NFL Referee Assignments Super Bowl LVII & Their Impact on NFL Betting

We tend to only focus on NFL referees after a controversial decision or bad no-call. Yet each head NFL referee and his respective crew interprets the game differently.

Gaining insight into the way a game will be officiated can have immense value in the betting market.

A referee who calls more penalties for defensive holding and roughing the passer has a far different impact on game flow than a ref who focuses more on offensive holding and false starts.

Referee style one week may hide a team’s weakness (defensive backs) whereas the following week, a different official who leans heavily on calling pass interference will compound that weakness. Same team. Different outcomes.

Throughout this 2022 NFL season, we’ll help to identify important trends and tendencies by different NFL referees to help you gain an edge when placing a bet.

Read more about Super Bowl LVII and how officiating may impact the betting market:

NFL Referee Assignments for the Super Bowl

SBLVIIReferee
Chiefs vs EaglesCarl Cheffers
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Carl Cheffers’s Impact on Eagles vs Chiefs, Super Bowl LVII

Carl Cheffers is the head referee for the Chiefs vs Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Let’s break down how Cheffers may impact this game and betting markets.

How does Carl Cheffers Impact this Game?

Super Bowl LVII provides a plethora of storylines in the lead-up to the big game. The Kelce Bowl, The Andy Reid Bowl. It also marks the third Super Bowl for Carl Cheffers and his second in a three-year span. Cheffers officiated the Chiefs’ last appearance in this game, SBLV in 2021 vs the Buccaneers. Kansas City was penalized 11 times for 120 yards that night, compared to four penalties for 39 yards on the Buccaneers. It remains one of the most lopsided penalty counts in Super Bowl history.

As with all playoff games, Super Bowl LVII combines officials from various crews to create what the NFL calls an All-Star crew. Cheffers will have his regular side judge for the game. The additions will be from the Alex Kemp, Clay Martin, and Shawn Smith officiating crews.

Overall Penalties/Offensive Holding/False Start

  • Carl Cheffers led the NFL in penalties per game in 2021 and again this season, averaging 12.59 per game for 109 yards in 2022. In his two previous Super Bowl appearances, Cheffers is averaging 14 penalties per game for 123 yards. The penalty average for Super Bowls this century stands at 11.9 per game for 92 yards
  • In the Patrick Mahomes-Andy Reid era, the Chiefs’ five-year average is 6.3 penalties per game for 57 yards. In 10 games officiated by Carl Cheffers during that time, the Chiefs’ average has increased to 8.3 penalties per game for 77.5 yards.
  • In the 2022 NFL season, the Chiefs averaged 4.9 penalties per game for 48.5 yards. In the two games officiated by Carl Cheffers this season, that average rose to 7.5 penalties for 87 yards. 
  • The Eagles average 5.2 penalties per game. They are one the most penalized teams for false starts. However, in NFL postseasons there seems to be leeway for offensive linemen to get an early start without it being penalized. This was on full display in the NFC Championship last Sunday when Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson repeatedly moved early without a flag being thrown. Carl Cheffers officiated the Rams vs 49ers NFC Championship game in 2022 and the Rams’ offensive line also moved early on multiple plays without it being called. This could be a huge break for the Eagles if it’s allowed to continue in SBLVII.
  • Offensive holding is a major area of concern for the Chiefs. They are ranked fifth in the NFL based on a per-game average. Carl Cheffers is also ranked fifth overall in this category. The Chiefs’ five-year average is 1.34 offensive holding penalties per game. In games with Carl Cheffers officiating that average doubles to 2.7 per game.

Defensive Pass Interference/Roughing the Passer/Unnecessary Roughness

  • The Chiefs rank as the number one penalized team in the NFL for defensive pass interference. Conversely, the Eagles this season were ranked 31st out of 32 teams in this category. This is a big discrepancy that favors the Eagles in arguably the most impactful penalty category.
  • The Eagles were among the most effective teams this season at drawing defensive pass interference penalties. Ten times this season the Eagles were able to draw a pass interference penalty. Those penalties averaged a 15,3-yard gain for the offense.
  • Carl Cheffers ranked fourth overall for defensive pass interference penalties. The side judge for SBLVII is also from the Cheffers crew. The back judge is from Shawn Smith’s crew. Smith’s crew has consistently been average to above average calling defensive pass interference the past four seasons. Conventional wisdom is the referees lean towards “letting them play” in these big games and that generally is the way we like to approach handicapping the officiating. However, based on his two Super Bowl assignments to date, that hasn’t been the approach with Carl Cheffers. He has called five defensive pass interference penalties in those two games. That amounts to more than twice the rate of an average NFL game.
  • The combination of the Chiefs’ penalty woes in the secondary versus an Eagles team that has above-average ability to draw defensive penalties will be problematic for Kansas City on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • The Eagles ranked fifth overall for unnecessary roughness in the NFL. Carl Cheffers led the NFL in this category in 2021 and ranked fourth in 2022. The Eagles don’t have a lot of penalty flaws, but this would be one of them.
  • Since the start of the 2018 NFL season to date, the Chiefs have played exactly 100 games. They have committed 17 roughing the passer penalties in those games. Carl Cheffers has called five of those penalties. That amounts to 30% of their penalties being assessed by a referee who officiated 10% of their games in that same timeframe. One of the controversial penalties called in 2022 was the roughing the passer penalty on Chiefs DT Chris Jones against the Raiders in Week 5 on Monday Night Football. Carl Cheffers was the referee that night.
  • The Eagles are among the least penalized teams for roughing the passer. They were penalized just once in the 2022 season

The Bottom Line:

  • The current Eagles squad has no significant history with Carl Cheffers. Just once in the past three seasons has he officiated a game involving Philadelphia. That was recent, a 22-16 Week 18 win vs the Giants.
  • Despite the penalty imbalance, the Chiefs have been successful with Cheffers as the referee. Kansas City is 8-2 in their past 10 games with him officiating. The Chiefs were favored in all 10 contests by an average of -7.5 points per game and were just 3-7 ATS. That win rate is a testament to how great Patrick Mahomes is. The Chiefs’ hopes ride largely on his shoulders and ankle in SBLVII.
  • In his 11 playoff games, favorites are 7-4 with Carl Cheffers. Two of the four favorites to lose were the Kansas City Chiefs. Once at home in the 2017 Divisional Round and in the aforementioned SBLV loss to the Buccaneers as 3-point favorites.
  • Cheffers is 10-1 to the Under in those 11 playoff games. A number of those games were impacted by less-than-ideal weather conditions. The only over of the 11 games was in SBLI, the Patriots’ 34-28 OT win vs Falcons in the dome at Houston.

The leadup to SBLVII shares some themes similar to the Chiefs’ last Super Bowl appearance. They have some injury issues, although they aren’t as impactful on the offensive line as they were in 2021. They’re facing a physical team in the Eagles that has superior talent on the offensive and defensive lines. The referee is the same. 

We’ve dissected the penalty profile for the game. There is a decided edge for the Eagles in this matchup. The offensive holding and defensive pass interference penalty discrepancies loom large in SBLVII. Whether Cheffers follows his previous Super Bowl appearances by calling above average penalties or switches to a “let ‘em play” style, both theoretically favor the Eagles. A game with zero penalties favors the more physical football team. That is Philadelphia. If Cheffers and crew decide to emphasize pass interference and offensive holding, it also favors the Bird Gang.

Philadelphia has been a regular focus in these articles throughout the season. They’ve been the best team. That said, the Chiefs have the best player on the field and despite some issues with Cheffers, they still find ways to win games. In the final game of the season, to quote a line from the band The Eagles, we’ll take it to the limit one more time. The Philadelphia Eagles are the play and the winner of SBLVII. The Philadelphia Eagles are the play and the winner of Super Bowl LVII.

» Bet the Eagles vs Chiefs Now

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2022 NFL Referees Stats & Their Historical Betting Trends

Comprehensive breakdown for every NFL Referee working games for the 2022 season, plus a deeper look at their penalty-calling trends, statistics and how it may impact betting opportunity plus pace of game play.

Shawn Hochuli: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats

In his 63-game career, Shawn Hochuli is a notoriously smart bet when betting on the Under.

  • 35-26-2 to UNDER (57%) for his career
  • 11-6 UNDER record (65%) in the 2021 NFL season
  • 17-6-1 UNDER (74%) in divisional match-ups for his career
  • 5-2 UNDER (73%) in divisional match-ups in 2021

Some might argue that Hochuli likes to be the center of attention at times, as was evident when Hochuli officiated the 2021 Thanksgiving debacle (Raiders vs Cowboys) with a combined 28 penalties for 276 yards.

  • Hochuli oversaw the controversial 2021 Week 15 Seahawks vs Rams with the “no pass interference” call that effectively doomed Seattle in a 20-10 loss.
  • Hochuli called 3rd most penalties (13.12) per game in 2021 for 118 yards per game.
  • Hochuli called the most defensive pass interference calls in 2021, a stat that is skewed by the Dallas vs Las Vegas game where he called that infringement 5 times.

Bill Vinovich: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats

Bill Vinovich is the epitome of a “let ’em play” NFL referee. This means that Vinovich’s officiating crews typically don’t favor team offenses — and therefore you may find opportunity when betting the Under.

Last season in 2021, Vinovich and his crew called the fewest penalties per NFL game:

  • average of 9.06 penalties per game
  • average of 75 yards penalized per game
  • called the fewest (zero!) roughing the passer penalties in 2021
  • fewest defensive holding penalties per game
  • the 2nd fewest pass interference penalties

Over the past six seasons, Vinovich’s lack of penalty calling has resulted in a:

  • 61-36-2 UNDER record (63%) for his career
  • 25-14-2 UNDER (65%) in Divisional match-ups for his career
  • 10-6 UNDER (63%) in the 2021 NFL season

Vinovich has been the head referee in the Super Bowl twice: in Super Bowl LIV (Chiefs vs 49ers) & Super Bowl XLIX (Seahawks vs Patriots).

A final point supporting Vinovich’s “let ’em play” philosophy: Every NFL bettor & fan remembers the Rams vs. Saints 2019 NFC Championship game:

Known in New Orleans as the “NOLA NO-CALL” when Saints WR Tommy Lee Lewis was tackled by Rams CB Nickell Robey Coleman at the 13-yard line but no flag was thrown.

It probably cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl and highlights again why it’s not just the penalties called we focus on, but which NFL referee is LESS likely to make that big call — which is equally as impactful in many cases.

John Hussey: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats

John Hussey has been the best referee for home teams since the start of the 2016 season.

Hussey’s officiating trends towards a “let ‘em play” style:

  • Hussey called the 3rd fewest penalties per game in 2021
  • Hussey called near the fewest in NFL in key penalty categories: unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer & defensive holding
  • Hussey led the NFL in 2021 in calling the newly implemented “unsportsmanlike conduct” penalty

Over the past 6 seasons, when Hussey is the referee, home teams have been heavy favorites, going:

  • 64-33 (66%) against the Moneyline
  • 29-11 (73%) against the Moneyline in Divisional match-ups
  • 55-39-3 (59%) against-the-spread (ATS)
  • 28-10-2  (74%) ATS in Divisional match-ups
  • 11-5 ML & ATS in the 2021 NFL season

Brad Allen: Referee Penalty Trends & Betting Stats

Brad Allen is a former ACC referee who is unique in that he transitioned immediately from college football directly to a head NFL referee.

His style gravitates to “let ’em play” although he had one outlier season where he led NFL in penalties.

Brad Allen has been a solid “home field advantage” referee. Since 2016, home favorites have gone:

  •  57-38 (60%) against the Moneyline
  • 53-40-2 (57%) ATS

Home underdogs are 20-11-1 ATS (65%) since 2016 when Brad Allen has been the referee.

Need more evidence that Allen favors the home team and lets both teams play?

  • He called only 44% of penalties on home teams in 2021
  • 54-41 Under (57%) in past six seasons
  • 23-12 Under (66%) in divisional games

Jerome Boger: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting

Boger’s officiating style can be considered offense friendly. His approach creates the opportunity for offenses to excel with his combination of very few offensive holding penalties with an above average count in defensive pass interference & defensive holding penalties. As a result Boger has been a solid Over referee in his career.

  • 53-41 over (56%) since 2016
  • 21-12 over (64%) in Division match-ups since 2016
  • 19-12 over (62%) in 2020/2021 NFL seasons
  • Called fewest offensive holding penalties in 2021 & 3rd fewest in 2020
  • Boger ranks in the mid tier range in calling defensive pass interference & his crew always provides the possibility of a penalty to extend drives.

Jerome Boger was the referee for SB XLVII, a Ravens 34-31 victory vs 49ers. More recently he officiated the 2021 Wild Card matchup Raiders at Bengals which was marred by bad calls including the errant whistle blown on the Joe Burrow TD pass to Tyler Boyd in the Bengals 26-19 win.

Adrian Hill: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting

Adrian Hill has been a head referee since 2019. Small body of work (47 games) but definitely trending under.

Very even keeled, his home/away splits are similar and Hill is generally around the average mark in most key penalty categories. Hill is what the NFL would probably prefer: a solid ref that to date who hasn’t been involved in controversial calls.

  • 30-16-1 Under (66%) in his 47 game career
  • 9-4-1 Under (66%) in Division match-ups

Brad Rogers: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting

Rogers is another new referee but his brief career has resulted in an astounding totals record. Since his debut in 2019 Brad Rogers has gone over the total in 70% of games.

Rogers went 11-1 Over in 2020 but even deducting that season from his overall stats he still has a solid over ratio (62%).

A lot of Rogers penalty metrics don’t necessarily justify games going Over at this rate. It’s a small sample size (43 games) and doesn’t seem sustainable, but is still is somewhat irrelevant. The stats are what they are to this point.

  • 30-13 Over (70%) in 43 career games
  • 13-3 Over (82%) in Division match-ups
  • 11-1 Over in 2020 NFL season
  • 10-6 Over (63%) in 2021 NFL season & 4-1 Over (80%) in Division games in 2021

Ron Torbert: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting

Torbert is a solid referee who officiated the Rams 23-20 victory in SB LVI. Torbert was criticized for calls that assisted the LA Rams in their game winning TD drive in SB LVI.

In the brief Sean McVay era in Los Angeles, Torbert is the referee they have played the most games with and also have the best winning percentage with. The Rams are 7-1 with Ron Torbert in 8 games.

More a “let em play” type referee, Torbert has also morphed into a very good Under referee the past two seasons.

  • Since 2016 home teams with Torbert are 56-42 SU (58%) however just 38-59-1 ATS (39%)
  • Home underdogs with Torbert since 2016 are just 10-25 ATS (29%) including a 3-5 record in the 2021 NFL season
  • In the 2020/2021 NFL seasons games officiated with Ron Torbert are 25-10 Under (71%)
  • Torbert called the 2nd fewest penalties in 2021

Shawn Smith: Referee Penalty Trends & How it may impact betting

Shawn Smith is another new referee with only 4 seasons in the NFL. Smith is solid and not intimidated by home crowds as evidenced by his ATS numbers.

Smith’s officiating style also gives the offense a chance to make plays and perhaps get assistance via a pass interference call to extend drives. This has resulted in a solid Over record.

Smith, like other newer refs, only has a small sample size of available data. However, we can only go on numbers and the numbers don’t lie:

  • Home teams 26-36-2 ATS (41%)
  • In Division match-ups home teams are 7-17 ATS (28%)
  • 35-28-1 Over (56%) in 4 years as head referee
  • 19-13-1 Over (60%) in 2020/2021 NFL seasons
  • Smith tied for fewest offensive holding penalties in 2021
  • Smith called 4th fewest offensive holding penalties in 2020
  • In the 2020/2021 Shawn Smith called the 4th & 5th most defensive pass interference penalties

Carl Cheffers: Referee Penalty Trends & how it may impact betting

Carl Cheffers a veteran referee who calls a lot of penalties. Cheffers consistently ranks in the top 5 per season for penalties.

A Cheffers officiated game will exceed NFL average in penalties more often than not. The takeaway from his long term trends are that when the dust has settled the home team wins well above the NFL average.

  • Cheffers consistently ranks in the top 5 every season for overall penalties
  • Led NFL in 2021 with 14 penalties per game for 124 yds per game
  • Home teams 58-39-1 SU (60%) since 2016
  • Home teams 48-49-1 ATS since 2016
  • 3rd most offensive holding penalties in 2021
  • Most unnecessary roughness penalties in 2021
  • 2nd most defensive pass interference penalties in 2021
  • Led the NFL in calling offensive pass interference in 2021

Clay Martin: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting

Martin another newer referee with a 4 season sample size (58 games). Limited sample size to this point but based on Clay Martin’s career stats he’s not swayed by home crowds.

  • Martin above average calling defensive pass interference & defensive holding in 2021
  • Below NFL average calling unnecessary roughness & roughing the passer penalties in 2021
  • Home teams are 29-29 SU in Clay Martin’s 58 game career
  • Home teams are 23-34-1 ATS (40%)

Scott Novak: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting

The jury remains out on Novak. In his first two seasons as a head referee Novak was the epitome of a “let em play” referee. He called the fewest penalties per game in his debut 2019 season and the 5th fewest in 2020.

That changed in 2021 when Novak’s penalties increased significantly to #3 overall in the NFL.

A number of games officiated by Novak in 2021 were abysmal. Sloppy officiating and simply over officiating. Way too many ticky-tack penalties.

Our guess? Novak will reverts back to a “let ‘em play” style in 2022 but only time will tell.

Home teams have struggled with Novak officiating in his brief 47 game career

  • Novak led the NFL in false start penalties in 2021
  • Noval 3rd most offensive holding calls in 2021
  • Tied for 2nd most offsides penalties & had 2nd most unnecessary roughness calls in 2021
  • Fifth most roughing the passer penalties in 2021
  • Totals with Novak in his 47 game career are 23-23-1
  • Home teams are 18-28-1 SU (39%) with Scott Novak
  • Home teams 17-28-2 (37%) with Novak

Clete Blakeman: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting

Clete Blakeman is a veteran ref who calls it down the middle. Need proof? Since 2016 home teams with Blakeman officiating are exactly .500.

That said, Blakeman’s crew has had its share of bad calls that generated a lot of criticism, notably the “no-call” on a clear defensive pass interference from Carolina vs New England in a MNF showdown in 2013 as time expired.

Another MNF debacle with Blakeman was Week 6, 2019 where his crew made questionable calls late that greatly benefited Green Bay in a dramatic 23-22 Packers win over the Lions.

  • Home teams 49-49 SU with Blakeman the past 6 seasons
  • Totals are 48-50 since 2016 with Blakeman
  • Blakeman had the most offensive holding calls in 2021 NFL season
  • Blakeman was in upper tier of NFL calling roughing the passer & unnecessary roughness penalties in 2021
  • Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-10 SU & 4-9-1 ATS in past decade with Blakeman officiating, including 0-2 in 2021

Craig Wrolstad: Referee Penalty Trends & how they may impact betting

Craig Wrolstad from a straight-up and totals standpoint is almost a .500 referee.

Where Wrolstad stands out is the home team ATS and the poor record they have when he officiates. And of the veteran refs, only Ron Torbert has a worse home dog ATS record than Craig Wrolstad.

Wrolstad has traditionally trended in the lower half of overall penalties. He was #2 in roughing the passer penalties in 2021 but that was an aberration from his normal stats.

  • Home teams 46-47 SU since 2016
  • Home teams 35-58 ATS (40%) with Wrolstad since 2016
  • Home underdogs are 13-29 (31%) since 2016
  • Wrolstad generally in the lower half of overall penalties per game in NFL
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