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Super Bowl LIV: Betting Preview

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Super Bowl LIV has the prospect of providing great drama between two pretty evenly-matched teams in Miami. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers had very different regular seasons but have looked like terrifying clubs in January, with both of them winning their Divisional Round and Conference Championship games by 14 or more points to reach the Big Game.

This year’s edition of the Super Bowl is also a very interesting one when it comes to betting. The two teams have different strengths and weaknesses, which could make for a very unpredictable game. That means surprises and, in betting terms, opportunities for solid winnings for the bettors.

The time has come to see where the big bucks are. So, in accordance with Bet365’s odds, let’s take a look at some the traditional game lines, as well as two more specific prop bets for Sunday’s game:

Money Line: San Francisco +105 (21/20)

This Super Bowl is going to be close for the bigger part of the game. Here’s where the balance becomes less competitive: 49ers running game vs Chiefs defence against the rush. If the SF rushing attack gets its rhythm going early on, that could be the key to a win as the Chiefs allowed the 7th-most yards per game in rushes during the regular season.

Even considering how explosive Patrick Mahomes is leading the offence, to keep up with an effective SF running game, he eventually needs to move the ball downfield slowly and methodically. That’ll be difficult against one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. It’s a real possibility that Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead or DeForest Buckner, or maybe all three of them, have an impact on a potential slowdown that the KC attack suffers, and even get put on an MVP-worthy performance.

       

Meanwhile, San Francisco, contrary to a belief, has an alternative if the Mostert-Breeda-Coleman trifecta somehow isn’t as productive as it’s been all season long. The Chiefs have had the 3rd-best defense against the rush in the postseason (89.5 yards allowed/game). The last two times the 49ers met a hot running defense, Week 1 against the Bucs and Week 14 versus the Saints, the rushing attack didn’t live up to its standards – Jimmy Garoppolo’s efforts won both of them.

Expect the Niners to be the more consistent team, Mahomes to keep the Chiefs alive with a miracle after another. And, in the end, the 49ers will control the fourth quarter and will win it all for the sixth time, tying the Patriots and Steelers.

Spread: San Francisco +1.5

The analysis here is the same as in the last best and this very small spread makes no difference. The margin will probably end up being between 3 and 7 points, despite the Niners being more consistent than the Chiefs.

Over/Under: Under 54.0

The 49ers defensive unit can provide both pressure on Mahomes and a real challenge for the wide receiving core. Even if Travis Kelce has a big game, his production accounts for only a little part of moving the ball down the field, and without an efficient ground game, the Chiefs could be slowed down offensively.

In the meantime, the Niners are likely to run the ball overwhelmingly, which means running out the clock and scoring less but providing fewer opportunities for the opponent.

       

Multi-Touchdown Scorer: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (8/1)

Since the Chiefs and Mahomes are so explosive and make a living throwing the long ball, Tyreek Hill is the perfect receiver to create separation, even if covered by Richard Sherman, who has been excellent in coverage this postseason.

There’s no other such receiver on the Chiefs roster to do so consistently unless Sammy Watkins has a career performance. Damien Williams scoring more than once will take the Chiefs changing up the strategy in order to move the ball more methodically and use the running back in the red zone.

In spite of Raheem Mostert’s four TD runs against the Packers, the 49ers have a very wide variety of players, both on the ground and through the air, which they could use as red-zone weapons, and, in a low-scoring game that we projected the matchup to be, nobody else is likely to score more than once.

Teams usually change their play selection and formation using in the Super Bowl but Hill is surely the safest bet here.

Scorecast: Deebo Samuel (San Francisco) to score First & San Francisco to Win by 6 points or less (55/1)

The Chiefs have started slowly on the offensive side in each of their last two playoff games on the road to the Super Bowl. The 49ers run the ball a lot, control the clock, get fewer drives but tend to be consistent in making the most of these opportunities. Therefore, they’re likely to score using fewer drives than the Chiefs.

Samuel has been a very good target for Jimmy G in the last couple of weeks. He’s had 13 catches in the last four games. That includes 102 yards against the Seahawks in Week 17. The rookie receiver has caught less than 2 passes in just two of 18 games this season, in addition to 3 touchdowns.

That’s a tough pick. It can be anyone from amongst him, Emmanuel Sanders, George Kittle and Kendrick Bourne to be targeted in the red zone to avoid using the running game and mix things up. But Samuel has been the Niners’ top receiver in three of their last four games and is worth the shot.

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