The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers take on the AFC victors Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 in Miami on Sunday, February 2. Lindy’s Sports’ UK editor Simon Milham breaks down the key match-ups in a bid to find some value selections…
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Kansas City Chiefs – 1st AFC West (12-4)
Average Points Allowed: 19.2pg (7th)
Average Yards Allowed: 349.6pg (17th)
Average Passing Yards Allowed: 221.4pg (8th)
Average Rushing Yards Allowed: 128.2pg (26th)
Average Points Scored: 28.2pg (5th)
Average Yards Gained: 379.2pg (6th)
Average Passing Yards Gained: 281.1 (5th)
Average Rushing Yards Gained: 98.1 (23rd)
San Francisco 49ers – 1st NFC West (13-3)
Average Points Scored: 29.9pg (2nd)
Average Yards Gained: 381.1 (4th)
Average Passing Yards Gained: 237.0 (13th)
Average Rushing Yards Gained: 144.1 (2nd)
Average Points Allowed: 19.4pg (8th)
Average Yards Allowed: 281.8pg (2nd)
Average Passing Yards Allowed: 169.2pg (1st)
Average Rushing Yards Allowed: 112.6pg (17th)
Teams favoured to win the Super Bowl are 35-18 straight up and 26-25-2 against the spread. The Chiefs are BetVictor Super Bowl favourites at 4/5 on the Moneyline, and 10/11 to win by 1.5-points or more on the handicap.
Kansas City is on a seven-game win streak, while the San Francisco 49ers, who are 21/10 on the BetVictor NFL Moneyline odds to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy, have won four straight contests.
The last time these two teams squared off against each other was in Week 3 of the 2018 season when San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL and the Chiefs won 38-27.
The Niners hold a 7-6 edge in all-time meetings with Kansas City, with five of those victories coming at home. The Chiefs won their last five home meetings with San Francisco but have won just three of their last 14 games in Miami.
In 13 previous meetings, the average points total has been 44.9 points per game. The BetVictor NFL Super Bowl LIV Over/Under Total Points line is set at 54.0 points at odds of 10/11 on each side. That total has only been eclipsed once in the last 13 meetings – the last time these teams met.
TIP: Under 54 Total Points10/11
Who will win Super Bowl LIV?
The 49ers are arguably the more complete team, with the top-ranked pass defense sure to pose some questions for Mahomes and the dynamic Chiefs’ offense. The Chiefs’ run defense has been better than earlier in the season, yet it remains vulnerable, and the way the 49ers blew Green Bay’s defensive line off the ball in the NFC Championship game left little doubt that they will be more than a match for the Chiefs.
Their plan, much like that of the Texans and Titans, will be to keep Mahomes off the field as long as possible with long, time-consuming drives and, when he does get on the field, hope the pass rush, which will come in particular from Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Ford, creates havoc as it has done all season.
The adage that ‘defense win championships’ has been tested in recent years. Tighter enforcement of pass interference contact rules has eroded that mantra somewhat, although very good defenses sometimes rise to the top. Since 2003, four Super Bowl winners have finished either first or second in scoring defense (2008 Steelers, 2010 Packers, 2013 Seahawks, 2016 Patriots).
Teams with great offenses but mediocre defences have come out on top, such as the 2006 Colts (second-ranked offense, 23rd defense) or the 2009 Saints (first offense, 28th defense). Last year, the last four teams remaining all ranked in the top four in scoring offense, but the only team with a top-10 defense, the New England Patriots, won the Super Bowl.
In this season’s finale, the layers cannot split the teams but don’t be surprised if this does not turn out to be a close-run contest. Kansas City could catch the Niners cold and jump to a big lead, for which San Francisco is not built to overcome, or San Francisco may run the Chiefs’ defense ragged and control the clock, while making enough defensive stops to frustrate Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid. They are one of the few teams that boasts a defense capable of containing Mahomes.
Even if the Niners do find the Chiefs staking the box against the run, the Chiefs’ pass rush was almost non-existent in the AFC Championship game and Garoppolo may have plenty of time to find Kittle, Sanders, Samuel, Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne, who is increasingly becoming a reliable weapon.
Either way, it is sure to be a much better spectacle than last year’s 13-3 snore-fest between the Patriots and Rams.