World
close

View Sportsbooks, Odds and Promotions available in your state.

backgroundLayer 1
BETTING

2024 Super Bowl LVIII Team Analysis: Skill Players & DST Breakdown

Super Bowl LVIII is that rare matchup where both teams have been great on defense, but the coaches are offensive wizards and they get to call plays for some of the best skill players in the league with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle.

How do the stars align against these defenses? We run through the skill players on each team as well as the defense and special teams for the Chiefs and 49ers.

According to the latest NFL odds, San Francisco is a 2-point favorite with a total of 47.5 points at top-rated sportsbooks.


San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, February 11, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Allegiant Stadium


Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: Another Chance to Level Up

It seems like every season we talk about how Patrick Mahomes is having the best X-year start to a career for a quarterback in NFL history. That’s why the GOAT talk is legitimate. He is already starting his 4th Super Bowl, can win a 3rd ring, and his 15 playoff wins would already put him in sole possession of 3rd place in NFL history all before his 29th birthday.

Last year, he lost Tyreek Hill and still won MVP, No. 1 offense, No. 1 seed, led the league in yards and touchdowns, and won Super Bowl MVP despite a high-ankle sprain.

This year, he downgraded even further at wide receiver, lost offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, and despite the league-leading number of dropped passes and mistakes around him, he’s back in the Super Bowl after winning his first pair of road playoff games as an underdog.

Finding the Deep Ball

He started finding the deep ball again in Week 17 against Cincinnati, and this offense is playing its best at the right time. Going from the extreme cold and rainy conditions to comfy Allegiant Stadium where he always lights it up should make him feel good this week. Facing the San Francisco defense is also an easier task than the Ravens for that matter.

Mahomes is looking for his 3rd Super Bowl MVP, and he is arguably still looking for that iconic Super Bowl performance where he puts up huge numbers and few mistakes. He had to overcome 2 interceptions and a 20-10 deficit in the 4th quarter against the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV before exploding with 3 touchdown drives to win 31-20.

No Real Weakness

Still, Mahomes has no real weakness in his game. He is hard to sack, he hasn’t thrown a pick in 6 straight playoff games (NFL record), and he is more patient than ever in taking what the defense gives him.

Those past playoff losses have taught him well how to raise his game to the level it takes to keep winning championships, and all expectations should be for him to play very well in this game and give the Chiefs a great chance to repeat.

That’s just who he is.

49ers Quarterback Brock Purdy: Very Relevant

Brock Purdy has a chance to carve out his own legacy with a big performance as the 3rd-youngest quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Like Mahomes, he’s had one of the best 2-year starts at quarterback in NFL history, and it is the most unexpected case since he was the final pick in the 2022 draft.

Purdy has the talent around him to win this game, but the Kyle Shanahan system is something that gets held against him in a way that seems unfair at this point for a quarterback who is 22-4 when he throws at least 20 passes in a game and led the league in a long list of passing metrics this year. Anyone doing that can’t be just a system quarterback, but Purdy will have to prove himself on the biggest stage of them all against a great pass defense.

Playing From Behind?

Purdy has led a game-winning drive in 3 straight playoff games that he finished, so he has shown that ability to finish strong in a tight playoff game, something the 49ers were not doing in the regular season this year. But he’ll get a huge test against the Chiefs, and Purdy’s affinity for throwing dangerous passes could bite him in the big game as it has to many legends of the NFL.


Chiefs Running Backs: Isiah Pacheco Could Be a Star

Speaking of 7th-round picks who work out, Isiah Pacheco is a great example of why a team like the Chiefs should never take a running back in the 1st round like in 2020 when they drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Pacheco has looked like the better player since last year when he was the team’s lead back on their way to that Super Bowl win.

Pacheco has come on strong down the stretch this season and has scored a touchdown in 7 straight games. He could be a big part of the game if the Chiefs run the ball more as that is a weakness in that San Francisco defense.

Pacheco is a physical runner and takes every carry like his last breath. He rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl. Do not be surprised if he does better than that this time around.

49ers Running Backs: Chrisitan McCaffrey’s Night?

Christian McCaffrey has a great shot to become the first running back to win Super Bowl MVP since Terrell Davis on the 1997 Broncos. It is a shock it’s been that long, but it is so hard for a running back to overcome his popular quarterback to win the award.

However, San Francisco is a rare case since most people think McCaffrey is a better player than Purdy. But if McCaffrey has another game with over 125 scrimmage yards and multiple touchdowns like he’s done in the last 2 playoff games, then that might be enough given a San Francisco win.

The Key to Victory?

McCaffrey can be the key to everything as they need to run the offense through him as the Chiefs struggle with the run compared to the pass. They need to make sure Purdy is calm and not pressing against a great pass rush, so the easiest way to do that is to feed McCaffrey the ball a lot.

McCaffrey can also be dynamic as a receiver in this game. He’s done that his whole career and the Chiefs have been giving up some catches to the backs in the playoffs. The 49ers have to use McCaffrey as much as possible in this game. That is why he has the best Super Bowl MVP odds for a non-quarterback.


Chiefs Wide Receivers: Rashee Rice or Bust?

You can easily argue the wide receiver position cost the Chiefs wins this year against the Lions, Eagles, and Bills. It was essentially just 2 players in Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) with their drops and an offsides penalty.

The Chiefs’ wide receivers led the league in dropped passes, but things have cleaned up on that end. It is no coincidence things got better once Toney and Skyy Moore were out injured as Toney has not appeared since Week 15. He could return punts in this game.

Unleashing the Rookie

But around Week 12, the Chiefs finally started unleashing Rashee Rice more, and the rookie has stepped up as a quality target for Mahomes. He can get deep but can also catch the short ones and move the chains. He has been very active this postseason but should look even better in this game after getting a week off to heal some injuries.

Still, Rice needs to be a star in this group as the Chiefs have been attacking the 49ers through the air with their wideouts in past matchups, including last season when JuJu Smith-Schuster and MVS both went over 100 yards.

The Hidden Gem

Maybe MVS is that hidden gem again this week like he’s been in the postseason. He has 3 catches of 30-plus yards in the last 2 games in Buffalo and Baltimore. He is the big-play receiver in this offense, and he has finally started making big plays. You have to attack these San Francisco corners as the weakest link in that defense, so maybe MVS is the answer to that instead of someone like Justin Watson or Toney.

Do keep in mind the 49ers just survived Detroit because Josh Reynolds dropped some huge passes on 3rd and 4th down in the 3rd quarter. That could bite the Chiefs here too as it has been a problem this season, but if Mahomes keeps the ball going to Pacheco, Rice, and a certain tight end, the Chiefs should be fine.

And please don’t give Mecole Hardman any touches. He can’t track the ball in the air and his gadget plays have been a net negative for the Chiefs this year.

49ers Wide Receivers: Could Be a Deebo Night

The 49ers have better wide receivers than the Chiefs, though they have tough matchups with those corners. That is why it could be a Deebo Samuel night as he can turn a short pass into a huge gain with the best of them. His YAC is off the charts every year, and he should be healthier after a shoulder injury against the Packers.

We always talk about the other skill players in this offense and leave out Brandon Aiyuk for some reason. He only is their best natural route runner and led the team with over 1,300 receiving yards. He also led the league with 70.5% of his targets leading to successful gains based on the down and distance (min. 50 targets to lead).

Playoffs Connection

In the playoffs, the Purdy to Aiyuk connection has not looked as hot. Half of their yards came on a fluke 51-yard catch against Detroit that should have been intercepted. It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs can shut down another top wideout in Aiyuk, and if the 49ers are content with that as long as the other weapons are doing big things, including McCaffrey as a receiver and runner.

The 49ers are adequately deep though. Jauan Jennings can make plays as a WR3 in this offense, so that could be another way to take attention away from Aiyuk.


The Tight End Battle: Travis Kelce vs. George Kittle

Maybe they weren’t at their best in 2023, but Travis Kelce and George Kittle have been the best tight ends in the NFL over the last several years. They took up the mantle for Rob Gronkowski, who retired early. Both are a joy to watch, and both had exactly 6 catches for 98 yards when these teams last met in 2022. Kelce didn’t have a touchdown while Kittle did that day.

But Kelce could have the edge in this one as the Chiefs are back to relying heavily on him. He caught all 11 of his targets for 116 yards against the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. He scored the only touchdown a tight end scored against All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton, and he has 3 touchdowns in his last 2 games on the road.

Football In Love

We know Kelce is under the microscope for dating Taylor Swift, and her travel from Japan to the game is going to be documented online. He’s not going to disappoint in front of her in this huge game. Kelce should have a stellar night and one of these tight ends could become the first ever to win a Super Bowl MVP award.

But Kittle might be asked to block more if the Chiefs are going to send the house at Purdy with blitzes. Kittle’s receiving stats are not as consistent as Kelce’s for that reason, and his numbers on the road also tend to dip. But given the opportunities, he is a dynamic receiver, and it should be fun to watch these two compete for their teams.


Chiefs Defense and Special Teams: Finish the Job

The Chiefs have spent this entire season proving they are a legitimately elite defense under coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, the architect of the Giants’ upset win over the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He knows how to prepare for these big games, though the Chiefs did allow 35 points to the Eagles last year, the most ever by a Super Bowl loser.

But the 2023 Chiefs have not allowed any team to score more than 27 points. They have held 19-of-20 opponents under 25 points too, tying the 1925 Frankford Yellow Jackets and 2000 Ravens for the most such games in a season. Historic stuff, but really just consistent effort.

Technicalities

You could see it in Week 1 when they technically held the Detroit offense to 14 points without Chris Jones, their best player, active that night. Kadarius Toney coughed up 7 points on a pick-6 that should have been a catch.

That’s the thing with this defense. If the offense doesn’t put them in bad field position, they will do their job and hold the scoreboard down. They finished No. 2 in sacks and No. 2 in pressure rate with 2nd-year edge rusher George Karlaftis stepping up to help Jones in the pass rush.

They have some stellar corners in L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie. It was Sneed who punched the ball out from Zay Flowers at the 1-yard line in the AFC Championship Game.

Time to Step Up

The Chiefs are going to have to step up the run defense and prove they can contain Christian McCaffrey. That’s possibly the biggest matchup in the game. But if they can contain McCaffrey and get after Purdy with this rush to force some mistakes, that streak of not giving up more than 27 points should stay intact.

As for the special teams, getting Toney to return punts could actually work out. He had a 65-yard punt return in the 4th quarter of last year’s Super Bowl win against the Eagles. But just don’t throw him a pass on offense.

Kicker Harrison Butker definitely gives the Chiefs an edge in this game. He has made multiple game-tying and game-winning field goals in the playoffs, and his regular season resume is quite strong too. He did miss a first-quarter field goal in last year’s Super Bowl, but when it comes to the game on the line, you can feel confident with Butker.

49ers Defense and Special Teams: On Shaky Ground

We normally think of the 49ers as an elite defense with Nick Bosa, and they were No. 3 in points allowed this year. But they have struggled down the stretch and it is hard to say this defense is as strong as the ones the team had in 2019, 2021, and 2022.

We talked about the Chiefs facing McCaffrey, but teams are running and scoring on the 49ers now too. In 5 of their last 6 games, the 49ers have allowed over 100 rushing yards and 21 points.

The 49ers have already had 2 games this postseason where they allowed over 130 rushing yards and 21 points. The only other team to do that and win a Super Bowl was the 2014 Patriots, a defense that needed game-clinching interceptions to beat the Ravens and Seahawks (Malcolm Butler at the 1-yard line) that year.

External help

The 49ers needed the Packers to miss a field goal to keep that score down in the divisional round. They needed Josh Reynolds to drop those passes and for Dan Campbell to bypass some 4th-down field goals that Andy Reid would be less likely to bypass with Butker. They still gave up 31 points that day and were ravaged on the ground.

Still, even last year’s defense was roasted by Mahomes for 423 passing yards in San Francisco, so maybe this has shootout written all over it if the 49ers are going to beat Mahomes for the 1st time.

One thing the 49ers hope it doesn’t come down to is a field goal. Rookie kicker Jake Moody was the 99th pick in the draft but has not lived up to that lofty standard yet. He missed a 41-yard field goal to win the game in Cleveland earlier this year, and he has missed early kicks in both playoff games.

The Chiefs already survived a playoff game in Buffalo after a shaky kicker missed from 44 yards out. Moody is even shakier than that, but at least the game will be indoors.

Recent Articles

Caesars
Ease of Use
5.0

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.5

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.5

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Play Store Rating
4.0

User ratings on the Google Play Store

Odds Quality
4.0

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

BetWay Sportsbook logo
Ease of Use
5.0

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.6

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.4

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Odds Quality
4.3

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Odds Quality
4.3

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Bet365
Odds Quality
4.7

How the sportsbook's odds stack up against competitors

Play Store Rating
4.7

User ratings on the Google Play Store

Ease of Use
4.5

Simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform's design

Welcome Bonuses
4.3

Offers available upon initial signup

App Store Rating
4.1

User ratings on the Apple App Store

Join the
OddsTrader Newsletter
Table of Contents
oddstraderLogo
Follow us on

© OddsTrader 2024 All Rights Reserved

21+ Seek help with a gambling addiction at 1-800-Gambler. OddsTrader is licensed to operate in NJ, NY, PA, IN, CO, IA, IL, VA, WV, TN, CT, MI, AZ, LA, WY, OR, KS, DC, MA & OH.