Super Bowl Running Back Props Predictions and Expert Handicapping
The backfield of a football team may not always get the most attention, but a solid run game can be the difference-maker on the scoreboard. The ability to keep the defense honest to stop the run is what makes so many of the great football teams successful, and Super Bowl LVII is no exception. Both teams have a solid running back room, and some very intriguing totals have been set. Let’s get into it.
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Kansas City Chiefs: Isaiah Pacheco
Isiah Pacheco was selected in the 7th round of the 2022 NFL draft, 251st overall. He entered the season as RB3 in Kansas City. However, through a combo of explosive running and Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s poor play, he finds himself as RB1 in the Super Bowl. Pacheco’s totals are set to 49.5 rushing yards and 13.5 receiving yards. Looking at his overall season history would not paint an accurate picture of Pacheco’s efficiency, as his touches have gradually increased throughout the season. Since Week 10, Pacheco has averaged 13.5 carries per game, good for 68.5 yards per game, cashing Over 49.5 yards in 9 out of 11 appearances. While he was not as effective as usual against the Bengals, running for just 26 yards on 10 carries, he was still heavily involved with 59 receiving yards.
Laying down money on a late round rookie in the Super Bowl will raise a few eyebrows, but Pacheco has earned a line higher than 49.5 rushing yards, and I will be taking full advantage. He is consistently fed the ball. And despite the fact that the Eagles have a solid run defense, I think he runs for 50+ yards.
Regarding the endzone, it is initially surprising that Jerick McKinnon and Pacheco both have +150 odds to get a touchdown. However, considering McKinnon hauled in 8 touchdowns and ran for one more in the final 6 weeks of the regular season, while Pacheco scored just 3 in the same span, it makes sense. I’d stick to the reliable rushing yards over the lottery pick on the touchdown for Pacheco.
Pick: Isaiah Pacheco Over 49.5 Rushing yards.
Kansas City Chiefs: Jerick McKinnon
All season long, McKinnon has been a crucial part of the backfield for the Chiefs. He is the clear pass catching back. And while he still loves to run between the tackles, his open field play has turned him into a star. His rushing yards total is 20.5 yards, while his receiving yards total is 22.5 yards. The Eagles possess one of the best run defenses in the league, and it will be difficult for McKinnon to get carries over Pacheco for the traditional run plays. Where he makes his living is in the red zone, and with easy screen passes.
McKinnon is a very boom or bust running back, and we must bet accordingly. At -110 odds, I’ll be staying away from both totals, as the value isn’t there. Instead, I’ll be sprinkling a unit on McKinnon 50+ receiving yards for +550. McKinnon has cashed Over 22.5 receiving yards 6 times in his last 11 games, and 4 of those have been with 50+ receiving yards. It is rare to find such a plausible +550 prop, so skip the standard line all together and go for a big payout instead.
While McKinnon may only have one rushing touchdown this season, he has been effective catching passes in the red zone, and was good for 9 receiving touchdowns this season, 8 of which were in the final 6 weeks of the regular season. Grabbing odds of +150 may seem appealing at first glance, this is a pass for me. Mahomes will want to keep the ball in his hands and look for his receivers when it matters most. I know McKinnon has been a reliable option in the second half of the season, but I expect Kelce and the other wide receivers to get the crucial targets.
Pick: Jerick McKinnon 50+ Receiving Yards +650
Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders has been the RB1 throughout the season for Philly, running for a career high 1,269 rushing yards. He posted another solid game against the 49ers, rushing for 42 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns. Sanders will be heavily leaned on throughout the game and will have numerous opportunities to cash this prop. He’s had double digit carries in all but one game this season, as has ran for Over 57.5 Rushing yards in 12 out of 19 games.
The Eagles backfield is crowded, with Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott all getting consistent touches. A dominant Eagles offense will have the luxury of running many offensive plays, ensuring Sanders gets his fair share of touches. Unfortunately for him, I don’t expect him to find success.
The Chiefs have a solid run defense, and I expect the Eagles to keep the ball in Hurts’ hands, and spread the love in the backfield. While 57.5 yards isn’t unreasonable, I expected this prop to be much closer to 50 yards. As like we saw against the 49ers, the Eagles will use all 3 running backs, in addition to activating Hurts’ legs. On the biggest stage, coaches like to open up the playbook, and a one trick pony like Sanders may see a below average number of touches. I’m not saying Sanders will post a goose egg, but he’ll fall just short of his rushing prop.
Pick: Miles Sanders Under 57.5 Rushing Yards
Philadelphia Eagles: Kenneth Gainwell
Kenneth Gainwell has turned on the jets in the playoffs, posting his two best games of the year, running for 112 and 48 yards on 12 and 14 attempts, respectively. He’s proven himself to be a reliable second option behind Sanders, and for the big game has a rushing total of just 17.5 yards. I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Gainwell is a must bet at Super Bowl LVII.
In the playoffs, coaches prioritize turnover free football, and Gainwell is the perfect option in crucial plays. He had 0 fumbles last regular season and playoffs and has played well with the extra touches thrown his way this postseason. He checks the box of turnover free football, gets the gritty yards when needed, and has the ability to punch it into the endzone. What more can you ask for? A line of 17.5 rushing yards is flat out disrespectful, and it will probably take just 4-5 rushing attempts for Gainwell to get the job done.
Additionally, head coach Nick Sirianni spread the love between his running backs against San Francisco, and Gainwell has a whopping +275 price tag to score a touchdown. While he only has 4 touchdowns this season, I’m willing to take a shot that he’ll get his first career Super Bowl score. His uptick in usage over the later stage of the season has seen this rushing prop to lag behind. I’d play the over all the way up to 22.5 yards and will be gladly taking the +275 odds on a touchdown.
Pick: Kenneth Gainwell Over 17.5 Rushing Yards (Best Bet)
Pick: Kenneth Gainwell Touchdown +275
Philadelphia Eagles: Boston Scott
Boston Scott is in his 5th season with the Eagles and got downgraded to RB3, posting career lows in rushes (54), receptions (5) and rushing yards (217). A line of 10.5 is hard to argue, but I’ll be taking the Under here nonetheless. Scott played in just 13 games this season and finished under this prop a whopping 6 times. His usage will be very limited, and I expect the Eagles to turn to Gainwell and Sanders more often than not. Of course, it only takes 1 good run to push this over, and every time Scott steps on the field this will be a sweat, but I expect him to have 2 or fewer rushes and to stay under this rock bottom total.
Pick: Boston Scott Under 10.5 Rushing yards
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