The week we’ve been waiting all season for is finally here! Before I breakdown my picks for Super Bowl LIV, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you guys for reading this column all season long. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had, and of course, made some money along the way.
Ok, enough of the sappy stuff, here is our NFL betting breakdown for the big game:
Vik’s Picks Super Bowl LIV
San Francisco 49ers +1.5 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
This matchup is a fascinating one for so many reasons, the biggest one being: We have arguably the NFL’s best offense in the Chiefs going up against the league’s best defense in the Niners.
This is a coin flip game to me, but the Niners do present some issues for the Chiefs. So, since we’ve been riding high on the Niners all playoffs long, I am going with them again in the Super Bowl. They’ll need to play a ball control style offense and keep the ball away from the insane Chiefs offense. Overall, the Niners have worn teams out physically with their running game and OL, and that should continue against a Chiefs team that has not been great at stopping the run this season.
When on offense, I see Raheem Mostert having himself another monster game facing the Chiefs who are 29th-ranked in DVOA against the run. San Fran has the advantage on the OL and DL in this matchup and the team that usually wins the trenches usually wins and covers in football. We’ve seen it time and time again, especially in the Super Bowl. Also, Kittle should have his way like usual, so look for him to have a big game as well.
Defensively, while the Chiefs offense is humming right now, they have shown some flaws in the playoffs, especially with their slow starts. Look for SF to take advantage of that, especially early on.
Breaking it down even further, KC has trailed by a cumulative score of 38-7 after the first quarter of their past three playoff games. And, in fact, this is something that has plagued them all season long. The Chiefs have scored three or fewer first-quarter points nine times this season and were shut out six times. If they start slow again, SF isn’t the type of team to let you come back. Especially due to their pass rush.
We’ve talked about this before, but the beauty of the San Francisco defense is their ability to bring that pressure with just their front four, without blitzing. This is the key to stopping Mahomes Magic. If they can bring pressure with their front four without blitzing, they can limit KC’s big plays.
Here are some stats in regards to the Niners pass rush: San Francisco blitzed at the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL (20.9%) during the regular season, while still generating pressure at the second-highest clip (28.7%). The Niners finished the season second in the league in pressure rate (28.7%), which will be the key to this game. Those numbers get even better with Dee Ford healthy, and luckily for the Niners, he is back.
Along with the Niners, my favorite bet is the first half under 27. We’ve seen it time and time again, teams usually always come out tight in big games like the Super Bowl. And, I already broke down the Chiefs’ slow start issues above. Couple that with the fact that Kyle Shanahan will script their first few drives and try to implement their will by running the ball, and I see a low scoring first half. All hell might break loose in the second half, so that is why I like the first half under instead of the game under.
Let’s breakdown the side and the total from a Pros vs Joes perspective. First, when it comes to the side, it looks like the public is on the Chiefs heading into Sunday. Currently 60% of the public bets are coming in on the Chiefs. The money looks pretty split for the most part.
Next, when it comes to the total, the public is overwhelmingly on the over going into tomorrow, with more than 75% of the public hitting it. Moneywise, it looks like both the public and the sharps hit the over early, moving the line from 51.5 to 54 in most books.
In fact, this is one of the first Super Bowls I’ve seen where the sharps are split dead even on who they like as well. According to my guys at the offshore books, they’ve received heavy bets on both teams at a pretty equal rate.
Every book is a little different of course, so I went to my guy in Vegas. According to Alan Berg, Sr. Oddsmaker at the Caesars, “the Pros took early over money at 51-52. The Joes have taken anything over. They are now seeing some Pro money coming back in on the under. Sides have been pretty even for the most part.”
As always, make sure you shop around for the best lines The line is down to 1 in some books. Try to get +1.5 if you can, because every point counts against the machine known as the Chiefs. And, of course, vice versa if you are betting the Chiefs, go for the -1.
For the sake of this writeup, we will go with 1.5, because that is what I bet it at in my books. Same thing goes for the total, shop around for the best line for the bet that you want.
So, there you have it for my Super Bowl LIV picks, we like the Niners +1.5 and Under 27 first half. Good luck on all your SB Sunday bets this weekend!