with the Eagles finishing the year just a few short of the single-season record on 70 sacks and the Chiefs finishing second on 55.
Hassan Reddick has proven to be an excellent free agent acquisition with 16 regular season sacks and 3.5 in their 2 post-season games. They have such depth that they can rotate the defensive line frequently and keep everyone fresh, Hargrave, Sweat and Graham all finished with 11 sacks each behind Reddick. They also strengthened their run defense through the year as well although it’s still not amazing. The secondary is the best in the league according to DVOA with Darius Slay and CJGJ headlining that area.
The Chiefs aren’t as loaded with names, but Chris Jones finished just a sack behind Reddick with 15.5 of his own and he notched his first ever psot-season sacks against the Bengals where he essentially won the game for them last time out. They have a lot of rookies on defense who have stepped up and should have L’jarius Sneed back from a concussion for this one too.
Who’s gonna win?
My goodness it’s not an easy thing to call, and I will admit right here that I win a LOT more if the Eagles get the job done here.
At the end of the day though, I do think the Eagles have enough to get it done, they have the team to be able to control the clock and keep Mahomes off the field, they have the pass-rush to cause issues and a talented secondary. They should be able to run the ball well too against an average run defense and they’re at relatively full strength.
I do think it will be a high-scoring affair though, as said, the Chiefs should be able to score against a largely untested Eagles defense and the Eagles match-up well as against the Chiefs as well.
Obviously, there are a TON of props on this game, about 500-odd around the UK bookies and more elsewhere.
Some trends to note – First quarters are generally low scoring – Second halves are usually higher scoring than the first – The Eagles will go for 4th downs – I think the Eagles have more first downs – Under on Punts is a good look – Shortest TD u1.5 is one I back every Super Bowl, I like u40.5 on longest TD as well, neither of these teams are particularly explosive any more.
My favorite bet of the night though? Eagles o1.5 rushing TDs – available at Boylesports, Skybet (on requests) and Bet365, all are evens and above.
Thank you if you’ve read this and it’s been of some use, and if you’ve read anything I’ve written all year, it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to getting some bets down on the draft when that comes around in a month or so.
Adam (@TouchdownTips on twitter, TDtips.com)