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Mike Clay’s NFL Betting Playbook for Super Bowl LVIII

Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be played on Feb. 11, and the betting market is loaded with player props. That’s why we’re bringing you the betting playbook, highlighting some of the top options for the final game of the NFL season.

My weekly betting playbook features several data points for the big game, along with my analysis of a few notable lines I’m interested in betting, although this article is designed in a way that allows you to pick your own favorites.

Exclusively for ESPN+ members: If you’d like to see a list of around 50 props and my recommended plays for each, please click on this link.

Note: Odds by ESPN BET and correct as of time of publication.


Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers -2
Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m. ET


Money line: Kansas City Chiefs (+108); San Francisco 49ers (-128)
Total: 47.5; Opened: 47.5
FPI favorite: 49ers by 3.1 (59.4% to win outright)

Clay’s projected score: 49ers 25, Chiefs 23

  • Christian McCaffrey anytime TD (-230): The gift that keeps on giving, McCaffrey has found the end zone in 24 of his past 27 games, scoring 35 total touchdowns during the span. That includes exactly two touchdowns in each of the 49ers’ playoff games over the past two weeks. Unsurprisingly, McCaffrey’s usage has seen an uptick during the postseason. He has played on 95% of snaps and has soaked up 37 carries and 17 targets. The Chiefs haven’t allowed any RB touchdowns during the playoffs, but they did surrender one in 10 out of 17 regular-season games. The vig makes this a close call, but there’s just enough value here to make it worthwhile.

  • Isiah Pacheco under 16.5 rushing attempts (-105): Pacheco has accrued 17-plus carries in six of his 17 games. He averaged 14.6 carries per game during the regular season, though he’s posted totals of 24, 15 and 24 during Kansas City’s three playoff games. The two “24 games” came in comfortable wins over the Dolphins and Ravens, games in which they ran zero offensive snaps while trailing. The “15 game” came in a close win over the Bills when they trailed on 79% of snaps. Game-script splits are notable here as the Super Bowl is likely to be a competitive game. In fact, the 49ers have led on 55% of their snaps this season, which trails only the Ravens for most in the NFL. Speaking of San Francisco, its defense has faced 16.5 RB carries per game this season, including a league-low 15.6 per game during the regular season. No back has reached 19 carries against them in any game and only two even reached 17 (Aaron Jones had 18 in the divisional around and Jerome Ford had 17 in Week 16). Lean under at anything close to even money.

  • Nick Bosa over 2.5 total tackles (-170) and over 0.5 assists (-230): I promoted both of these plays last week and Bosa ended up with exactly three solo tackles (one of which was initially an assist but later changed to a solo. … Ouch!). Anyway, both remain strong plays even at an uninspiring vig, so I’m going back to the well. Excluding a Week 18 game in which he was on the field for only seven plays, Bosa has played on 81% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps this season — and that number jumps to 95% during the two playoff games. Bosa is averaging 3.2 total tackles (with at least three in 13 out of 18 games, including 12 of his past 14) and 1.1 assists (with at least one in 12 outings) per game. There have been 25 instances of an edge rusher registering at least three total tackles and 43 instances of one producing at least one assist against the Chiefs this season.

  • Deebo Samuel under 13.5 rushing yards (-110): Samuel could make this one look silly with just one touch, but the odds nonetheless favor the under. Samuel has seen his rushing work decline, having totaled just 40 carries in 17 games. He fell short of 14 rushing yards in 11 of those 17 games, including six of his past seven (with a total of 11 carries for 72 yards during the span). Samuel didn’t have any carries on nine snaps against the Packers in the divisional round before managing 7 yards on three carries against Detroit. For what it’s worth, the Chiefs have faced 21 WR carries and had as many of them go for negative yards (-1 and -5 yards) as they had result in over 13 yards (14 and 18 yards).

  • Nick Bolton over 2.5 assists (-125): Bolton has battled injuries, but the Chiefs’ top off-ball linebacker has still managed at least three assists in seven of his 11 games (64%). One of the exceptions came last week against Baltimore in an outlier game that saw the Ravens call only 11 running plays (not to mention having just 57 overall snaps). The other three exceptions came in games when Bolton’s snap share maxed out at 90%. He has played on at least 97% of snaps in all three playoff games. In total, he’s averaging 3.3 assists. All told, 25 off-ball linebackers have reached three assists in a game against the 49ers this season.

  • Ji’Ayir Brown under 6.5 total tackles (-150): Brown is a third-round rookie who replaced Talanoa Hufanga as a starting safety after he went down with a torn ACL in Week 10. Brown has started six games since that point and played on 100% of snaps in those outings. Over this stretch, the rookie has averaged 6.2 total tackles per game, reaching seven tackles only once — last week against the Lions in a game where the 49ers’ defense was on the field for a hefty 72 plays (tied for its second-highest total of the season). The Chiefs allow tackles to safeties at a below-average rate, which adds more motivation for taking the under.

  • Trent McDuffie under 1.5 assists (-190): McDuffie has posted an assist total of either zero or one in 12 out of 19 games (63%), including five of his past six. He’s averaging 1.2 per game for the season. The vig is ugly here, but it’s worth a look due to the matchup. The 49ers have allowed 10.4 tackles per game to opposing cornerbacks this season, which is lowest in the league. Only 10 corners have accrued more than one assist in a game against them and only one of those reached three assists.

  • Justin Watson under 1.5 receptions (-120): Watson had at least two receptions in seven of his first nine games of the season, but his usage has decreased since Rashee Rice‘s emergence. Since Week 12, Watson has fewer than two catches in eight out of 10 games. The veteran receiver has a grand total of three catches on five targets over the Chiefs’ three playoff games. Even if targeted two or three times, Watson is a longshot to catch multiple passes considering his role. He finished the regular season with a WR-high 17.3 average depth of target, resulting in just a 50% catch rate (79th among the 80 qualified wideouts).

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