The first Super Bowl ever played in Las Vegas has plenty of storylines to captivate North American football fans and just as many betting angles to occupy handicappers around the continent and beyond. When it comes to the side, this one could come down to the better team all season, the San Francisco 49ers, vs. the best team so far in the post-season, the Kansas City Chiefs, when the teams kick off Super Bowl LVIII at 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
But of course, that’s only half the fun with sportsbooks releasing an assortment of prop bets they only unfurl for the Big Game.
Bet on Super Bowl LVIII
The tight spread, San Francisco -2, reflects a recent trend of well-matched Super Bowls that should help erase the dog days of 2002 through 2009 when the favourite was laying at least a touchdown in six of the eight games. The point spread has been a field goal or less in five of the last six Super Bowls.
Never mind that it’s a rematch of a Super Bowl played four years ago between the same head coaches, Kansas City’s Andy Reid, and San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan. This game should have plenty of entertainment value for casuals (particularly Swifties) and diehard NFL fans alike, so let’s dive right into the action for the most sacred day on the North American sports-betting calendar.
49ers vs. Chiefs odds
|49ers Moneyline Odds
|Chiefs Moneyline Odds
|49ers -2 (-110)
|47.5 points (-110)
|Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m. ET
|Broadcast: DAZN, TSN, CTV
About the 49ers (13-5 SU, 9-10 ATS, 10-9 o/u)
After barely beating the Green Bay Packers and then trailing the Detroit Lions by 17 at halftime in their two playoff games, people are wondering if this 49ers team is ready to cap its dominant regular season with the ultimate prize. Nitpick those games all you want, but this team deserves credit for outscoring those opponents by a combined score of 44-22 in the second half.
And while the Chiefs have been the better team in the past five years, the 49ers haven’t been too far behind with four conference championship appearances. And they have a history as rich as any franchise in the league. A win here would give the Niners their record-tying sixth Super Bowl title and it would give quarterback Brock Purdy, once known as Mr. Irrelevant, his Joe Montana moment.
This team will be trying to appease a fanbase nervous when it sees a Chiefs team that overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win Super Bowl LIV, depriving the Niners of their first championship since 1994. This game also will go a long way in defining Shanahan’s legacy as he goes for his first Lombardi Trophy, which would put him one behind his father, Mike Shanahan.
Aside from quarterback (and Purdy is better than many detractors claim) the 49ers have better overall roster talent, particularly at receiver, edge rusher and offensive line. And while the 49ers’ tight end isn’t dating Taylor Swift, George Kittle really isn’t that far behind Travis Kelce in terms of ability. They are widely considered the two best tight ends in the NFL.
And, while Patrick Mahomes clearly gets the nod over Purdy in any head-to-head comparisons, Purdy had more big-time throws and fewer turnovers than Mahomes during the regular season. He might not have the sheer ability to match Mahomes, but his strengths are bolstered in Shanahan’s offence.
We haven’t even talked yet about the man who might be the key to the game, Christian McCaffrey, who was great in Carolina, but has become easily the best running back in the game since joining San Francisco. The past two seasons, his 92.5 overall grade at PFF leads all RBs, as does his 92.8 grade as a receiver.
About the Chiefs (14-6 SU, 12-8 ATS, 6-14 o/u)
It’s already a dynasty, but a win would make it one of the all-timers as the Chiefs aim to become the first repeat champions in the NFL in 19 years. It’s certainly not too early to compare Patrick Mahomes to Tom Brady as Mahomes goes for his third Super Bowl MVP in a game in which his team once again will rely on him as few teams have ever relied on a single player in any team sport. Then again, Brady has seven Super Bowl rings, four more than Mahomes would have with a win here, and Brady won three in his first four seasons as a starter.
Since he took over as the Chiefs’ starting QB in 2018, Mahomes has been the NFL’s best quarterback by a wide margin according to Pro Football Focus rankings and the gap has been even wider in the playoffs.
Mahomes gets most of the attention, most of it richly deserved, but this Chiefs defence is the reason this team was able to overcome some late-season wobbling and hasn’t had to sweat much in the playoffs despite playing two games on the road. The Chiefs ranked second in the NFL in both points allowed per game and yards allowed per game, pulling off that feat for the first time since 1995. This unit became the first defence in NFL history to play 20 games without allowing more than 28 points in any of them.
If you’re betting the Taylor Swift angle, yes, she’s expected to jet in from her concert in Japan in time to catch her boyfriend Travis Kelce in this one. Since 2019, Kelce ranks just a tick behind Kittle in PFF rankings at 93.6 and 93.5.
Running back Isiah Pacheco is one of the game’s hardest runners and has been a huge asset near the goal line lately, with eight touchdowns in his last seven games. The Chiefs seem committed to running the ball lately and it’s easy to see why, with Pacheco averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is a master of disguising his coverages, but the 49ers could counteract some of that by putting receiver Deebo Samuel in motion before the snap.
The extra week should give Samuel enough time to heal up from a shoulder injury that limited him earlier in the playoffs and, against a Chiefs defence that concentrates on taking a team’s top receiver out of the game, Brandon Aiyuk figures to get plenty of attention, which could leave Samuel open.
The 49ers also like to line Samuel up several times a game at running back or get him the ball on jet sweeps and his versatility also makes him a good bet to be involved in whatever razzle-dazzle Shanahan calls up for the big game. This game seems like a good place to invest heavily in Samuel overs.
Deebo Samuel over 79.5 rushing and receiving yards
Niners fans had a scare when TE George Kittle (toe) and DE Arik Armstead (knee, foot) missed a couple of practices last weekend, but it sounds like both should be able to play here. Those are the only two players on San Francisco’s injury report.
Of the Chiefs’ two key questionable players, OG Joe Thuney (pec) seems more likely to miss this game than RB Isiah Pacheco (ankle, toe) though each participated to some extent in practice this week. WR Kadarious Toney implied in an Instagram post this week he isn’t even injured, but he hasn’t been playing anyway while making the Chiefs’ weekly injury report. WR Skyy Moore (knee) and LB Willie Gay Jr. (neck) should be good to go and the only reason CB L’Jarius Sneed missed practice this week was because his girlfriend had a baby.
It’s supposed to be dry for those walking around the Strip, with temperatures of about 10 C at kickoff, but it will be even cozier under Allegiant Stadium’s roof.
- Teams that score first have won 65% of Super Bowls. In the last four Big Games, only the 2021 Los Angeles Rams bucked this trend.
- Teams that win the Super Bowl have also covered the spread an astonishing 87% of the time. Since 2009, the number has risen to 92.9%.
- Shanahan is 6-0 straight-up when his team has been favoured in the playoffs.
- Reid is 6-7 straight-up as a playoff underdog.
Player prop trends
- Until now, Mahomes had never been an underdog in three consecutive games. As an underdog, he is 12-5 ATS in the playoffs.
- Pacheco has exceeded his assigned rushing yards (67.5 at -110) here in four straight games, including a 97-yard day vs. Buffalo and a 130-yard day vs. Cincinnati.
- Samuel has come in under his assigned receiving yards (58.5 at -110) in five of his last six games, but the lone exception was two weeks ago against Detroit, when he had 89 receiving yards.
Wagers to consider
- While the scrutiny will fall, as usual, on the quarterbacks in this game, both teams have run-heavy attacks and some rushing props shouldn’t be ignored. The Chiefs particularly figure to control the tempo with a steady dose of Pacheco, whose work lately has made Clyde Edwards-Helaire virtually a non-factor. Consider overs on both rushing yards and to score an anytime touchdown (at -120).
- His star quality means there will be a tax baked into Mahomes’ props as the public typically likes taking overs on the best players. He has exceeded his assigned passing yards in this game (260.5) just once in these playoffs and once in his past five games total. He also has exceeded 1.5 touchdown passes just once in his past five games.