Super Bowl LVIII, featuring the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs kicks off in just a few hours. The 49ers are currently 1.5-point favorites with bettors at DraftKings Sportsbooks, with the over/under set at 47.5, and a Moneyline of -120 for the Niners, +100 for the Chiefs.
Despite those numbers, I believe that should San Francisco win tonight, it will be an upset. The Chiefs have played off the “no one gives us respect” card for some time now, and to do that in the Super Bowl against the defending Super Bowl champs is probably all the motivation they need to bring their A-game.
You can’t simply say “I’m team red” this time. There will also be no tie. No bets on whether or not the sideline shenanigans outshine those of Las Vegas’ main strip. In many ways, there may be no better place to hold a Super Bowl than in Vegas. Entertainment is built in, but it’ll cost ya. Chances are those in Nevada for Super Bowl XLVIII will separate themselves from many thousands of dollars each, be that by way of tickets to the game and all the pre-game partying, or those in town just to take in the entire Sin City experience and using an NFL game as the best excuse.
Hopefully, you’ll appreciate the dozen of pages I sifted through showcasing photo after photo of people departing their team-chartered flights. Trust me, there are a lot of pictures of dudes walking off their plane. Lots. Somehow, I managed to find something that seemed to work well enough, though it’d be great if more photographers understood the importance of both landscape and portrait content as it relates to our digital, ahem, landscape. But I digress...
It doesn’t always have to make sense. Sometimes it just needs to make money. That’s where Las Vegas and game predictions come into play, hopefully benefiting those who choose to follow the advice this weekend of someone like me.
What’s in the Kansas City Chiefs’ favor?
Experience, above all else. Winning another Super Bowl would certainly be amazing for many Chiefs players who weren’t a part of priors wins (or who didn’t get to play in those games even while on the roster). But the key players — they’re essentially the same who’ve been a part of every Super Bowl victory. The moment will not prove too big for Patrick Mahomes, nor Travis Kelce, and certainly not Andy Reid. Running back Isiah Pacheco is a stud who runs like he’s possessed by the ghosts of Earl Campbell and Marion Barber. Pacheco’s a lot of fun to watch, for any fan of football. Kansas City also has as clutch kicker. The Niners, they have a rookie kicker who’s been a bit shaky at times in the postseason.
What’s in the San Francisco 49ers’ favor?
The Niners have what might be the NFL’s most stacked roster, and I’ll even say that quarterback Brock Purdy has done some incredible things this season. The recent comparisons to an early Drew Brees seem fairly spot on when discussing Purdy. His brilliance within Kyle Shanahan’s offense shouldn’t detract from what he’s accomplished. After all, the game’s most accomplished and storied quarterback, Tom Brady, was largely a system quarterback who relied on intelligence while running the offense. Where Purdy goes from here is anyone’s guess, but the early signs are very promising. If he can continue to filter passes and tosses to the likes of running back Christian McCaffrey, do-it-all receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk — well, the Niners might just win the Super Bowl for the first time in almost 30 years.
Defense. Both teams field an impressive defense, though it’s likely most would side with the Chiefs here. How each team’s stop unit holds up could prove to be the key to the game.
Bills Mafia saw Kansas City’s Achilles heel on defense first-hand — they struggle to contain the run. For some insane reason, the Baltimore Ravens didn’t get that memo and all but abandoned the run in any form, losing to KC. Will the Niners do the same? No way. You can be sure they’re very familiar with the game tape from Bills-Chiefs a few weeks ago, and Shanahan has already proven to be a man committed to McCaffrey. Even if the runs aren’t going anywhere to start, expect San Fran to continue giving McCaffrey chances. He eventually breaks one, and it’s often to the house.
Similar to the Niners, the Chiefs boast a ferocious defensive line, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo brings pressure like few others. With a secondary capable of shutting down teams’ best receiving threats, you can expect to see the Chiefs harass Brock Purdy early and often... repeating the effort all night long. Preventing Purdy from getting comfortable and in rhythm should be goal number-one for KC. What will be interesting is watching how the Chiefs’ linebackers hold up against the variety of threats over the middle. Kittle, Samuel, Aiyuk, and McCaffrey could have a field day in the middle of the field.
Super Bowl LVIII: the bottom line
What do I really think will happen this evening? The Kansas City Chiefs win their second-consecutive Super Bowl, their third in five seasons, and the franchise’s fourth overall. Mahomes and company (because there’s more to the Chiefs than just Patrick) finally conquered the narrative that they hadn’t played nor won a road playoff game. Twice. In consecutive weeks. Against really good football teams — the two, then one seed in fact. I don’t see this moment as too big for an organization that’s suddenly very familiar with success and these situations.
What appears to be new this season is an elevated level of outward attitude by Mahomes. You saw it in losing to the Bills during the regular season, then again as he exited the field and spoke at the podium following his team’s victory at Highmark Stadium in the Divisional Round. Some quarterbacks struggle with such outward displays. The ones who harness it seem to find greatness. That’s Mahomes. Certainly, every Buffalo Bills fan is already tired of hearing it, and perhaps a bit frustrated by the idea of Mahomes as the new GOAT so soon after Tom Brady’s retirement. But facts are facts in the NFL. Until someone else says otherwise, this is Mahomes’ league.
There’s certain to be plenty of motivation on both side, and for the Niners that comes in the form of retribution for having lost this game to the Chiefs in January of 2020. Add in San Francisco’s cap situation beginning next season and this could be their best opportunity to win it all with the current regime. Unfortunately, I think the moment will still prove too big for them, and mistakes will allow Mahomes to take control of the game. In truth, while the 49ers’ comeback win against the Detroit Lions was impressive, it also took an enormous amount of luck. Tonight, that luck runs out.
TLDR: Never bet against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, especially when they’re made to be the underdog.
Super Bowl LVIII Game pick
34-27, Chiefs over 49ers
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