Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs odds and pick - Super Bowl LIV

Jan 20, 2020 at 1:46 PM0


After a week of media experts predicting a close game and insisting that the San Francisco 49ers would not be able to maul the Green Bay Packers twice in a season, the Niners went ahead and annihilated the Packers to the tune of 37-20 in an NFC Championship game that was never in doubt from start to finish and not as close as the final score. San Francisco's Quest for Six now travels to Miami Gardens, Florida for Super Bowl 54. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

When: Sunday February 2nd, 2020 at 3:30 PM PST (FOX)
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Line: 49ers +1, o/u 54

Kansas City Chiefs
For the second straight playoff game, Kansas City overcame a second quarter deficit, this time coming back from down 7-17 to easily dispatch the Tennessee Titans. Patrick Mahomes threw for three touchdowns and ran for one more in the Chiefs' 35-24 win at Arrowhead.

Football Outsiders' updated DVOA stats through 20 weeks has Kansas City 2nd in weighted total DVOA at 44.1 percent, 1st in weighted offensive DVOA at 33.2 percent, 12th in weighted defensive DVOA at -5.2 percent and 3rd in weighted special teams DVOA at 5.6 percent.

At the conclusion of the regular season, Kansas City ranked 2nd in total DVOA at 30.2 percent, 5th in offensive weighted DVOA at 20.8 percent (2nd in pass offense DVOA at 43.7 percent, 14th in rush offense DVOA at -1.4 percent) and 13th in weighted defensive DVOA at -5.3 percent (6th in pass defense DVOA at -9.3 percent, 29th in run defense DVOA at 4.1 percent). .

The Chiefs' offense ranked 6th with 379.2 yards per game, 5th with 28.2 points per game, 5th with 281.1 passing yards per game, 23rd with 98.1 rushing yards per game, 2nd with 6.2 offensive yards per play and 18th with 27.91 seconds per play (pace).

Kansas City's defense was 17th in giving up 352.6 yards per game, 7th in yielding 19.3 points per game, 8th with 221.4 passing yards conceded per game, 26th in allowing 128.2 rushing yards per game and 16th with 5.4 defensive yards per play.

The Chiefs' offensive line was ranked 28th in run blocking and 4th in pass protection. Kansas City's defensive line ranked 28th in adjusted line yards and 10th in adjusted sack rate. Patrick Mahomes ranked 3rd with a DYAR of 1,322 and 2nd with a total QBR of 76.4. The Chiefs have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) score of 11.9 and are 12-5-1 ATS and 10-8 to the over/under so far this season.

San Francisco 49ers
Behind the offensive line, Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle opening up lanes big enough through which to drive a Mack truck, Raheem Mostert had a historic game in which he did not even start but finished with 220 yards and 4 touchdowns on 29 carries and 2 receptions (which was tied for the most receptions on the team) for 6 yards.

Football Outsiders' updated DVOA stats through 20 weeks has San Francisco ranked 4th in weighted total DVOA at 32.2 percent, 6th in weighted offensive DVOA, 4th in weighted defensive DVOA and 7th in weighted special teams DVOA.

Through the regular season, San Francisco ranked 5th in total DVOA at 27.9 percent, 8th in weighted offensive DVOA at 4.4 percent (8th in pass offense DVOA at 24.4 percent, 13th in rush offense DVOA at -0.5 percent) and 5th in weighted defensive DVOA at -15.3 percent (2nd in pass defense DVOA at -26.3 percent, 11th in rush defense DVOA at -12.1 percent).

The 49ers' offense was 4th with 381.1 yards per game, 2nd with 29.9 points per game, 13th with 237.0 passing yards per game, 2nd with 144.1 rushing yards per game, 5th with 6.0 offensive yards per play and 29th with 28.91 seconds per play.

San Francisco's defense was 2nd in allowing 281.1 yards per game, 8th by conceding 19.4 points per game, 1st in giving up 169.2 passing yards per game, 17th in yielding 112.6 rushing yards per game and 1st with 4.7 defensive yards per play.

The Niners' offensive line was ranked 8th in run blocking and 15th in pass protection. San Francisco's defensive line was 13th in adjusted line yards and 2nd in adjusted sack rate. Jimmy Garoppolo ranked 12th with a DYAR of 737 and 12th with a total QBR of 58.8. The Niners have an ESPN FPI score of 7.7 and are 11-6-1 ATS and 9-8-1 to the over/under this season.

Prediction
For the next two weeks, we are going to hear about Patrick Mahomes being unstoppable and Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and the Chiefs offense being so explosive, but is an MVP quarterback and explosive offense alone enough to win a championship?

In 1984, Dan Marino was named MVP, NFL Offensive Player of the Year and Miami's offense led the league in yards, points, points per game and yards per play. But for as explosive as Miami's offense was that season, it still got smoked 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. That same season, the 49ers gave up the fewest points and fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL.

Is the old saying offense wins championships or defense wins championships?

In predicting the outcome of Super Bowl 54, one might ask himself or herself, if Patrick Mahomes throws eight passes can the Kansas City Chiefs win the game? The answer is without a doubt no, the Chiefs could not win a game if Patrick Mahomes only throws eight passes because he is the focal point of the offense and motor of the entire team and his outstanding play has helped Kansas City make up for a lack of a running game, defensive deficiencies and even a 24 point deficit in the playoffs. Without Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have no chance in the Super Bowl but does that imply the rest of his squad might not be as talented or balanced as San Francisco's when considering both sides of the ball and special teams?

How was San Francisco able to completely dominate in the NFC Championship with Jimmy Garoppolo only throwing the ball eight times and George Kittle catching only one pass for nineteen yards and zero touchdowns? The Niners were able to dominate with great coaching, one of the most potent running games and best defenses in the NFL which allowed Kyle Shanahan to once again not have to dig deep into his playbook at all and perhaps save something special for the Super Bowl.

Which is known to travel well, an explosive pass-attack or a strong defense and running game?

We first compared the 2019 49ers defense to the 1985 Chicago Bears defense in our Week 7 article and then again last week, suggesting that this season's Niners could have a similar path in the playoffs as the '85 Bears and so far that has come through in the first two rounds of the playoffs with easy, never-in-doubt wins by double digits. Could it continue in the Super Bowl?

While some might argue that the Packers were a bad team which made the 49ers look good, the Packers' offensive line was ranked 10th in pass protection but was not able to stop San Francisco from making Aaron Rodgers' life miserable, tallying 3 sacks, 3 QB hits and pressuring him into 2 interceptions and into losing a fumble.

Kansas City's strength is its offense, specifically its 2nd ranked passing offense, which will be matched up against San Francisco's strength in its defense and specifically its 2nd ranked passing defense. This strength on strength match up could result in a stalemate, which could mean that the Super Bowl might be decided by units other than the Chiefs' passing attack and the Niners' passing defense, which could favor the team that is the most balanced overall.

On the other side of the ball, San Francisco's offensive strength is its rushing attack which will go against Kansas City's most glaring weakness in its run defense which finished 29th in rush defense DVOA. While some might point out that the Chiefs' defense stepped up and improved against the run over the past seven weeks, Kansas City was still ranked 17th in run defense DVOA from Weeks 13-20, still in the bottom half of the league and not much better than Green Bay, which finished 23rd in rush defense DVOA.
Another narrative that will be discussed over the next two weeks will be how San Francisco is vulnerable to mobile quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes. This narrative began around Week 10 after facing Kyler Murray in Arizona, a game in which Kwon Alexander, who at the time was a top-graded outside linebacker in pass coverage, was out of the game early due to a torn pectoral and lost for the rest of the regular season, followed later by injuries to Jaquiski Tartt and Dee Ford which no doubt contributed to the 49ers defense regressing in Weeks 10-17.

According to footballoutsiders.com, San Francisco's defensive DVOA for Weeks 1-9 was -47.8 percent versus the pass and -5.5 percent against the run, -10.9 percent versus the pass and -16.9 percent against the run during Weeks 10-17 and -36.6 percent versus the pass and -23.4 percent against the run in Weeks 19 and 20.

With Kwon Alexander, Jaquiski Tartt and Dee Ford all back for the playoffs, and Robert Saleh finally keeping Ahkello Witherspoon on the bench and starting Emmanuel Moseley instead, San Francisco's defense is returning to its early season pass defense form while improving its rushing defense in the playoffs, all of which could lead to the Niners being able to handle Mahomes' scrambling better than many might anticipate.

Another story that will also get mentioned is about how well Andy Reid does with extra time to prepare and how he is one of the most innovative offensive minds and coaches to have never won a Super Bowl. But in trying to determine who might be a better coach and has done a better coaching job this season, it could be useful to consider what the preseason expectations were for both of these teams.
So prior to this NFL season, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs were considered to have the best chance to win the Super Bowl and San Francisco was considered to have the same chance as the Oakland Raiders to win the Super Bowl at 40/1. So who did a better job coaching this season, Andy Reid who took the 5/1 Chiefs to the Super Bowl or Kyle Shanahan who took the 40/1 49ers?

Kyle Shanahan won the NFC Championship with a quarterback who only threw the ball eight times because of his unique ability to exploit defenses using his outstanding play-calling acumen and Kansas City's defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo should be worried about what Kyle Shanahan will have in store for the Super Bowl when he opens up the entire playbook and goes all in.

Defense wins championships and a good defense and run game are known to travel well, and San Francisco clearly has the better defense and run game and is overall the most balanced team. The last time Kyle Shanahan coached in a Super Bowl, his NFC team was an underdog to what was thought to be the most dominant team in the NFL, a 14-2 Patriots squad that finished first in total DVOA, and Shanahan's offense jumped out to a 28-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. We know how that turned out but we also know that Kyle is more experienced and wiser because of and since that game and you can bet there will be no such let down in Super Bowl 54.

The Kansas City Chiefs have fallen behind in the first quarter in each of their home playoff games this season, and we anticipate Shanahan calling plays to take the first lead in Super Bowl 54. But unlike Tennessee and Houston, who finished with the 20th and 27th ranked weighted defensive DVOA, San Francisco's defense will find ways to neutralize Kansas City's offense to a degree and control the ball and clock with its rushing attack, all of which might ultimately result in a successful Quest for Six. San Francisco is 5-0 against the spread as an underdog this season, 3-0 straight up as one point underdogs and we see these trends continuing for the Niners. Pick: 49ers +1

Season
SU: 10-8
ATS: 10-8

Poll

  • What is your best bet for Niners at Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV?
  • 49ers +1
    73%
  • Over 54
    14%
  • Chiefs +1
    9%
  • Under 54
    5%
  • 820 votes
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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