Super Bowl Props -- KC offensive line has to come up big

  • In Charles Jay
  • Sun, Feb 11th, 2024 2:25:25 pm
  • By Charles Jay - Exclusive to OSGA

If the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line does its job on Sunday, it should create holes for the run game and protection for Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LVIII.

Prop betting tips for Super Bowl LVIII

The offensive line has been an ongoing issue for the Kansas City Chiefs. If you recall the Super Bowl of three seasons ago, the Chiefs went into the game with a line that had to be shuffled around because of injuries, and the unit that had been envisioned at the outset of the campaign didn't even exist anymore.

Andy Reid knew that he had to restructure things, and the team has done that, to an extent. Money was spent to bring in guard Joe Thuney, for example, and he has proven to be a prudent investment. The problem, though, is that an injury to his pectoral muscle has renderted him inactive for this game.

Super Bowl PropsHow much of a problem is this? And what does it mean in terms of Kansas City making its offense roll? Here is a prop at BetOnline for Patrick Mahopmes' passing yards:

Patrick Mahomes -- Passing Yards

Over 261.5 Yards -114
Under 261.5 Yards -114

And what about moving by ground? Here are the Super Bowl prop numbers as they regard running back Isiah Pacheco:

Isiah Pacheco -- Rushing Yards

Over 68.5 Yards -130
Under 68.5 Yards +100

Thuney grades out as the ninth best guard overall by the analytics service, Pro Football Focus. But he is #1 in pass blocking, and that is obviously a key thing to be looking at. As far as the way he deals with the run, Thuney is well down the list. And in that category, there is not a whole lot of difference between him and Nick Algeretti, the five-year veteran who is replacing him. The Chiefs have confidence in Algeretti, who has started fourteen games for the team. And he got praise for the way he handled himself in the AFC title game at Baltimore, which Thuney had to sit out.

The other guard is Trey Smith, who, like Thuney, is Pro Bowl caliber. Smith grades out at #7 overall among guards with Pro Football Focus (PFF), and when you put him together with center Creed Humphrey, who is an All-Pro, Kansas City has an interior that should allow it to run some plays between the tackles.

The question is how much protection all this can offer Patrick Mahomes. It is generally acknowledged that the tackle spots are something that can be exploited. This part of the line had to be replaced, since KC had free agent losses. Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith are the bookends, and what they bring to the table might depend on what numbers you choose to believe.

If you are looking at what PFF has, you'd see that Taylor and Smith are 51st and 55th in pass blocking. But the tackles are 15th and 17th, respectively, in ESPN's ranking of "Pass Block Win Rate."

There is a lot of importance in the Chiefs' ability to give Mahomes some time. The 49ers would love to be able to achieve effective pressure with just four pass rushers. They have good ones, including Nick Bosa and Chase Young (this season's trade deadline acquisition from Washington) on the ouitside, against those KC tackles. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks does not employ blitzes as a part of what they do - the fact is, only two teams in the league this season who have blitzed with less frequency.

And guess which quarterback has the highest PFF grade against teams not blitzing since he came into the league?

Patrick Mahomes, that's who.

As for his ability to beat the pass rush - or rather, the ability of the Niners to rattle him - Mahomes is now perfectly comfortable covering shorter ground with his passes these days. People who don't follow this kind of thing too closely may be surprised to know that with regard to whose passes travel farther past the line of scrimmage, the answer is Brock Purdy, whose "Intended Air Yards" per attempt stands at 8.2, compared with 6.5 for Mahomes.

But what you may want to interpret from this is that Mahomes has been able to adapt to an atmosphere where he knows that without, say, Tyreek Hill (who's in Miami, of course) he needs to make things work in a different way, and therefore he does.

Our guess is that Mahomes won't tear up the San Francisco secondary, but he'll pass well enough that the Chiefs can dol some business on the ground. And Pacheco has been running with enough authority that he can make a difference in the game. So we'll go OVER with him.

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