The San Francisco 49ers will get a chance to avenge their Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020, as two of the most successful teams of the Super Bowl era square off in Las Vegas for Super Bowl 58. NFL expert, Ben Bridge provides a full game preview as well as his two best bets below. Good luck to everyone following!
NFL 2023-24 Playoffs: Super Bowl LVIII Betting Tips
Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers
Allegiant Stadium, Monday 12th February, 10:30am (AEDT)
Road to the Super Bowl
Let’s start with the 49ers. They started the season as one of the favourites to win the Super Bowl, and that expectation certainly didn’t waver early. They shot out to a 5-0 record, before being taken down by the Browns’ defence in week 6. They lost three straight before their bye in week 9, and concerns were mounting on the NFC juggernaut. Any concerns were put to rest in week 10, as they travelled to Jacksonville and destroyed the Jags 34-3. Another six-straight wins followed, before they were brought back down to earth on Christmas day, losing 33-19 at home to the Ravens. They beat the Commanders in week 17 to clinch the #1 seed in the NFC, giving their starters essentially two weeks off as they rested many players in a week 18 loss to the Rams. In both playoff matchups, the 49ers have had to come back in the second half to snatch victory, trailing the Packers 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter, before rallying to win 24-21. Then, in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers trailed the Lions 24-7 at halftime. The 49ers offense finally clicked in the second half, piling on 27 points to book their spot in the Super Bowl, winning 34-31.
As for the Chiefs, they kicked off the season with a tight one-point loss at home to the Detroit Lions (21-20). What followed was a Chiefs’ offense that we haven’t been used to at all, struggling to score points against basically any type of defence throughout the season. Surprisingly, it was their defence that stood up, turning into a fringe top 5 unit in the NFL, something far removed from anything we’ve seen in the Patrick Mahomes era. There were some puzzling losses, going down 24-9 to the Broncos, 27-19 to the Packers, and 20-14 to the Raiders. For the first time in the Mahomes era, the AFC wasn’t going to run through Kansas City, as the Chiefs could only manage the #3 seed. On Wild Card Weekend, they hammered the Dolphins in atrocious conditions in KC, before having to head to Buffalo for the Divisional Round. Here, the Chiefs managed to sneak by the Bills in the game of the season, booking a spot in the AFC Championship game in Baltimore. Mahomes and the Chiefs were again underdogs, massive underdogs, but they came out and completely shut Lamar Jackson and the Ravens down, booking a spot in their fourth Super Bowl in five years with a 17-10 victory.
San Francisco 49ers
Nick Sakelj (OT) – OUT
Ross Dwelley / Cameron Latu (TE) – OUT
Talanoa Hufanga (SAF) – OUT
Danny Gray (WR) – OUT
Clelin Ferrell (DE) – OUT
Kansas City Chiefs
Nazeeh Johnson (SAF) – OUT
Jody Fortson (TE) – OUT
Cam Jones (LB) – OUT
Derrick Nnadi (NT) – OUT
Charles Omenihu (DE) – OUT
Joe Thuney (OG) – Questionable
The 49ers have been the highest rated team basically all season by the market. Heading into the playoffs, the 49ers would have been around a 5/5.5-point favourites against the Chiefs on a neutral venue. However, the market’s perception of the Chiefs, and possible to a lesser extent the 49ers, has shifted during the playoffs. The 49ers have struggled to beat two teams that they were 7+ point favourites against, with both underdogs surely coming away feeling as though they should have beat the 49ers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have managed to go on the road and beat two of the top 5 highest rated teams in the NFL (Bills, Ravens), to book their place in the big game. This has brought the market heavily in on the Chiefs, to where they opened just 2/2.5-point underdogs to the 49ers for the Super Bowl. The number hasn’t really changed, with the spread at the time of writing 49ers -2. This handicap is similar to my breakdown of the Chiefs/Ravens game. If this is close, I’ll back the Chiefs every time with Mahomes. As such, the +2 is worthless to me, and if I was to bet the Chiefs, it would be on the money line. Alternatively, if the 49ers can jump out to an early lead in this one, they will be able to lean on the run game and could salt this game away and win by margin. So, if looking to bet on the 49ers, alt-spreads could be the most positive expected value plays in the Super Bowl.
As for the total, it has been hovering around the 47/47.5 area the entire week and a half since this market opened. I would lean towards the under in this situation, as I believe the two most likely game scenarios both lend themselves towards the under. My first inclination is a similar game script to that of the Chiefs and Ravens AFC Championship game. The Chiefs get out to an early lead, then lean on their defence to shut Brock Purdy down. The 49ers chase through the air, rather than leaning on the run, and this Super Bowl finishes Chiefs 20-17 winners. The other scenario I like, is the 49ers to get the quicker start. After getting out to a first half lead, they can lean on their run game, whilst Mahomes and his below average receiver room struggles under the pressure of chasing. In this scenario, a 49ers 30-13 type win makes sense to me.
However, there’s a play I like more regarding the total, and that’s for a low scoring second half. Both above scenarios lend themselves to low scoring second halves, and with the way the Chiefs have played all season, the under in the second half looks to be the best play on side or total in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs’ second half unders have hit at a ridiculous clip this season, and we will take one last shot in the big one.
I’ll also have a small play on the 49ers to win by over 7, but just a small staking. There are prop bets for just about everything you can think of, and that’s where most of my capital will be going for the Super Bowl for fun.
It’s been another great year of NFL football, and let’s hope we can once again finish it off with a classic Super Bowl between two great teams.
San Francisco 49ers (-7) - $3.45 @ Betfair (1u)
2nd half total points (under 23.5)
$2 (2 Units)