The countdown to Super Bowl LVII is finally over with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs set to go head-to-head in Arizona tonight.
As always in the build-up to the biggest night of the NFL season, there are Super Bowl player props galore — and I’m taking a closer look at the impact that Kansas City’s do-it-all running back Jerick McKinnon can have on the big stage as the Chiefs try to outsmart a ferocious Eagles defense.
For a Super Bowl deep dive, remember to check out our Super Bowl predictions.
Jerick McKinnon Super Bowl 57 prop pick and same-game parlay
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Jerick McKinnon Super Bowl 57 best bet
With all the (justifiable) Isiah Pacheco buzz, it’s easy to forget that Jerick McKinnon was a huge backfield sparkplug for the Kansas City Chiefs down the stretch of the regular season. He scored nine touchdowns in the final six games, with eight of those TDs coming in the passing game as he and Patrick Mahomes showed off impressive chemistry.
Since then, McKinnon has taken a back seat in this Kansas City offense. So far in the postseason, he’s done little in the ground game (15 carries for a mere 26 yards) and has caught just two passes. He was largely a non-factor against the Bengals even after JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney limped off and the Chiefs were crying out for first downs.
Despite all that, I’m not ready to write off the Overs on McKinnon props. After all, this is the Super Bowl — and with a rookie backfield mate and a dangerous Philadelphia defensive line, I expect Kansas City to count on the steadiness of McKinnon, a nine-year veteran, to make life simpler for Mahomes.
Though Pacheco out-snapped McKinnon 39-27 in the AFC Championship Game, this Eagles pass rush is on another level and that snap count could well even out on Sunday. McKinnon is a trusted blocker on passing plays, picking up blitzes and understanding coverages. With Mahomes’ mobility still likely to be impacted by his high ankle sprain (he acknowledges that he’s not 100%), that extra layer of protection should make McKinnon even more valuable.
When he’s not handling pass protection duties, McKinnon is a versatile weapon and a sure-handed receiver — and I like these NFL odds for him to reach 25 receiving yards. Travis Kelce is sure to draw a crowd as Mahomes’ top target, but McKinnon can be a key outlet valve on check-downs or screen passes if the Philadelphia front seven is consistently disrupting the pocket.
Despite two quiet weeks, McKinnon is still the same player who caught nine passes for 112 yards and two scores against the Broncos in December — and eight passes for 70 yards and a touchdown the week after against the Texans. In fact, McKinnon reached 25 receiving yards in 10 games during the regular season.
With the Super Bowl on the line, there’s every chance that the Chiefs will look McKinnon’s way more often tonight at State Farm Stadium.
Prop: 25+ receiving yards (+130 at bet365)
Jerick McKinnon Super Bowl 57 SGP
Now let’s take that receiving prop and build something bigger. I love this parlay for McKinnon, tapping into his ability to leak out for quick check-downs and his nose for the end zone. Again, he had eight receiving touchdowns in the second half of the season — the man knows how to get open.
Kelce is always going to be the first read for Mahomes in the red zone, but McKinnon might be the sneaky second option on passing downs if Smith-Schuster and Toney — both expected to play despite the injuries they picked up against the Bengals — struggle to get separation near the goal-line. He’s probably also jumped further up the pecking order since Mecole Hardman was ruled out with a hip injury.
In terms of yards and receptions, as I mentioned above, McKinnon is no stranger to reaching the 25-yard mark as a pass-catcher. He had two catches on four targets against the Bengals, and he had two or more receptions in all but two of his 17 regular-season outings.
McKinnon’s versatility and his ability to diagnose defenses are going to be huge assets for the Chiefs on Sunday as Mahomes tries to navigate the threat of Haason Reddick, Brandon Graham and the rest of the talented Eagles defensive line.
Though I don’t anticipate McKinnon having a big part to play as a rusher given the impact Pacheco has had, he can do a bit of everything — in the mould of James White on those cool-headed Patriots teams. Mahomes may not be able to scramble away from trouble with his usual ease, and that’s where McKinnon (and Pacheco) can bail him out.
Maybe, just maybe, during this playoff run, Reid and Eric Bieniemy have been keeping a few plays up their sleeve for McKinnon, who is flying under the radar in the shadow of Pacheco’s dynamic performances. Every Super Bowl has its unlikely (or at least somewhat surprising) hero — why not McKinnon this evening at Super Bowl LVII?
Same-game parlay: +350 at bet365