We crushed the Conference title round, going 3-1 on the week (only loss was the total points in the AFC Title game). Over the past two weeks, we went 5-1 moneyline and 5-3 ATS. The games played out eerily close to how we anticipated, as the clock on the Packers struck midnight just before kickoff and the Chiefs offense and improved defense against the run was too much for the Titans to overcome.
I put it out there in Conference title week, calling the Packers frauds and proclaiming the Chiefs would absolutely commit to stopping the run. It paid off for me, but I’m not going to be as bold this week, especially considering just how good both of these teams have played down the stretch. It seems like it’s been a month since the Conference Title games were played, but now it’s time for the big one, so buckle up as we dive deep into this highly intriguing matchup and all the prop bets and trends that go along with them.
This is the end for us for the football season. It was a fun ride as the 2019 season comes to an end, but it was also a successful one for us. On the season, our pick percentage came in at an impressive 53.44%.
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2019 Regular Season Record: 256-223 (53.44%)
Super Bowl Sunday is February 2nd at 6:30 PM ET
Chiefs -127 vs 49ers +104 O/U: 54.5
There is a lot of historical data indicating the 49ers will win this game, but the Chiefs dynamic, explosive offense leads us to believe things may not go as history has indicated.
To me, this will be the most difficult Super Bowl I’ve had to pick since the Ravens played the 49ers. We have a team in Kansas City who dominated down the stretch, led by a quarterback who’s health has been steadily improving since Week 10 or so. The Chiefs defense has also come up big down the stretch, limiting opposing passing offenses all season, but managing to stymie the Titans stubborn rushing attack in the Conference title game.
The 49ers are one of the most dynamic rushing attacks in the league. They run a variety of pre-snap motion, utilize a fullback, and run plenty off tackle. They have the best fullback and tight end in the NFL, and the tight end (Kittle) absolutely loves blocking. Despite my uncertainty with picking this game correctly, I think there are two primary scenarios that could occur here. The first is the one I believe will happen but the second is the one I feel is possible if the Chiefs manage to focus their efforts stopping the run.
Scenario A (23 %)
I think this game could be played ten times and we could get a number of outcomes, obviously. That’s sort of how these hypotheticals go. I did a decent job predicting what would happen in the Conference title games, so here we go.
In this scenario, which I believe the most likely, the 49ers will be able to run the ball relatively effectively. The 49ers will run a variety of run plays Baskin Robbins would be jealous of. They’ll run tosses, sweeps, counters, traps, draws, end-arounds, and reverses. They’ll do this early and often in the game to try to see where the defense vacates in the secondary. Once Shanahan has identified those vacated spaces (assuming the Chiefs will run a shallow zone), he’ll begin to attack the middle of the field, as well as utilizing a plethora of screen passes to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to draw the secondary to those stacked parts of the field.
As the first half wears on, you’ll see the 49ers utilize more play-action, attacking those soft spots vacated by the Chiefs as they adjust to stop the run game and stacked sides of the field. The Chiefs will run their offense like normal, understanding the 49ers will run their modified wide 9/Cover 3 and only blitz around their expected rate of 20%. The Chiefs should start relatively slowly, testing the defense without taking too many early risks.
This should allow the 49ers to pace the game and keep it closely in their control. I think the 49ers will be able to wear down the Chiefs defense and it’s going to put a lot of pressure on the Chiefs to stay in the game. I think it’s going to stay close throughout in this scenario, but the Chief’s inability to halt the 49ers dynamic rushing offense will pressure them to make a push late, but I don’t think it’ll be enough. Scenario A (23 %): 49ers 27 Chiefs 24
Scenario B (17%)
This scenario is the second-most likely to occur, among the 10, according to my algorithm. In this scenario, the Chiefs defense manages to thwart the 49ers dynamic rush. Pat Mahomes breaks containment, extends plays, and finds soft spots in the zones, sprinkling in some deep passes to take the top off the 49ers defense. Travis Kelce plays a big role in this scenario, finding soft spots throughout the defense and ancillary threats like Mecole Hardman beat their coverage and get the ball in space.
In this scenario, it’s reasonable to expect an early second half lead gets stretched as Jimmy Garoppolo is forced into action at an uncomfortable rate, resulting in a few turnovers and inflating the Chiefs lead to an insurmountable one.
Scenario B (17%): Chiefs 35 49ers 17
Betting numbers for the Super Bowl
The early figures are in for the betting percentages on the Title game and props for MVP and it seems a little sharper this season than I would expect.
According to the DraftKings Sportsbook, 68% of the action is on the Chiefs spread and 45% on the Chiefs Moneyline. Conversely, 64% of the total amount wagered on spreads (aka, the handle) is on the 49ers spread of +1.5. The handle on the moneyline also favors the 49ers at 55%. So, what does this all mean? This indicates the sharp bet is for the 49ers. We should get more of the big fish as the week goes along, so check with the DraftKings sportsbook to see where the action leans in the hours leading up to the game.
As for the player props, the MVP line is about how you’d expect it. For the pass-heavy Chiefs, Pat Mahomes is the current favorite handle, garnering 32% of the money, while Raheem Mostert, the lead rusher for the run-heavy 49ers, is second with 17%.
While those props are fine, there are a few sneaky ones that may be worth a few bucks, just in case. The bottom line is, if the Chiefs have three or more passing touchdowns, Mahomes is probably winning the MVP. He’s going to make a few amazing plays and probably have a few good runs, but the likelihood of anyone else winning the MVP on the Chiefs side is small, given his propensity to spread the ball around.
On the other side, Raheem Mostert should be a pretty good bet, but consider the fact Tevin Coleman should be around to play and the idea the Chiefs are going to have to sell out more against the run, and you’ll come to the conclusion the 49ers are likely going to have to win through the air. Unlike Mahomes, Garoppolo has been known to favor certain targets throughout the game, so I like the odds for the explosive Deebo Samuel. Samuel has a decent line for receptions in the game (6) and you know he’s likely to get a few carries on end-arounds.
He’s sitting at +3300 right now, so you have to imagine if he has two touchdowns or just one with a lot of involvement and Jimmy doesn’t absolutely go off as a passer, Deebo could steal the MVP. I also kind of like the idea of Richard Sherman winning the award. If Sherman gets two picks and the 49ers win with no real disproportionate effort from anyone on offense, he could take the award. At +8000, a $5 bet could win you $400 so I like the odds, especially considering the percent of the field Sherman will be occupying against a pass-happy offense.