Super Bowl 2024 player props: First touchdown scorer pick, prediction

Kyle Shanahan is a mastermind play-caller who is renowned for scripting his first 15 or so plays. 

The 49ers often start hot behind their head coach’s well-crafted, opponent-adjusted game plans.

In the regular season, they scored a touchdown on 10 of their 17 opening drives (58.8 percent), the most of any team and three more than the second-best squad (Ravens). 

Meanwhile, the Chiefs were slow starters this season, getting six points on just three of their 17 opening drives (17.6 percent) while punting eight times (47.1 percent). 

Therefore, I think there’s intriguing betting value in throwing some cash behind one of San Francisco’s dangerous gadget weapons to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl LVIII.

If the 49ers receive the opening kickoff, they could score very early behind Shanahan’s scripted plays, while the odds of Kansas City doing it are substantially worse. 

For me, the most dangerous weapon is Deebo Samuel. 

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sideline prior to the NFC Championship. Getty Images

He’s too explosive and versatile to be ignored.

He can line up anywhere in the formation, including as a running back, and is a game-breaker in Shanahan’s wide-zone, play-action scheme. 

Despite missing a few games during the regular season, Samuel garnered 18 red-zone targets this season — five more than George Kittle and nine more than Brandon Aiyuk — and nine red-zone carries.

Betting on the NFL?

He turned those opportunities into 12 touchdowns.

After returning from injury in Week 13, he scored eight times in five weeks. 

Even better, two of the aforementioned 10 opening-drive TDs went to Samuel. 

THE PLAY: Deebo Samuel to score first touchdown (+900, BetMGM). 

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