The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are set to meet in a rare Super Bowl rematch from 4 years ago in Super Bowl LVIII. The teams have changed a fair bit since that game, but they are still led by a pair of stellar offensive coaches and the best tight ends in the league.
- Chiefs Team with Most First Downs in Game (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Over 2.5 Rushing Touchdowns in Game (+160) at Bet365
- 49ers Team with Longest Play from Scrimmage (-145) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Both Teams to Score 20+ Points – Yes (-110) at Bet365
Sunday, February 11, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Allegiant Stadium
Our first game prop is looking at which team will have more first downs in the game. The 49ers are favored, but season trends have favored the Chiefs in winning this particular battle:
- Kansas City’s had more first downs than the opponent in 12-of-19 games with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback this season.
- San Francisco’s had more first downs than the opponent in 10-of-18 games with Brock Purdy at quarterback this season.
We know that the Chiefs have taken a more methodical approach on offense since trading Tyreek Hill in 2022. That means longer drives, more first downs and fewer chunk plays. But they have obviously made it work as they are in back-to-back Super Bowls.
But in the playoffs, the Chiefs edged Miami 25-13 in first downs and won that matchup 22-16 in Baltimore despite not scoring after halftime. The Ravens hit a few big plays and tried to get back in the game that way.
But that is where these teams differ the most this year. The Chiefs have allowed the 3rd-fewest 1st downs on defense while the 49ers rank No. 13 in that category on defense. Patrick Mahomes should be able to methodically drive the ball on this defense, which has not played great for over a month now.
The Chiefs edged the 49ers 26-21 in first downs in Super Bowl LIV. The 49ers won that battle 25-24 last year thanks to a drive in garbage time, led by Brock Purdy of all people, in their 44-23 loss. But this game should be tighter than that.
It comes down to a difference of styles. The Chiefs do not have the home-run hitters of the 49ers, so they will try to put together longer drives with more plays and first downs.
They also have the better defense in this game. Even when that defense played its worst game of the season against Green Bay, the Chiefs still won the first down battle by a 25-24 margin. We’ll trust Mahomes and his best defense to get this job done for your NFL picks.
Get Ready for Rushing Touchdowns
For better than even odds, you can bet on this game having over 2.5 rushing touchdowns between the teams. This looks like a great value pick when you consider the 49ers just played in an NFC Championship Game where both teams scored 3 rushing touchdowns for a total of 6 scores on the ground.
But that’s just anecdotal evidence. More telling is that the 49ers led the NFL with 27 rushing touchdowns this year and we know Christian McCaffrey can be good for multiple scores on the ground, especially if it’s a game where maybe you want Brock Purdy hemmed in and handing the ball off to his great back instead of making a tough throw in a tight window in the red zone. McCaffrey has scored 2 rushing touchdowns in both playoff games this year.
McCaffrey can take care of the job for San Francisco, but don’t forget Deebo Samuel has the ability to run for a touchdown as they get him the ball in a variety of ways.
On the other side, Isiah Pacheco has been consistent for the Chiefs with a rushing touchdown in 6-of-7 games coming into this Super Bowl. He can certainly find the end zone. We also know the Chiefs can get inventive near the goal line with their gadget receivers and, sometimes, even Travis Kelce gets a carry.
It is also worth pointing out that Patrick Mahomes has the most rushing yards of his career this season but has yet to score a rushing touchdown. He had at least 2 scores in every season since 2018, and he has scored 5 rushing touchdowns in 17 playoff games, including a 1-yard run in Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers. In fact, that was the first 1-yard rushing touchdown in Mahomes’ career as he kept it on an option as the Chiefs do not run the quarterback sneak out of fear of injury.
But do not be surprised if Mahomes finds the end zone with his legs to get in on the scoring party.
Just between McCaffrey and Pacheco, this has a good shot to go over. Throw in the possibility of Deebo getting a handoff or Mahomes breaking his scoring drought on the ground, and we’ll gladly take over 2.5 rushing touchdowns at these betting odds.
Big Play 49ers
There is no such thing as a lock, but a smart bet in this game would be on the 49ers having the longest play from scrimmage.
Simply put, San Francisco has more home-run hitters than the Chiefs and are better at scheming up big plays:
- Christian McCaffrey has a 72-yard run this year while Isiah Pacheco’s longest run is 48 yards.
- Brock Purdy has 15 completions of 40-plus yards this season (1 in postseason).
- Patrick Mahomes has 8 completions of 40-plus yards this season (none in postseason).
- Mahomes has 1 completion of 40-plus yards in the last 2 postseasons.
- Both defenses have allowed 5 completions of 40-plus yards all season, but the Chiefs have done it twice this postseason (Tyreek Hill and Zay Flowers).
The 49ers have incredible YAC receivers in George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. Brandon Aiyuk even caught a 51-yard pass last game against Detroit after it deflected off a defender. The 49ers are just better built for bigger plays than these Chiefs.
Everyone remembers it was the Chiefs who hit the big play in Super Bowl LIV when Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for 44 yards on a 3rd-and-15 that ultimately decided the game. Even when the teams met in 2022 without Hill, Mahomes had completions of 57, 45 and 40 yards to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
But the 49ers have made changes with Purdy replacing Jimmy Garoppolo and the trade for Christian McCaffrey. This is supposed to be a big-play offense, and they should deliver in this matchup if the 49ers are going to have a good night.
NFL Pick: Team with Longest Play from Scrimmage – 49ers (-145) at Caesars Sportsbook
Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (Again)
For our final game prop, we like both teams to score at least 20 points just as they did in the matchups in 2018 (38-27), 2019 (31-20) and 2022 (44-23).
Why the Chiefs Should Score 20 Points
After playing in the extreme cold, then chilly Buffalo, then rainy Baltimore, the Chiefs will probably welcome a game indoors in Las Vegas where they have lit up the Raiders for over 30 points in each of the last 4 years.
The Chiefs only scored 17 points against the Ravens last time out, but it felt like the team voluntarily played it safe in the 2nd half as the defense just had to protect a 10-point lead. If the 49ers can make it more of a game, which they should, then you’ll see the Chiefs stay more aggressive and score more points.
Mahomes has led the Chiefs to at least 22 points in 15-of-17 playoff games in his career. If Jordan Love (Packers) and Jared Goff (Lions) can get past 20 points against this San Francisco defense, then there’s no reason an Andy Reid offense with Mahomes and Travis Kelce shouldn’t do the same indoors.
Mahomes is healthy. His offensive line is not in shambles like it was in Super Bowl LV. Even in that game, the 31-9 loss to Tampa Bay, he still threw a couple of passes that could have gone for spectacular touchdowns if his teammates made the play, but they did not either time.
The Chiefs have cleaned up their mistakes from earlier in the year in the playoffs. If they can do it again, they’ll score their share.
Why the 49ers Should Score 20 Points
They wouldn’t call it gambling if there wasn’t a chance Brock Purdy turns into a deer in the headlights in the biggest game of his career. But barring that meltdown, the 49ers have all the tools necessary to score 20 points on this defense, which has been great but not impossible to score against.
We have seen the 49ers held under 20 points in all 4 losses with Purdy at quarterback this year, but that includes a game in Cleveland where kicker Jake Moody missed a 41-yard game-winning field goal that would have won the game 20-19. Hopefully he does not fail this time if it comes down to him.
The 49ers have hit 30 points 10 times this year, so this is an elite offense that is No. 4 on 3rd down and No. 1 at scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Their skill players are healthy and ready for this one with Deebo Samuel showing no ill effects from his shoulder injury he suffered against the Packers.
It really comes down to Purdy not throwing a pick parade on the big stage or not being able to navigate the pass rush from Kansas City’s defense, which ranked No. 2 in sacks and pressure rate.
But the 49ers are not going to make the egregious mistakes the Ravens did in play calling and ignore the run. They are going to lean on McCaffrey, and they have better, deeper weapons than any other team the Chiefs have faced this season.
Even though these teams rank No. 2 and No. 3 in points allowed this year, look for the offensive wizardry to shine with these coaches. It may end like 4 years ago with one of the teams only getting to 20 points on the dot, but both should hit that benchmark.
NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points – Yes (-110) at Bet365
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