Super Bowl referee Carl Cheffers has been good for under bettors
The conference championship round of the NFL playoffs had plenty of fans directing their anger at the refereeing. All in all, it wasn’t the best display. Kansas City’s third down was confusing to all, and some would say the officials missed an offensive catch on Patrick Mahomes’ final run.
This is all in the rearview mirror, but as we turn our attention to the Super Bowl, there will likely be additional attention given to Carl Cheffers. Cheffers was named a Super Bowl referee for the third time in seven years. Cheffers won’t have his usual full squad, as the league is going with an “all-star” team of officials for the Super Bowl, but there are certainly trends and history to watch based on Cheffers’ history. How do you turn that into actionable information?
Under betting was a good bet under Cheffers
Carl Cheffers has refereed 12 playoff games since 2010. In those 12 games, under bets hit in eleven of them. The only Cheffers officiated playoff game that went over the total was Super Bowl LI, where the New England Patriots erased a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.
Cheffers officiated the playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this season. The Bengals won that game 27-10, with the final score well below the closing total of 49 points. Overall, under betting in Cheffers officiated playoff games averaged nearly 13 runs.
One of the biggest reasons the subs consistently cash in games officiated by Cheffers could be the barrage of penalties he calls. Cheffers and his team have led the NFL in penalties called for each of the past two seasons.
Last season, Cheffers averaged 12.6 penalties per game, resulting in 109.9 penalty yards. The NFL average last season was 11.1 penalties for 91.4 yards. Last season, Cheffers called 13.9 penalties per game for 124.1 yards. The league average was 11.7 penalties for 100.9 yards.
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The Super Bowl total is currently set at 50.5 points.
Chiefs fans are not Cheffers fans
In every sport, fans of every team believe that there is a certain referee who has a personal vendetta against his team. For Chiefs fans, that official is Carl Cheffers. Of course, Cheffers will be officiating their Super Bowl team in just over a week, and their fans don’t like the idea.
We are in the fifth year of the Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid era in Kansas City. Meanwhile, Kansas City is averaging just 6.3 penalties per game, or 57 yards. Cheffers refereed ten Chiefs games during that time. In those games, the Chiefs are penalized an average of 8.3 times for 76 yards. Last season, Kansas City was one of the most disciplined teams in the league, averaging just 4.9 penalties for 48.5 yards. However, in the two games umpired by Cheffers, Kansas City was penalized an average of 7.5 times for 87 yards.
This won’t be the first time Cheffers has presided over a Super Bowl featuring the Chiefs. He was the head official in Kansas City’s loss to Tampa Bay two seasons ago. In that game, Kansas City was penalized 11 times for 120 yards while Tampa Bay had just four penalties for 39 yards. It’s one of the most lopsided penalty counts in Super Bowl history. The eight penalties and 95 yards applied against the Chiefs in the first half were both NFL records for a Super Bowl. Those penalties resulted in six first downs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers per penalty, which was also an NFL record.
Kansas City’s history with Cheffers goes back quite some time. In a 2016 divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh, Cheffers called a holding penalty on a potential two-point conversion attempt. After the game, current Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce remarked to Cheffers: “The ref should never be able to wear a striped jersey again. He shouldn’t be able to wear it at Foot Locker anymore.”
All may not be bad news for Kansas City. As of 2019, the underdogs are 42-24-2 ATS in games officiated by Cheffers. Kansas City is currently a 1.5 point underdog in the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs and NFL official Carl Cheffers disagree. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)