After two weeks of prognostication, examination and rumination, the Super Bowl LIV is finally upon us and here are our expert picks. Come Sunday night, all the predictions will give way to the reality of a finely-matched contest between the league’s best offense in Kansas City and the top defense in San Francisco. But before the countdown clock reaches zeroes, the staff writers at SportsIntel.com give their NFL betting advice, picking a winner against the spread, the over-under choice and a prop bet each writer found to their liking. Come late Sunday night, we’ll see which of our accomplished scribes came closest to picking all the winners.
Sports Intel’s Super Bowl LIV Expert Picks
ATS Pick: San Francisco 49ers +1.5
This is my least favorite bet of the three, but I like the Niners to win it all in this Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV. To me, they are the more balanced football team and have the ability to not only rush the ball but more importantly, rush the passer. They have the 2nd highest pressure rate, and that ability to get to Mahomes without blitizing just might be the biggest factor that swings this football game.
Look for this game to be a tight one throughout, with it coming down to the last possession. Because of that, I see some value in the points. That, and of course the reasons listed above.
O/U Pick: Under 27 1st Half
I do lean the game under, but don’t trust what is going to happen in the second half. Because of that, my favorite total pick is actually the first half under. I see both teams coming out slow, as teams always do in the Super Bowl. Nerves, both coaches testing each other out, whatever you want to call it, but a lot of teams and players usually start off slow in the SB.
We also know the Niners are going to try to run the ball no matter what, which will eat up the clock. Depending on the halftime score and the game script, this might all go out the window in the second half, but look for Shanahan to pound the rock and the Niners defense to do their thing at least in the first half.
Favorite Prop: Kittle +1.5 more receiving yards than Kelce
This might seem like a tough one just because of how good and how even these two have been this season in terms of impacts to their respective teams. In fact, both Kittle and Kelce have pretty much been toss-ups in regards to yards per game over the past two seasons. So why Kittle then?
To me, it is all about matchups. Kelce is going up against a Niners defense that has done well against TEs all season long. SF has actually been the league’s stingiest defense to tight ends in multiple categories this year. On the flip side, Kittle faces a Chiefs defense that has been very susceptible to the TE position as KC has yielded the sixth-most yards to TEs this season.
While Kelce might end up with more catches due to the RPO and some zone defense, look for Kittle to have racked up more yards when it is all said and done.
On a side note, make sure you shop around for all of these listed bets for the best number. Every single point and juice amount counts when it is all said and done.
ATS Pick: Kansas City Chiefs – 1.5
The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl LIV is expected to be one of the closer and more hotly-contested championship games in recent memory. While I agree that this will be a good game, I don’t think that the 49ers are good enough to quite hang with KC and cover the 1.5-point spread.
When closing as ATS favorites, the Chiefs are 10-4-1 against the spread with a winning margin of 11.4 and a +4.4 pts differential vs the spread. KC is a perfect 2-0 ATS in the playoffs with an impressive winning margin of 15.5 points and a differential vs the spread of 6.8 points. These numbers become even more staggering when you consider the hole KC had to dig themselves out of in each of those two games.
So why back the Chiefs ATS?
Well, quite frankly, Patrick Mahomes is the driving force behind my confidence in this pick. When he gets a head of steam, there is just no beating the Chiefs and I don’t care what team lines up against them. The Texans will be having nightmares all offseason over what Mahomes did to them and their 24-0 first-half lead. The Titans suffered a similar fate, surrendering a 10-0 early lead and eventually losing 35-24. This offense is averaging 43 points per game in the postseason and has left a wake of broken dreams behind them en route to this Super Bowl appearance.
Let’s not sleep on the Chiefs’ defense and appreciate what they did to the Titans. Tennessee had a huge surge of momentum after punching up and beating both the Patriots and Ravens on the back of Derrick Henry who tore apart both squads. When the AFC Championship rolled around, however, Henry was limited to just 69 yards on the ground after amassing almost 400 yards in the two weeks prior. They also managed four sacks of Deshaun Watson a week before and should be in line for another strong performance on Sunday.
I think that the Chiefs’ defense does enough to force a few key mistakes from Jimmy G and the Niners and cover the -1.5 spread with ease.
O/U Pick: Over 54.5
Shifting the focus to the betting total, the line can be found right now at 54 or 54.5 for Super Bowl LIV. While current betting reports have the spread bets split about down the middle with 52% of the money with KC, the total is seeing almost 70% of the action betting the over.
There is a lot of reasons on the Niners side of the ball to take a look at betting the under. They successfully thwarted the offensive attacks from both the Packers and Vikings and rank in the top-3 in overall defense this season. Thing is, as mentioned above, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are a freight train when they get up and going and I don’t think the 49ers will be able to stop them consistently.
Watching how quickly Andy Reid’s offense can put up points and it’s easy to see why the money is piling up on the over. Again I’m going to side with the betting public here and make a wager on this game to go over the 54 point total.
Favorite Prop: Different Chiefs with rushing attempt: Over 4.5
Rounding out this trio of Super Bowl picks is a quick prop on the Chiefs offense. There are odds for how many different players on KC log a rushing attempt at O/U 4.5 with the over +125. It’s no secret that the Chiefs really like to spread the ball around, evidenced by 10 of their 16 regular-season games featuring at least five separate rushers. They even played a pair of games that saw six different Chiefs have an attempt on the ground.
Mahomes, Williams, Hill, and Watkins each had an attempt last week and I think that Shady McCoy joins that club on Sunday to cash this prop.
ATS Pick: San Francisco 49ers +1.5
I may not be in a position to consider putting up $1 million on Super Bowl LIV like some gambler did at the MGM Mirage, but this upcoming NFL Championship game is undoubtedly drawing my attention.
While the Kansas City Chiefs have been given the benefit of the doubt and are expected to win what should ultimately be a very tight contest, the San Francisco 49ers are certainly ready for battle. If I were to spend $1 million on a bet, or even a series of bets, I would definitely have to consider putting it all on San Francisco.
The Chiefs are favored by 1.5 points, an indication of what oddsmakers expect to see during this game – no big blowout, no lopsided result. Just hard football played by two teams who have gotten this far more off merit and skill than luck. Despite the odds leaning toward the Chiefs, the 49ers have their spreads, as well, and a +2 (-114) offered by DraftKings looks pretty enticing. San Fran is going to figure out how to shut down Patrick Mahomes, the biggest threat on the field, and Jimmy Garoppolo, combined with running back Raheem Mostert, will get the offensive job done.
O/U Pick: Under 54.5
After San Fran and Kansas City were the last two teams standing, oddsmakers started working their magic, crunching numbers to determine the lines, spreads and the laundry list of prop bets that are now available. What they determined was that the Over/Under for the game should sit at 52.5; however, that number has now shifted upward slightly to 54.5.
While other figures are out there, as well, this current setting is a good benchmark. In virtually every scenario, taking the Under 54.5 at -105 makes much more sense for the upcoming game.
Looking back at the year, the Niners averaged 2.4 points per drive, while the Chiefs averaged just 2.6 during regular season action. In the playoffs, the two teams combined for a touchdown on virtually every other drive, leading to an average, between the two, of 3.3 points per drive. Looking back at the history of NFL games and the average number of drives per game, it would appear that each team should score around 33 points this year, which would be a solid case for the Over.
However, the 1.5 spread shows that this is going to be a defensive game, and this is going to keep offenses out of the end zone. The result is a lower-scoring game with money to be made on the Under.
Favorite Prop: 49ers to win by 1-6 points
Looking at all of the evidence, San Francisco should be able to secure the victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV, even if it comes at a price. The Niners have experience, talent and superior athleticism, while the Chiefs have Mahomes. Keeping with the spread prediction, a prop bet for the Niners to win by 1-6 points has +375 odds, and this is looking enticing.
It’s difficult to imagine a final score that is separated by more than just a couple of points (although previous Super Bowls have proven that anything can happen), and this one is going to come down to the wire. In the end, though, San Fran will be holding the Lombardi Trophy.