Five Super Bowl LV cross-sport props I like

By Jonathan Von Tobel  ( senior NBA analyst) 

February 5, 2021 10:50 AM

When it comes to Super Bowl props, there is a lot to sift through. The cross-sport props that are available are sometimes viewed as fun, but there can be real value in some of the numbers put up by operators. So this week I went through the props offered by the Westgate SuperBook and analyzed the five props that I like most.

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Jamal Murray PTS+ REB+ AST (2/6 DEN @ SAC) vs. Tom Brady Pass ATT (-8.5)

Using just season averages as a starting point, bettors will find Jamal Murray averages 27.3 points, rebounds and assists per game while Tom Brady averaged 38.1 pass attempts per game in the regular season. We’ve seen Brady’s pass attempts dip slightly in the postseason to 36.3 per game, possibly because of Bruce Arian’s obsession with running on early downs.

Now, let’s factor in opponents. Murray will be facing the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, and the Kings are not exactly a defensive force. They are last in defensive efficiency (119.0), and one can likely expect a bump in points and potentially assists for Murray against them. Tie in the fact that Tampa Bay is facing the 31st-ranked run defense in Kansas City and we could see even more of a dip in Brady’s pass attempts.

Jamal Murray 3P Made (2/6 DEN at SAC) vs. Patrick Mahomes TD PASSES (PK)

Through 19 games this season Murray is averaging 2.1 made 3-point attempts per game, while Mahomes averaged 2.53 touchdown passes per game in the regular season. As we noted earlier, the Kings are the worst defense in the league, and one of the biggest issues is their perimeter defense. Opponents take 35.8 percent of their attempts from deep against Sacramento, and they shoot 39.0 percent on those attempts. We can realistically expect Denver as a whole to take more 3-point shots in this game, but how many will go to Murray?

If we’re setting the number of touchdown passes for Mahomes at 2.5, then Murray will need a minimum of three made 3-pointers to challenge this prop bet. In seven of his 19 games, Murray has made three or more 3-pointers. Couple that with a poor perimeter defense in Sacramento, it seems as if Murray will be pretty live here.

Nikola Jokic PTS+ REB (2/6 DEN at SAC) vs. Distance of First Made FG (-0.5)

Using just the season-long averages puts Jokic’s number in this prop at 38.6, but that might not paint the whole picture. Jokic has been on an otherworldly run of late. Over his last 14 games, he’s totaling 40.6 points and rebounds, and in his last eight the number is 43.2. Against a team like Sacramento, which has no real defensive presence in the frontcourt, this could be yet another monster game for Jokic.

If we’re using 38.6 points and rebounds as our starting point, that would mean a 40-yard field goal or longer would be needed to beat you on this prop. In a Super Bowl coaches tend to call plays tighter, and they are likely to settle for field goals once inside enemy territory. If Jokic can take advantage of the Kings’ horrendous defense, it makes this a tight number.

Kevin Durant PTS+ REB (2/6 BRK at PHI) (-6.5) vs. Darrel Williams (KC) RUSH YDS

This is a pretty fascinating prop considering Williams has found a role with Kansas City in the postseason. In the Chiefs’ two playoff games he averaged 65 rushing yards per game on 13 attempts. Kevin Durant is averaging just 38.3 points and rebounds per game, so on the surface it seems like there is an advantage in taking Williams plus-6.5 here.

However, there are some real questions with Williams here. First, is his role secure with Kansas City? Clyde Edwards-Helaire totaled fewer touches than Williams in the AFC championship game but is reportedly getting healthier as the Chiefs prepare for the Super Bowl, and keep in mind he actually played more snaps than Williams against Buffalo. Add the fact that Tampa Bay has the NFL’s best run defense, according to Football Outsiders, and this looks like a play on Durant.

Joel Embiid PTS (-1.5) (2/6 BRK at PHI) vs. Tampa Bay PTS

This is one of my favorite cross-sport props on the board. Joel Embiid has been absolutely incredible this season, averaging 28.3 points per game. If Embiid just hits his average, then the Bucs would need to be held to 26 points or fewer for you to win this prop, but there are a few things working in the bettor’s favor.

Brooklyn has been atrocious defensively this season, ranking 27th in defensive efficiency since acquiring James Harden. At the center of that, literally and figuratively, is DeAndre Jordan. The Brooklyn big man has been atrocious this season, ranking 54th among centers in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus metric. Embiid ranks second among centers in Offensive Real Plus-Minus and should be able to feast on Jordan and the Nets defense. This looks like a game for Embiid that could see him score well over 30 points, and Tampa Bay managed just 24 points in its first meeting with Kansas City on Nov. 29.

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