Super Bowl LVIII Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Super Bowl LVIII Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

This article is part of our NFL Picks series.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Super Bowl LVIII

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It's down to this. One more game. San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The world will be watching – including the biggest star in the world – and wagering on this high-stakes contest. Here's a preview for the biggest game of the year.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds for Super Bowl LVIII

The 49ers are a two-point favorite over the Chiefs. In terms of betting the moneyline, San Francisco is -122 while Kansas City is +102. The over/under total on the Super Bowl is 47.5. These lines have remained fairly steady for more than a week. It has been interesting to see that the majority of football analysts have been picking the Chiefs to win outright, but the spread continues to favor the 49ers. The odds I provided can be found at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Leading up to the title game, the 49ers won both of their playoff games despite trailing in the second half of each. They won these games by an average score of 29-26. Meanwhile, in their playoff run, the Chiefs won a home game against the Dolphins before defeating the Bills and Ravens in road games. Kansas City won its postseason games by an average score of 23.3 to 13.7.

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San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Picks This Week

We saw in the AFC Championship game that the Chiefs are able to beat an opponent that seemed to have a superior team. Throughout the postseason, the Chiefs have leaned on their excellent defense and defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, along with an offense led by Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Taking a look at the 49ers, their defense has not been able to consistently slow down opposing offenses. It should be noted that both the Packers and Lions had balanced offenses and elite running back play. With the defense struggling, the San Francisco offense has relied on elite performances from Christian McCaffrey while getting solid second-half performances from Brock Purdy.

In terms of the Chiefs' offense, they are not the juggernaut they've been in past years. Aside from Mahomes, they mostly count on Kelce, Isiah Pacheco and Rashee Rice for production. If the 49ers implement a game plan to place special emphasis on Kelce and Rice, they have the defensive stars with the ability to slow them down. However, we never know how a coaching staff will approach a particular game. Of the four primary coaches in this game, 49ers' defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is the least creative, so it's far from a lock that he'll devise a great game plan. On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have a ridiculous group of weapons. Despite all of the talent, the Chiefs' defense is playing at a high level, and they may have the best defensive coach in the league. Kansas City may not be able to take away all of the weapons, but it should have a good deal of success slowing the 49ers down.

It should also be noted that the 49ers run their offense at the slowest pace in the league while KC is the 12th slowest. These teams are happy to run the play clock and try to keep their defenses fresh. 

These factors lead toward this game being lower scoring than many anticipate. With the over/under number posted at 47.5, both of these teams have gone under that number in the overwhelming majority of their games. It's hard to see this game being much different. Between the slow pace of play and the fact that both defenses match up reasonably well with the opposing offenses, don't be surprised to see moderate scoring in the Super Bowl. Based on this entire season, that wouldn't be a surprise, as it has been the "season of the unders." In terms of picking a winner, it's difficult to bet against Mahomes. If the game is close in the fourth quarter, it seems likely that he'll find a way to win. For the 49ers, it remains to be seen if they will put the entire game on Christian McCaffrey's shoulders. With two weeks off coming into this game and with this being the last game of the season, if San Francisco chooses to give McCaffrey a massive workload, the 49ers could find a way to win the game. The one bet on the line that seems solid is in a six-point teaser. Of those options, the Chiefs at plus eight is the best choice. That can be paired with the under.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Best Bet: Under 47.5

San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction

From what we've seen since Week 13, the Chiefs will continue to run the offense through their main offensive players. The biggest advantage they have is with Pacheco and the rushing attack. Kansas City will face a run defense that has struggled in the postseason. That said, Pacheco doesn't have the diverse running style that the 49ers have faced in recent weeks. It seems reasonable to think Pacheco will have limited success. As great as Mahomes is, he has not been throwing for big yardage and multiple TDs in most games. Unless Mahomes can play one of his legendary games, Kansas City may be limited on the scoreboard.

If the 49ers ride McCaffrey, the Chiefs may be in trouble. KC doesn't have a great run defense. If the Chiefs choose to move extra defenders into the box to slow the running back, they risk getting beaten by San Francisco's receiving weapons. Either way, it's possible the 49ers have success sustaining drives.

I predict the 49ers win this one 23-16, but those who have learned the wise lesson of never betting against Patrick Mahomes may want to ignore my prediction. Sometimes, it's impossible to quantify the impact a legendary player can have on a game.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Coventry
Coventry was a finalist for the FSWA football writer of the year in 2022. He started playing fantasy football in 1994 and won a national contest in 1996. He also nabbed five top-50 finishes in national contests from 2008 to 2012 before turning his attention to DFS. He's been an industry analyst since 2007, though he joined RotoWire in 2016. A published author, Coventry wrote a book about relationships, "The Secret of Life", in 2013.
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