Super Bowl Anytime & First Touchdown Picks: Mike Evans The Betting Value
With a massive game total, we should expect plenty of touchdowns in this year’s Super Bowl. In fact, the current line of 6.5 total touchdowns is juiced to the over. Let’s look at some of the best bets to make in the touchdown market.
Chiefs Running Backs
The Buccaneers have a stout rush defense, and they gave up a league-low 10 rushing touchdowns this season before allowing two in the playoffs, one of which was a quarterback scramble by Washington’s Taylor Heinicke. I’ve written this week that I like the Chiefs to win, and one of my favorite props was Kansas City +6.5 team rushing yards because winning teams tend to add more rushing volume late in games while killing the clock. That helps explain why the Chiefs are -190 to have a rushing touchdown. And I’d suggest the most likely culprit is undervalued.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned for the Conference Championship but has now had two weeks to further rest his injured hip and ankle. Some believe that means we’ll see an expanded role from him, and I wouldn’t count it out. But one area of the field where Darrel Williams makes a lot more sense is in close. Williams is a bigger back at 225 pounds, while Edwards-Helaire is a 207-pounder who has struggled in the red zone this year. The Chiefs seem to agree — while both backs scored rushing touchdowns in the Conference Championship, Williams got three carries inside the 10-yard line to just one for Edwards-Helaire.
Edwards-Helaire runs a few more routes and is probably slightly more likely to catch a touchdown, but if you told me KC would score exactly one rushing touchdown, I’d put the likelihood it was Williams at about 50%, with Edwards-Helaire around 30% and Patrick Mahomes and other players combining for about 20%. Lucky for us, we get a better number on Williams.
Pick: Darrel Williams Anytime TD +210 - Click To Bet
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Longshot Anytime TD
The Bucs’ ancillary receiving weapons are a good place to look for longshot bets to score. Antonio Brown will likely play after getting in full practices this week, but he’s listed questionable and might not be 100%. Meanwhile, Cameron Brate is also banged up, and he was downgraded from a limited practice Thursday to a DNP Friday with a back injury.
Under regular circumstances, both Johnson and Scotty Miller tend to rotate in and each get at least a few routes, because Brown hasn’t always run a full slate of routes even when healthy. Miller has produced a lot more than Johnson over the course of the season mostly because he played larger snap shares before Tampa added Brown, and he also saw his role increase quite a bit with Brown out in the Conference Championship win over Green Bay. In that contest, Miller was again the more regular No. 3 WR, running 20 routes to Johnson’s 11. But over the prior two playoff games with Brown in the lineup, it was Johnson who led with 18 routes to Miller’s 10.
So Miller’s role tends to fluctuate more with Brown’s availability, while Johnson’s rotational role is fairly consistent. Both guys should be used a decent amount with Brown perhaps needing to rotate a bit more, plus Brate’s injury could mean a dip in two-TE sets that would keep three wide receivers on the field for a larger number of snaps. I have them on relatively level terms in expected routes, both running around 10.
But since Miller scored a long touchdown just before halftime in his expanded role in the Conference Championship, the best odds you can find him at are +400. Johnson can be had for +650, and he might be the better option anyway. Johnson has been used as more of a short-area player — on just 17 total targets over the regular season, he was thrown at four times inside the 10-yard line, catching two touchdowns. Miller amassed 53 targets in the regular season, but as more of a downfield weapon, was never targeted inside the 10. Neither has been targeted inside the 10 in the postseason, but Johnson probably has the better odds to run a route or two in close should that situation arise.
Pick: Tyler Johnson Anytime TD +650 - Click To Bet
First To Score
The last two times the Bucs won a coin toss, in Weeks 16 and 17, they elected to receive. Most NFL teams defer, but Tampa reportedly wanted to get their offense going early, and one would guess they’ll feel similar in this game against Kansas City. That’s the main reason the Bucs are heavy favorites to have the ball first and record some other key offensive firsts.
While I don’t love the Bucs in this game overall, it does make them an interesting side in the first to score market. In a game with a massive total, having the first crack to score — or two or the first three drives or however you want to look at it — is an interesting boost.
The best bets to score in this game are tough to play in the anytime TD market, including both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill at -160 apiece. Mike Evans is another example, but he’s a lot more palatable when looking at first to score. The best number we can get on Evans in the anytime market is +120, but he’s +1100 to be the first to score. Evans’ 13 regular season touchdowns led the Bucs by five, and he’s scored twice in the postseason. He led the team in end zone targets in end zone targets in the regular season and his biggest competition, Rob Gronkowski, has been used as a blocker more frequently in the playoffs.
Pick: Mike Evans First to Score +1100 (FOX Bet) - Click To Bet
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