Eli’s Super Bowl Best Bets & Picks: 49ers-Chiefs To Go Under Betting Total?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Super Bowl Best Bets

As kick-off for the NFL season finale nears, this article will aid bettors with understanding the concept of price discovery and handicapping a point spread, moneyline odds, and total while odds shopping at the best betting sites. Specifically, the total stands out among Super Bowl 58 odds for me when I compare it to my betting model. Let’s examine my Super Bowl best bets for 49ers vs. Chiefs, including some MVP longshots.

Click any of the sports betting odds below to place a wager. We’ve sorted through all of them to find the best available.

Bet: 49ers & chiefs to combine for 47 or fewer points

Impact Of Liquid Markets

Some bettors may be unfamiliar with the aforementioned term, price discovery. This process takes place when wagers are generated on the opening spread or total. Early action is then used to adjust the number. Shops may also tail the odds of operators that are considered “market makers.” They tinker with their pricing because a competitor repositioned its own. Liability tolerance (or lack thereof) could be enough to reshape the odds at other sportsbooks.

In the case of the Chiefs’ odds and the 49ers’ odds, respectively, bettors can theoretically wager the amount they wish on major markets, without limits. Therefore, there likely isn’t a massive edge on the spread, total, or moneyline. Nevertheless, my model projects the total to be lower than the current price point. Per the table above, it’s lined at after opening near 48.

Chiefs Offense Vs. 49ers Defense

Much has been made of San Francisco’s subpar defensive showing in the playoffs, especially in the NFC title game. However, I’m in the camp that the Lions’ script was underappreciated — rather than showcasing the 49ers’ defensive regression to the mean. They’ve had two weeks to rest up and prep for the greatest quarterback in this generation. That shouldn’t be lost in relation to the total, either.

Conversely, Kansas City’s offensive revival, highlighted by four touchdowns in its last six red-zone trips, stems from the re-emergence of Travis Kelce. Since Week 12, he’s seen the first-read target share on 30.2% of routes versus four rushers and zone defense. Schematically, it’s what San Fran’s defense relies upon most.

Moreover, the nine-time Pro Bowler leads his position with 833 receiving yards over the middle of the field in the playoffs since 2016. That is no different this time, and it’s even opened up more space for rookie wideout Rashee Rice. Rice’s talent level was on full display over the last few weeks, accruing the fourth-highest first-read target share in the playoffs.

That said, the Niners rank No. 4 in DVOA to opposing tight ends because of their prowess in eliminating the middle third of the field. It’s a byproduct of their upper-echelon linebackers in single coverage. All-Pro Fred Warner has surrendered the fifth-lowest EPA when targeted among linebackers this year (-14.7, including playoffs). Below is where the 49ers rank in EPA per pass attempt allowed in each portion of the field.

Air YardsLeftMiddleRight
-529th18th26th
012th16th9th
523rd14th29th
102nd2nd14th
1517th25th27th
205th8th 8th
25+16th1st17th

Slowing Down Patrick Mahomes

The two-time Super Bowl MVP has seen his adjusted net yards per attempt dip by almost a full yard against man coverage — compared to a zone. Part of that is geared toward his weapons struggling to separate in one-on-one matchups. Fewer snaps to Kadarius Toney, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore have helped assemble more proficient performances from Mahomes, but I’ll trust the larger sample size of the two, assuming the Niners aren’t heavily reliant on zone coverage.

Unlike the Ravens, which lost to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, the 49ers utilize stunts and blitz packages at a lower rate. Still, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has disguised man and zone looks to a higher degree than his predecessors DeMeco Ryans and Robert Saleh. San Francisco’s success (or lack thereof) in that regard will be a critical factor, as their defensive front depends on winning their individual battle in the trenches.

Confusing Mahomes isn’t an easy task, yet Baltimore accomplished that feat. It allowed 4.4 yards per attempt (YPA) from the start of the second quarter onward — until Marquez-Valdes Scantling’s game-sealing catch.

Additionally, Kansas City’s pass protection has a glaring hole if All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney (pec strain) misses another matchup. As of Wednesday, Thuney is reportedly 50-50 for Sunday.

With Mahomes & Co. up early versus the Ravens, his injury didn’t affect them as much as it could have in a negative game script. Given the continuity up front, his potential absence would give Nick Bosa & Co. a better chance of exploiting the Chiefs’ vulnerable tackles.

Essentially, the Niners possess the personnel to create issues for Mahomes. It enforces the angle of the under for me.

Kyle Shanahan’s Likely Approach

Unlike San Fran, the Chiefs are elite against the pass over the full course of the season. They’ve yielded the lowest EPA per dropback and passing success rate in the playoffs. While San Francisco delivered two second-half comebacks via chunk plays through the air, it received a dose of luck to arrive in Las Vegas. Plus, Kansas City corners L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie are a more onerous matchup.

I’ll be stunned if Shanahan doesn’t lean on Christian McCaffrey and even Debo Samuel on the ground. It’s facing a run defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in nearly every category, including DVOA, EPA, run-stop win rate, and explosive carries allowed. This route translates into a shortened clock. That is, as long as their stout outside zone and gap scheme helps maintain a plus-script.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Shanahan errs on the side of caution inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard-line, accounting for Brock Purdy’s turnover-worthy throws this postseason. If that comes to fruition, the Niners will be in for a challenge. Kansas City has garnered a league-leading 70.6% success rate against red-zone rushes that use shift and motion in 2023-24. As one would expect, the Niners have employed these concepts on 76.3% of their red-zone carries. It’s equivalent to the fifth-highest rate in the league.

Should Purdy palm the ball more often, I’d expect a volatile outcome against Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo.

STATS
49ers logo 49ers SF
Chiefs logo Chiefs KC
Offense Ranking OFF RNK N/A N/A
Defense Ranking DEF RNK N/A N/A
Offense Net Yards Per Game OFF NET YPG
Defense Net Yards Per Game DEF NET YPG
Passing Yards Per Game PASS YPG
Turnovers Committed Per Game TOC PG

Super Bowl best bets: Final Thoughts & MVP odds

If you’re unable to grab 47.5 or better later in the day, I’d play it down to 47. Join TheLines.com’s free sports betting Discord to receive an instant alert whenever I place a bet. You can subscribe to the #roles server to enroll in the push notifications.

But that’s not all!

I took some shots on Super Bowl MVP odds, correlated with the notion around a low-scoring duel. The “Big Game” total is the lowest since 2015, in which edge rusher Von Miller won the award. Considering defensive players were priced at slimmer odds last year — with the total roughly a touchdown higher — I felt comfortable placing small wagers on two longshots. For one, Eagles defensive end Haason Reddick closed 30-1.

With the same line of reasoning from above, I bet Fred Warner (200-1) and fellow 49ers linebacker Drew Greenlaw (500-1). I’m hoping one of them will limit Kelce throughout while making a game-changing play. Although Mahomes boasts the premier touchdown-to-interception ratio in postseason history, the latter category is normally unpredictable in a one-game sample size.

Hence, the odds of San Francisco forcing a turnover is a smidge greater than the implied probability of 50.0%. For context, his price tag for throwing an interception is .

If Warner or Greenlaw does the honors, we may cash in on a big ticket. If not, it’s a minimal loss for your bankroll.

Below are the latest MVP odds — should you prefer to go elsewhere for your Super Bowl best bets. For more, peruse TheLines.com’s Super Bowl betting guide, including our staff’s favorite selections. Good luck with your picks!

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