1st TD scorer picks for the Super Bowl
I sat down this week to write my weekly article on first touchdown targets thinking it would be a quick one. I’d do some research on the last few Super Bowls, give those results and then my suggestions for this week. But, when I saw what my research uncovered about Super Bowl first touchdowns, I realized I’d better get comfortable because there was quite a bit to take away from it.
I was going to look at the last 10 championships but I ended up adding all 56 Super Bowls to my tracker and learned a lot. Most notably, worrying about who gets the ball first is apparently a complete waste of time. The first touchdown has only occurred on the game’s opening drive FOUR times in Super Bowl history.
An even crazier stat is that it hasn’t been scored on the opening drive in 15 straight championship games now, dating back to Super Bowl XLI in 2007. So, if you target players on one team like I suggest you do (more on that later), don’t stress if the other team gets the ball first!
Then, I was curious if the team who scored the first touchdown, also won the game, which gave another staggeringly lopsided result. Of the 56 Super Bowls, 42 of them were won by the team who found the end zone first. To keep it recent, 11 of the last 12 Super Bowls featured the winning team as the team to score a TD first. This tells me that we should only be betting players on the team we think will win the game. Another betting opportunity would be to wait until one team finds the end zone, and then place a live moneyline bet on them to win.
My strategy all season for betting on the first touchdown market has been to only target players on the team that is more successful at doing so. It worked well in the regular season, and it worked REALLY well in the playoffs. Of the 11 playoff games that featured mismatches, only two didn’t follow the system. This is particularly helpful to know if your book offers the prop: which team will score the first touchdown, as opposed to picking a specific player.
So, who should we target in the Super Bowl? Including the playoffs, both teams are essentially equal, but the Eagles, who have scored the game’s first TD 13 times this year are just a smidge better than the Chiefs, who did it 12 times. It’s a small difference, but I’m going with it. Fly, Eagles, Fly!
Or maybe it’s Run, Eagles, Run!? Philadelphia absolutely loves to go with the ground game to find the end zone early. Twelve of their first touchdowns this season have been on carries from Jalen Hurts or a running back. Hurts has six of the Eagles first scores, three of which were the first of the game. I’ll definitely have a ticket on him (+700 at DraftKings). I’m also going to go with Miles Sanders (+700), who ended his five-game touchdown drought last week when he scored two against the 49ers, one of which was the game’s first. My longshot is going to be Boston Scott (+2500), who has four touchdowns in Philly’s last five games, including both of their playoff games.
I won’t be betting on any Chiefs to score the game’s first touchdown, but if you must, here are my thoughts. For me, it’s all about their superstar tight end, Travis Kelce. He has scored the game’s first touchdown in both of their playoff games so far this postseason, and did it three times in the regular season. He’s +700 at DraftKings this week. One player who might be tempting, but I’d stay away from, is Patrick Mahomes. He’s only got four rushing touchdowns on the season, none of which were the first of the game, or even the first for Kansas City. Plus, we know with a banged up ankle, he’s not going to be tempted to make a run for it unless he’s got a completely wide open window, and with that Eagles defense, I’m not sure that will be the case. It’s Kelce or bust here.
Many books offer team-specific first touchdown markets, which is where I’ll take advantage of Travis Kelce’s success. He’s +290 to score first for KC.
DraftKings really threw me for a loop for this game when they added a Touchdown Exactas market, allowing you to predict which specific players will score the first AND second touchdowns, or even the first, second, and third! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to go to full galaxy-brain mode for that.
Before I sign off for the season, here’s a few general suggestions I would make for betting on the first touchdown market. First, don’t limit yourself to betting on just one player. With every player in this game at least +700, you can bet on up to seven players and still make a profit if one of your picks scores, even if the shortest shot is the one that cashes. But, my other suggestion that goes hand-in-hand with that, is not to bet too big on these, especially if you are going to bet on several options. There are over 20 players who could legitimately be scorers on Sunday, so keep your bets reasonable.
Until the fall, happy first-touchdown betting! Let’s cash some tickets!