Forecasting Super Bowl LVII score and individual stats prop options

February 6, 2023 10:41 AM

Super Bowl Sunday, particularly for the most active of bettors, has become widely known as a day to take advantage of a ton of prop betting options that aren’t available for the average NFL game. Bettors can wager on specific play results, team and individual stats, and plenty, plenty more. I’m here to address the individual stats options, using some statistical forecasting methods I’ve learned over the years in studying sports data. I will apply this knowledge to Sunday’s Kansas City-Philadelphia matchup.

Having served as an oddsmaker for more than 10 years, I’ve used these methods in my submissions for some of the world’s most noteworthy sportsbooks. That said, rest assured that the numbers you will see below are my own projections and weren’t shared with any industry operatives on either side of the counter. Keep in mind that I did this same thing the last two years, and the score projections pointed to a Buccaneers outright win over the Chiefs in 2021, then a tight Rams win against the Bengals a year ago, as well as Unders on both game totals. In other words, on sides and totals, I’m 4-for-4. Hopefully, this year’s projections push that streak to six.

I will start by projecting the score, time of possession and overall yardage statistics for Super Bowl LVII, then expand into the individual players and their projected output based on these overall numbers. For enhanced accuracy, I have only factored in the last 10 meaningful games for each team, making the assumption that the performances in that span were more indicative of the teams themselves and the quality of opponents they faced. I’ve made appropriate adjustments for where the teams played against teams with injured star players, as well as the Eagles games QB Jalen Hurts missed.

Let’s start by looking at some overall projections for the game, using my EFFECTIVE STATS method as the basis for calculation. This method takes into account the team’s performance against weighted averages of its opponents. In other words, STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE is built in.



Overall Game Score using Effective Scoring Calculations

For an example of how I calculate the EFFECTIVE SCORE projections based on the last 10 games, here are the last 10 game Effective Points For/Against for both teams. I will only show the 10-game numbers for this first calculation to illustrate how I’ve done it:

Kansas City Effective Offensive Points for last 10 games: 29.21, 26.01, 24.92, 35.47, 26.72, 21.82, 28.17, 27.50, 28.30, 23.88

Philadelphia Effective Offensive Points for last 10 games: 14.90, 40.76, 36.87, 49.14, 21.07, 40.88, 16.03, 22.52, 38.91, 39.72

Using my forecast model, here are the Effective Offensive Points projections for Super Bowl LVII:

Kansas City: 25.67

Philadelphia: 34.05

Applying the same statistical methods for the defensive performances …

Kansas City Effective Defensive Points for last 10 games: 26.12, 15.86, 21.48, 36.82, 31.19, 9.23, 31.56, 11.99, 18.15, 15.91

Philadelphia Effective Defensive Points for last 10 games: 20.55, 34.51, 12.62, 22.90, 22.88, 33.02, 22.76, 23.42, 7.29, 8.65

Using the same forecast model, here are the Effective Defensive Points projections for Super Bowl LVII:

Kansas City: 16.46

Philadelphia: 13.06

I, along with a few of my statistical colleagues in the industry, typically estimate that about two-thirds of the “scoring output” is dictated by the offenses. Using that ratio, the score projection would be:

Last 10 Games Effective Scoring Forecast: Philadelphia 28.19, Kansas City 21.47

The total points of 49.66 is a little less than a point below the posted total of 50.5, and the Eagles, minus any home-field advantage, would be expected to be about a 6.7-point favorite. This obviously dramatically exceeds the actual line being offered. Incidentally, two years ago, this model projected Tampa Bay, a 3-point underdog, to beat the Chiefs by a field goal, so we are looking at a similar point spread margin projected here. We’ll see if it changes using an Effective Yards Per Play method for calculating the score.

Overall Game Score using Effective Yardage Calculations

Overall Time of Possession/Forecasted Scrimmage Plays

Kansas City’s Effective Time of Possession forecast: 31.4 minutes

Philadelphia’s Effective Time of Possession forecast: 33.8 minutes

Naturally we can’t have more than 60 minutes projected for Super Bowl LVII. Adjusted for a 60-minute game, here are the forecasts:

Kansas City: 28.9 minutes (or 28:54)

Philadelphia: 31.1 minutes (or 31:06)

Over the last 10 meaningful games, Kansas City has averaged 2.05 plays per minute of possession while Philadelphia has averaged 2.08 plays per minute. Thus, the expected number of plays run by each team in Super Bowl LVII would be as follows:

Kansas City: 59.2 plays

Philadelphia: 64.7 plays

Moving now to the Effective Yards per Play calculations for the last 10 games, using the same method I did for the scoring, here are the game forecasts for Super Bowl LVII:

Kansas City Offensive Yards per Play Forecast: 5.64

Philadelphia Offensive Yards per Play Forecast: 5.29

Kansas City Defensive Yards per Play Forecast: 4.99

Philadelphia Defensive Yards per Play Forecast: 4.89

Using the two-thirds offense, one-third defense formula, here are the forecasted total yards per play for Super Bowl LVII:

Kansas City: 5.39 YPP

Philadelphia 5.19 YPP

Thus, the TOTAL YARDAGE PROJECTIONS based on plays run multiplied by expected yards per play would be as follows:

Kansas City: 319.1 total yards

Philadelphia: 335.8 total yards

Applying Effective Yards per Point totals for the teams obtained over the last 10 meaningful games this season using the same two-thirds offense, one-third defense ratio, the score forecasted with the yardage method would be:

Last 10 Games Effective Yardage Score Forecast: Kansas City 20.69, Philadelphia 25.12.

This projection is much lower on the total than the score method, and in this one, Philadelphia would be about a 4.43-point favorite. It is indicating that the Eagles would win the yardage battle by about 16.7 yards. This has the yards-per-point component built into it, so turnovers are a part of that.

Projecting the Team Stats

At this point in the season, you have to believe the coaching staffs for both teams will try to generally stick with the recipe that got them to the Super Bowl. Using the assumptions made above in that Kansas City would total 319.1 yards on 59.2 plays and Philadelphia would gain 335.8 yards on 64.7 plays, the number of runs and passes for each team would be broken up as follows:

Kansas City runs: 21.7 runs (Effective Run% 36.7%)

Kansas City passes: 37.5 passes (Effective Pass% 63.3%)

Philadelphia runs: 27.8 runs (Effective Run% 43%)

Philadelphia passes: 36.9 passes (Effective Pass% 57%)

Using the consistent two-thirds offense, one-third defense rules, here are the expected rushing and passing yards per attempt and total yards for the two teams:

Kansas City: 3.73 YPR for 80.9 yards rushing

Philadelphia: 4.11 YPR for 114.3 yards rushing

Kansas City: 6.35 PYA for 238.2 yards passing (253.8 accounted for QB before 2.4 sacks projected)

Philadelphia: 6.00 PYA for 221.5 yards passing (239.1 accounted for QB before 2.7 sacks projected)

With Effective Completion Percentages of KC 65.7% and PHI 65.2%, the expected number of completions would be:

Kansas City: 23.1 completions (on 35.1 actual throws)

Philadelphia: 22.3 completions (on 34.2 actual throws)

These are the key stat projections I will use below for forecasting the individual contributions to those totals.

Projecting the Individual Stats

Quarterbacks’ Passing Stats

I’ve basically already laid out the projected stats for the quarterbacks above. Here they are redisplayed with the prop odds according to DraftKings (DK) as of Feb. 3 and the projected wager:


Patrick Mahomes (KC): Projection 23.1 (DK odds: 25.5) — UNDER

Jalen Hurts (PHI): Projection 22.3 (DK odds: 21.5) — OVER

Passing Yards:

Patrick Mahomes (KC): Projection 253.8 (DK odds: 290.5) — UNDER

Jalen Hurts (PHI): Projection 239.1 (DK odds: 245.5) — UNDER

Quarterbacks Rushing Stats

Here are the projections for rush yards for the two starting quarterbacks:

Rushing Yards:

Patrick Mahomes (KC): Projection 8.9 (DK odds: 19.5) — UNDER

Jalen Hurts (PHI): Projection 28.7 (DK odds: 49.5) — UNDER

Running Backs’ Rushing Stats

Here are my forecasted running backs’ rushing stats based on recent trends and the stats projected earlier:

Rushing Yards:

Isiah Pacheco (KC): Projection 41.3 (DK odds: 49.5) — UNDER

Jerrick McKinnon (KC): Projection 9.6 (DK odds: 23.5) — UNDER

Boston Scott (PHI): Projection 13.8 (DK odds: 7.5) — OVER

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI): Projection 14.0 (DK odds: 18.5) — UNDER

Miles Sanders (PHI): Projection 40.7 (DK odds: 57.5) — UNDER

Running Backs’ Receiving Stats

Here are my forecasted running backs’ receiving stats based on recent trends and the stats projected earlier:


Jerick McKinnon (KC): Projection 2.9 (DK odds: 3.5) — UNDER

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI) Projection 13.6 (DK odds: 1.5) — OVER

Receiving Yards:

Jerick McKinnon (KC): Projection 25.4 (DK odds: 22.5) — OVER

Isiah Pacheco (KC): Projection 15.7 (DK odds: 14.5) — OVER

Kenneth Gainwell (PHI): Projection 1.54 (DK odds: 11.5) — OVER

Wide Receiver/Tight End Receiving Stats

Here are my forecasted wide receiver and tight end receiving stats based on recent trends and the stats projected earlier:


Travis Kelce (KC): Projection 6.3 (DK odds: 6.5) – UNDER

A.J. Brown (PHI): Projection 4.8 (DK odds: 5.5) — UNDER

Dallas Goedert (PHI): Projection 4.52 (DK odds: 4.5) — OVER

DeVonta Smith (PHI): Projection 5.5 (DK odds: 5.5) — PUSH

Quez Watkins (PHI): Projection 2.1 (DK odds: 1.5) — OVER

Receiving Yards:

Travis Kelce (KC): Projection 72.6 (DK odds: 78.5) — UNDER

A.J. Brown (PHI): Projection 67.9 (DK odds: 72.5) — UNDER

Dallas Goedert (PHI): Projection 46.9 (DK odds: 45.5) — OVER

DeVonta Smith (PHI): Projection 71.5 (DK odds: 61.5) — OVER

Quez Watkins (PHI): Projection 16.5 (DK odds: 12.5) — OVER

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