Super Bowl XLVI Prop Bet
Total Kickoff Returns
Recommendation: Under 6.5 (-160 at LVH)
New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes doesn’t have the strongest leg in the NFL. In 2010 the Giants averaged a touchback on just 8.2% of all kickoffs. It certainly doesn’t help that the Giants also play many games in poor weather and in plenty of outdoor stadiums. But this history actually helps us this Sunday with Tynes now indoors and kicking off from the 35-yard line.
Consider this; since the new rule was adopted prior to the season the Giants have averaged a touchback on 38.4% of all kickoffs. That’s a significant improvement and shows Tynes has the leg to get it deep with that extra five yard boost from the rulebook. But that’s not the most significant factor in play this weekend. In the three games the Giants played indoors they averaged a touchback on a whopping 60% of all kickoffs!
If there was one player we needed to really worry about with this prop it was Tynes and I think the numbers bear out that he should be no issue at all.
New England kicker Gostkowski has a much stronger leg and while we don’t have the indoor data to verify (the Pats played no indoor games) I would hypothesize similar type of improvements from him as well. He also tends to play in some lousy conditions but even so has ranked solidly in the touchback department the past couple of years (some of the overall data will be skewed by Shane Graham’s kickoffs after Gostkowski went down with injury last season). Last week the Pats’ leg man sent five of his six kickoffs for touchbacks against the Ravens. He has more than enough leg to kick in these perfect conditions in Indy.
I believe it’s reasonable to project between 60% and 65% of the kickoffs going for touchbacks this week. Couple that with my thought process on this game being slightly lower scoring than the market number (and projecting fewer possessions/kickoffs as such) I think there is a wealth of value on the UNDER total kickoff returns.