Super Bowl LVIII betting roundtable: Which touchdown props should you bet on?

ByESPN Betting ESPN logo
Thursday, February 8, 2024

What are the best touchdown prop bets to make before you watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII?

NFL betting experts Eric Moody, Tyler Fulghum, Daniel Dopp, Kevin Pulsifer, Seth Walder and Aaron Schatz explain the ones they like most, and Mackenzie Kraemer provides his top touchdown betting nuggets.

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What is your favorite TD prop?

Fulghum: Deebo Samuel Anytime TD (+160). Going up against an elite defense like Kansas City has shown all season long, I believe Kyle Shanahan is going to lean on his best playmakers most often in this game. I expect a lot of touches for both Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel. Since McCaffrey is priced at such a premium to score, I'll take the much better ROI on Samuel getting into the end zone. Another I like is Chiefs D/ST Anytime Touchdown (+4000). We've seen Brock Purdy be loose with the football and the Chiefs have a very good defense. Nick Bolton scored in the big game last year.

Schatz: George Kittle Anytime TD (+180). Similar analysis here, that McCaffrey is priced at a premium and other 49ers give a better return on investment. I know Kittle only has six touchdowns in 2023, but he had 11 in 2022 so it's clear the 49ers aren't afraid to go to him in the end zone. I also think the Chiefs safeties and linebackers are not as good in coverage as the cornerbacks, which should leave things open for Kittle and give you a good chance of a score.

Pulsifer: Brandon Aiyuk No TD (-190). I realize the juice is heavy here, but this is one of the worst possible setups for Aiyuk.L'Jarius Sneedwas elite against top wide receivers this season and certainly won't be following Samuel around. The Chiefs only allowed 14 touchdowns to wide receivers all year, and Aiyuk's touchdowns this season came against Detroit, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh -- largely secondaries we were attacking all season long. He had nine red zone targets this season, good for 69th in the NFL, behind Donald Parham Jr., Robert Woods, K.J. Osborn and eight fewer than Samuel (despite Samuel's +160 TD odds to Aiyuk's +150).

Dopp: Travis Kelce Anytime TD (EVEN). I just can't quit Kelce in the playoffs and there's one main reason why: Mahomes is looking for him way more now than he did all season. Over the past three playoff games, Kelce has target shares of 29.4%, 28.6% and 30.6%, and for what it's worth, Kelce's average target share this season was 23.7%. With all of the increased playoff usage and the fact that he's got three touchdowns over the past two games means that I'm all in on Kelce finding the painted area again Sunday.

Moody: Brock Purdy Anytime TD (+600). I was intrigued by this prop at these odds. With 11 rushing attempts in two postseason games, Purdy has been more inclined to run. In the regular season, the 49ers tied for the league lead with 27 rushing touchdowns, adding five more in the postseason. I could see Purdy tucking the football in and running in the red zone if no one is open instead of forcing it considering how well the Chiefs defensive backs are playing.

Walder: It's all just a feeling, so take this purely as that, but I can't help but think Brandon Aiyuk has big-game upside. Anytime or first touchdown, sure. But I keep gravitating to a long shot of Aiyuk to score 2+ touchdowns (+1100). I've been saying it for a few weeks but it remains true: I think Aiyuk is broadly underrated. His player tracking metrics are exceptional, with both an elite open score (84) and catch score (96). His box score stats are limited by the fact that has so much competition with San Francisco's other weapons and the 49ers were often winning and stopped needing to pass. The former, at least, is still true in the Super Bowl. But I can't shake that he's been elite this year (sixth-highest yards per route run season since 2007!!) so it doesn't seem that crazy that he could have an elite Super Bowl, too.

What is your favorite First TD prop?

Fulghum: Rashee Rice First TD (+1100). Of course this handicap boils down first and foremost to correctly predicting the first team to score. I think the experience advantage will benefit the Chiefs in the early parts of this game getting them in the end zone first. A lot of attention is going to be paid to Kelce after what he's shown so far this postseason. Rice could be the beneficiary of that when Kansas City gets down into the red zone.

Schatz: Christian McCaffrey First TD (+400). Obviously the odds on this aren't great, but I'm going with a couple of ideas here. First, the Chiefs really like to defer so they can try to do the double score to end the first half and start the second. So we'll take the 49ers to get the first drive. Second, the 49ers are going to want to establish their running game against the clear Chiefs weakness in run defense. That not only creates the possibility of a long McCaffrey touchdown, it also means the offense is likely to move down the field in smaller increments, thus getting ever closer to the goal line, thus making a rushing touchdown more likely.

Pulsifer: Isiah Pacheco First TD (+600). In 19 Mahomes/Chiefs games this season, here's the breakdown of first TD scorers: 15 passing, 4 rushing | 1 QB, 7 RB (4 receiving), 9 WR, 2 TE | 13 by Chiefs (including 11 of 13 wins), 6 by opponents (despite opponents getting the ball first more often, as Aaron mentioned).

Okay, I know that's a lot of data and probably an irrelevant sample size, but if I'm already betting on a Chiefs quick start and victory, it makes sense to stick with Kansas City for my first touchdown bet. A Chiefs running back cashed this prop five times this season, and I expect Pacheco to see the large majority of running back snaps in an offense that has struggled to find big plays this season. (Now prepare to tilt whenMecole Hardman Jr.takes an end-around for 40 yards at +5000 like Jameson Williams did last game vs the 49ers).

Dopp: Kelce First TD (+450). It's the eye test in these playoffs that keeps bringing me back to Kelce. A mainstay in the passing game and the preferred end zone target this season, although the Chiefs didn't have one guy dominate EZ targets this season, Kelce still had more looks in the end zone than anyone else on the Chiefs this season. He's also seen two of the three end zone targets this postseason as well, so give me Kelce to get in the end zone first as the Chiefs try and set the tone early.

Moody: Kelce First TD (+450). The Chiefs rely heavily on Mahomes and Kelce in red zone, and their chemistry is undeniable. Kelce has averaged 8.2 targets per game this season, including the playoffs. Over the last 20 years, nine wide receivers have scored the first touchdown of a Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, Kelce is the Chiefs' "No. 1 receiver." There have been 18 touchdowns scored by tight ends over that time frame, with Rob Gronkowski scoring five and Kelce scoring two. I also like Isiah Pacheco (+650) since running backs have scored the second most touchdowns in Super Bowls over the last 20 years, and he's great at accumulating yards after contact.

Top touchdown betting nuggets

  1. McCaffrey's touchdown prop is -230 after it was at least -300 in each of his previous six games. He has scored a touchdown in 15 of 18 games played this season, and he has scored a touchdown in all six playoff games he has played in.
  2. Samuel's touchdown prop of +160 is tied for his third-longest odds this season (longest since Week 12). Samuel has scored a touchdown in seven of ten games when his touchdown odds have been at least +130.
  3. A quarterback has scored the first touchdown in two of the past four Super Bowls, including Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers. Purdy's odds of +600 to score are his longest this postseason despite him going over his rushing yards props in both games.
  4. Kelce has scored a touchdown in eight of nine playoff games in the past three postseasons. He has scored in back-to-back games after not scoring in his previous seven games. His even-money odds to score are tied for his second-longest touchdown odds all season.
  5. Pacheco has scored a touchdown in seven straight games including all three playoff games. He has scored a touchdown in 12 of 17 games this season. Betting Pacheco touchdowns this season would have netted +5.62 units.

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