The biggest annual event in all of sports – the Super Bowl – and the weeklong sideshow that comes with it will be in Miami this year.
For the first time in fifty years, the Kansas City Chiefs will play in the NFL title decider after defeating the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans.
They have gone one step further after losing the AFC Championship last season in heartbreaking fashion on the back of a couple of magical performances from superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
From the NFC, San Francisco is back once again after last playing in Super Bowl 47 going down to the Baltimore Ravens as Kyle Shannahan’s side looks to capture the franchise’s sixth title.
They are the definition of a complete team and have shown the ability to win multiple different ways throughout the team’s best season in years.
It’s all gearing up to be a classic contest in Miami on Monday morning and we’ve got the Super Bowl Tips and Preview for the big markets right here!
Alright, let’s get the big one out of the way first, I’m backing the 49ers to win the Super Bowl. While Jimmy Garoppolo is a fraction of the quarterback Mahomes is, the entire 49ers team, top to bottom is the better, more consistent outfit. Throughout the season we’ve seen the 49ers win games several different ways and run with the best teams in the league. Whether they need to score 48 points in a dome-like they did against the Saints or pitch a shutout in shocking conditions like they did against Washington, they have won at home and on the road.
Kansas City will try and turn this game into a track meet, using their Usain Bolt-like speed to try and just run by the 49ers. While Mahomes missed a few games during the season, their offence kept rolling and that unit has looked as dangerous as ever in the playoffs. That doesn’t mean they are invincible by any stretch of the imagination, disciplined performance from the 49ers defence should be able to limit their big-play production and they have plenty of playmakers on hand themselves.
Up front, Nick Bosa will be the player to watch as he needs to make his pressures count. If he can’t reach Mahomes for a sack, he at least needs to force incompletions or bad throws by getting close to him and if Bosa is able to get a hand on the Chiefs quarterback, he has to bring him down. On the back end, it will require the most disciplined performance of the 49ers secondary’s collective careers keeping a close eye on the Chiefs plethora of weapons. With Richard Sherman leading this group they will be doing everything they can to keep a lid on the Chiefs big plays and he will have to ensure his teammates are in the right position. It’s impossible to shut down the Chiefs for four quarters but the 49ers have to find a way to keep their offensive surges as short as possible.
On the offensive side, we have two of the most creative coaches in the entire NFL running these teams. I have no doubt that Andy Reid and Kyle Shannahan will have spent the entire two weeks build up putting in some creative wrinkles to keep their opponents off-balance. A slow start is a very likely outcome as both teams get their heads around the unique occasion of the Super Bowl but I’m going to give the edge to San Francisco as the slightly more complete all-around team with the better defence.
54 points is a ridiculously high line for the Super Bowl, even with the scoring power on both teams. If it holds at its current number, it is going to be the sixth-highest total in Super Bowl history. Of course, last year everyone was happy to pound the over of 56 and we were treated to a 13-3 defensive battle. While 16 points is unlikely to happen here, don’t be surprised if the occasion gets to these teams just a little bit and the offences don’t execute at the level we’re used to. Of the 11 Super Bowls to have a total of 50 or higher, we’ve had just four games reach the points total and since the year 2000, the only Super Bowl to go over of the six games with a high total was the Patriots-Falcons which needed overtime to reach over 57 points.
How you approach this one will depend on what sort of game you’re expecting to unfold. If the 49ers win the under is the play since they will win by holding Kansas City in the low 20’s at most. The thing is though if Kansas City gets rolling they could very easily put up 40 points themselves, as we’ve seen in their two playoff games which then brings the over into play since the 49ers could conceivably score 20 in a losing effort. In the interests of consistency, I’ll back the 49ers defence to slow them down enough to keep the scoring in check.
It’s the Super Bowl, you are probably going to have quite a few touchdown scorer bets, it makes sense given the scoring potential on both teams, but we’re going to narrow it down to the first one to put on your bet slip. There’s a couple of obvious options on both sides, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams on the Chiefs plus Raheem Mostert and George Kittle on the 49ers are the market leaders but probably a bit too short to jump straight on. It’s the next tier of options where the value lies, there’s plenty of play-calling creativity in both coaches so don’t be surprised if a secondary option winds up catching a touchdown pass.
We’ve gone a bit heavy on the 49ers to this point so we’ll look for a play on the Chiefs side in this market, mostly just for some insurance. Patrick Mahomes had an impressive touchdown run against the Titans but the 49ers are one of the best tackling teams in the league, he won’t break free if he runs in the red zone. After a huge performance in the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs may look for a deep shot to Sammy Watkins or Mecole Hardman at some point, the 49ers can give up a play or two over the top during a game and will be focused on containing Hill and Kelce. Because of that, I’ll take the slightly higher value on offer for Hardman as he scores his first offensive touchdown since Week 14 in New England.
Usually, the winning quarterback is the Winx-like certainty to take out MVP honours because… well, they’re the quarterback. If the Chiefs are going to win, it will almost certainly be Patrick Mahomes taking out the Pete Rozelle Trophy. Anything good that happens on offence for the Chiefs will be credited to Mahomes and in all honesty, the NFL will probably want to avoid the PR of having Tyreek Hill front and centre postgame considering his off-field controversies. Even if Hill catches 12 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns, all of the credit will go to Mahomes for creating those plays.
On the 49ers side of the ball, it’s a much more wide-open field. Jimmy Garoppolo is at $3.75 which is very long odds for a starting quarterback when the head to head market is so close, usually, you would find them at around $2.00 but so far these playoffs his best work has come handing the ball off to his running backs and not screwing up. There should be plenty of attention focused on Raheem Mostert who went off in the NFC Championship to the tune of 220 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The big question around him though is whether or not the Chiefs will let him be the one who beats them but they have been somewhat vulnerable against the run and they probably can’t afford to sell out against Mostert the way they did Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship. There are a few long-shot plays on the 49ers who might be worth putting a small bet on as well with the likes of Richard Sherman at a very tasty price if you’re expecting him to get the better of Mahomes and pick off a couple of passes. Since the entire betting strategy for this post is based around a 49ers win, and he is so important to their success, I’ll name Mostert as my primary pick for Super Bowl MVP.