© Steve Mitchell | 2020 Jan 25
© Steve Mitchell | 2020 Jan 25

SUPER BOWL LIV

Sunday, Feb. 2, at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Kickoff time: 5:30 CT (unofficial)

TV channel: Fox

(1 seed NFC) 49ers (15-3; 11-6-1 ATS) at (2 seed AFC) Chiefs (14-4; 12-5-1 ATS)

BetIndiana current line: Chiefs (minus-1 points). Total: (54.5)

Final regular-season rankings:

SF 4TH OFF; KC 17TH DEF

SF 2ND RUN; KC 26TH vs. RUN

SF 13TH PASS; KC 8TH vs. PASS

SF 2ND PTS; KC 11TH PTS ALLOWED

KC 6TH OFF; SF 2ND DEF

KC 23RD RUN; SF 17TH vs. RUN

KC 5TH PASS; SF 1ST vs. PASS

KC 3RD PTS; SF 5TH PTS ALLOWED

SF T10TH TO/TA; KC T7TH TO-TA

OVERVIEW

The early Super Bowl 54 odds (the morning after the NFL title games) actually indicated an EVEN matchup between the Chiefs and 49ers. But Betonline.ag listed KC as a 1 ½-point favorite on the strength of their AFC title game win over the Titans, even though the 49ers put on a similarly dominant display against the Packers. Because the game was considered almost a pick 'em, there was also little difference in the moneylines; early straight-up bettors would need to wager $125 to win $100 on the Chiefs, while 49ers backers could get even money (plus-105) on their side.

Separately, oddsmakers were showing respect for the respective offenses led by KC’s Patrick Mahomes and SF’s Jimmy Garoppolo. Betonline's over/under opened at 53, which would put both teams' scores in the mid-20s with the point spread close to zero. Vegas oddsmakers' lines were in alignment with Betonline's early number. The Westgate opened at pick-'em while Caesars listed the Chiefs at minus-1.5 before going to minus-1.

Chiefs lead all-time series with Niners 7-6-0 and have won three of their last 4 games vs. SF, including a 38-27 win at KC in teams’ most recent matchup in Week Three last season in which Garoppolo suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Chiefs led Niners 35-10 at halftime of that game, but Niners ended up outgaining KC 406-384, including an impressive 178-77 rushing edge.

In CHIEFS’ Week 3 win over Niners last season, Mahomes had 24-38-3 TDs (to 3 different receivers)-0 INTs (115.5 QB rating) while getting sacked 2 times and 5-7 rushing with a long of 7; RB Kareem Hunt (now with Browns) had 18-44-2 rushing with a long of 10; TE Travis Kelce had 8-114-10 (14.3 ypc) on 10 targets with a long of 25; WR Sammy Watkins had 5-55-1 receiving on 8 targets, including a 12-yard TD catch, and 2-10 rushing with a long of 11; WR Tyreek Hill had 2-51 receiving on 5 targets with a long of 42 and 2-5 rushing with a long of 5; RB Damien Williams had 2-16 receiving on 2 targets with a long of 9 but zero rushing; TE Demetrius Harris (now with Browns) had a 13-yard TD catch; and LOLB Justin Houston (now with Colts) registered 2 of KC’s 4 sacks and forced 2 fumbles.

In NINERS’ Week 3 loss to Chiefs last season, Garoppolo put up impressive numbers with 20-30-251-2 TDs-0 INTs (114.7 QB rating) while getting sacked 4 times, 3-23 rushing with a long of 13 and 3 fumbles (none lost) in what turned out being his final game in 2018; RB Matt Breida led Niners’ robust 29-178-1 ground game (6.1 ypc) with 10-90 rushing with a long of 26 and also had 3-27 receiving on 3 targets with a long of 13; TE George Kittle had 5-79 receiving on 7 targets with a long of 23; WR Marquise Goodwin had 3-30-1 receiving on 4 targets, including a 11-yard TD catch; FB Kyle Juszczyk had 2-38-1 receiving, including a 35-yard TD catch; and MLB Fred Warner had a PB and a team-leading 11 tackles.

49ers vs. Chiefs Betting Trends

- San Francisco is 5-2 against the spread (ATS) in its last seven games.

- San Francisco is 4-1 straight up in its last five games.

- Kansas City is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games.

- The total has hit the under in four of Kansas City's last seven games.

More pertinent 49ers vs. Chiefs Stats

- San Francisco is averaging 30.2 ppg including the playoffs (No. 2 in the NFL).
- San Francisco is surrendering 18.9 ppg including the playoffs (T-No. 5 in the NFL).
- Kansas City is averaging 29.8 ppg including the playoffs (No. 3 in the NFL).
- Kansas City is surrendering 20.2 ppg including the playoffs (No. 12 in the NFL).

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NINERS, whose all-time playoff record is 33-21, have won 5 Super Bowls in six appearances, but the Ravens beat SF 34-31 in Niners’ most recent SB appearance in 2012 playoffs. Niners have an almost entirely different cast and look now. Fans in the Bay Area still believe the Niners were robbed on a non-call on pass interference in the end zone in the final seconds of their last Super Bowl appearance.

NINERS head coach Kyle Shanahan joins his father, Mike Shanahan, as the only father-son duo to appear as head coaches in the Super Bowl.

NINERS are the third team to make it to the Super Bowl a year after winning four or fewer games. Cincinnati did it in 1988, and the Rams in 1999, with the Rams the only team to go from four wins to a championship in one year.

NINERS steamrolled Packers 37-20 in NFC title game with former journeyman RB Raheem Mostert making Garoppolo mostly a spectator with his history-making 4-TD, 220-yard rushing performance.

NINERS ended up being outgained 358-354 by GB, but they had a massive 285-62 rushing edge (6.8 ypc), and their defense registered 3 sacks for 30 yards in losses and 3 takeaways.

NINERS stud rookie DE Nick Bosa, the prize for last year's rough season as the No. 2 overall pick, helped set the tone in NFC title win when he ended Green Bay's second drive of the game with a 13-yard sack of Aaron Rodgers.

NINERS’ Mostert, a former special-teams standout, did much of the rest in a remarkable redemption story for a former surfer who carried the ball only eight times in his first three seasons in the NFL while bouncing between teams.

Mostert has become a key part of the NFC's top team this year, leading the NINERS with 772 yards rushing in the regular season and delivering a performance for the ages in the NFC title game. He had the 2nd-most yards rushing in a playoff game to Eric Dickerson's 248 for the Rams on Jan. 4, 1986, and was the first player to rush for at least 4 TDs and 200 yards in a playoff game.

Mostert got started when he burst 36 yards on a 3rd-and-8 trap play to open the scoring on NINERS’ 2nd drive and kept ripping off long runs behind impressive blocking. "He's so fast," Niners OT Joe Staley said of Mostert. "He's incredibly fast. He's fearless going through the hole. He has trust in the linemen to block it up. He's a great running back."

NINERS’ Mostert added TD runs of 9 and 18 yards in the 2nd quarter and had 160 yards rushing at the half, becoming the only player in NFL history to rush for at least 150 yards and three TDs in the first half of a playoff game. Mostert added a 22-yard TD run in the third quarter.

NINERS asked very little in NFC title win of Garoppolo, who threw only 8 passes thanks to the big-play running game and lopsided score. He went 24 minutes of game time between his 6th and 7th passes and finished with 6 completions for 77 yards, which tied for the 2nd-fewest passes thrown in a playoff game. Miami threw six and seven passes on the Super Bowl following the 1973 season.

NINERS WR Deebo Samuel, who has proven to be a fearless receiver across the middle of the field, had some explosive moments in NFC title win with 2-46 rushing on 3 targets with a long of 30 and 2-43 rushing with a long of 32.

NINERS Pro Bowl TE/leading receiver George Kittle, meanwhile, did very little receiving for the 2nd straight game, managing just one catch for 19 yards, but he continued to more than earn his keep with his excellent run-blocking that makes him arguably the league’s most complete tight end.

Defensive standouts for NINERS in NFC title win besides Bosa were CBs Richard Sherman and Emmanuel Moseley with 1 INT each; DE Arik Armstead, who had a sack, a FF and 3 tackles; CB K’K'Waun Williams who had a sack, a FF and 7 tackles; and SS Jaquiski Tartt, who had a team-high 8 tackles.

Check status of NINERS RB Tevin Coleman, who left in the first half of NFC title win with a shoulder injury. Coleman led Niners’ rushing attack in divisional playoff win over Vikings with 22-105-2 rushing.

NINERS’ No. 2 defense is operating in high gear. The 49ers allowed 281.8 yards per game in the regular season, second only to the Patriots. They held Minnesota to 10 points in divisional playoff win and Rodgers and the Packers to 20 points after taking a 27-0 halftime lead.

Bosa and NINERS’ entire defensive line have been making plays all season. The four first-round draft picks the team spent on defensive linemen the past five seasons and the trade for another former first-rounder in Dee Ford are paying big dividends.

The NINERS also made some schematic changes this season under new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, lining up the defensive ends out wider than in the past to create better angles to get to the quarterback and more 1-on-1 matchups.

It has worked as advertised as the NINERS increased their sack total in the regular season from 36 to 48 and went from a record-low seven takeaways to 27 in large part because of the improved pass rush.

NINERS’ Bosa and LB Dre Greenlaw were named to PFWA All-Rookie team.

NINERS Sherman's 35 INTs since entering the league in 2011 (entering NFC title game) were the most among active players during that span. Sherman will be making his third Super Bowl appearance after being one of the key parts to the Seahawks' back-to-back SB appearances in the 2013-2014 seasons.

With his 197 catches and 2,664 yards receiving ranking as the most ever by a tight end through three seasons, it's NINERS TE Kittle’s ability as a run blocker that truly sets him apart from some of the other top tight ends in the league who do most of their work in the passing game.

NINERS’ running game looks completely different when Kittle is healthy and able to seal the edge with his blocks that help fuel the outside zone running game. Entering NFC title game, SF averaged only 2.9 ypc in 3 games when Kittle was either sidelined or severely limited by injuries to his knee and ankle. That compares to a 4.8 yard average in the other games.

NINERS have 4 Pro Bowl selections: (DE Nick Bosa (starter), FB Kyle Juszczyk (starter), TE George Kittle (starter) and CB Richard Sherman (starter)) and 3 AP All-Pro selections (Kittle, 1st team; Sherman, 2nd team and DT DeForest Buckner, 2nd team).

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CHIEFS are in this year’s Super Bowl after coming up just short in OT loss to Patriots in last year’s AFC title game. Their all-time playoff record is 12-19, and they have one Super Bowl victory in two appearances.

CHIEFS had last won a conference championship when they beat Raiders 17-7 on Jan. 4, 1970, nine full months before Mahomes' father — longtime big league pitcher Pat Mahomes — was even born.

CHIEFS proceeded to “matriculate down the field” under head coach Hank Stram to a 23-7 victory over the Vikings in their last Super Bowl appearance.

The only thing missing from CHIEFS head coach Andy Reid's impressive resume is a Super Bowl title. He is seventh on the career wins list, and every coach ahead of him has a championship. Reid goes back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season, when his Eagles lost to NE. That gap is second longest to Dick Vermeil's hiatus.

Thanks to Mahomes, Reid gets another shot after Mahomes did it all in CHIEFS’ 35-24 victory over Tennessee in the AFC championship game. Mahomes threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns and led the team with 53 yards rushing, including a nifty highlight-reel 27-yard score.

Led by the dynamic Mahomes, CHIEFS offense has scored 86 points in two playoff games. One week after scoring 41 unanswered points in division title win over the Texans, they rattled off 28 unanswered points in win over Titans.

Mahomes did his usual superb job passing, but it was his 27-yard tap dance down the left sideline late in the first half that gave CHIEFS their first lead. From there, they outran the run-oriented Titans and star back Derrick Henry for AFC title crown.

As they had done in their past 3 games, the 6th-seeded Titans got started quickly. The difference at Arrowhead as opposed to Houston, NE and Baltimore was that the CHIEFS had Mahomes, WRs Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, RB Damien Williams and TE Travis Kelce on offense and a vastly upgraded defense from when they lost in last year's AFC title game.

A week after they overcame a 24-0 deficit against Houston, the CHIEFS had to rally again. Down 10-0 and 17-7, KC didn't flinch, building a 35-17 lead while controlling the clock with a strong ground game.

Naturally, Mahomes complemented that with sharp passing, spreading the ball on short and deep throws. The dagger came with a 60-yard completion to Watkins for the CHIEFS' 28th straight point midway in the final period.

CHIEFS offense gained 404 total yards and converted 6-of-10 3rd downs and their only 4th-down, while defense with Pro Bowl DT Chris Jones back in lineup limited Texans to 295 total yards, held league-leading rusher Derrick Henry to 69 yards on 19 carries after he had rushed for 588 yards in the previous three games and registered 3 sacks for 27 yards in losses.

Hill had 5-67-2 receiving on 7 targets with a long of 26; Watkins had 7-114-1 on 10 targets; Williams had 17-45-1 rushing, including a 3-yard TD run for his 7th TD in 4 playoff games with CHIEFS; and Kelce had 3-30 receiving on 4 targets, including a key 4-yard catch on 4th-and-2 to continue drive toward Hill’s first TD in AFC title win.

CHIEFS’ defense in AFC title win was led by starting safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen, who each had a PB and combined for 17 tackles (team-high 9 and 8, respectively); LB Tanoh Kpassagnon, who had 2 sacks, 2 tackles and a PB; and DE Frank Clark, who had a sack and 4 tackles. Sorensen also had a huge game in divisional playoff win over Texans.

CHIEFS will be facing a QB in Garoppolo, who followed in the footsteps of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee’s upset playoff wins over Pats and Ravens with his modest passing performance in NFC title game.

With CHIEFS’ “D” effectively putting the clamps on Henry-lead ground game, Tannehill was forced into more passing, which he did pretty effectively, throwing for 209 yards and 2 TDs without an INT (108.1 QB rating).

CHIEFS will likely have to play a much cleaner game in Super Bowl after wracking up 9 flags, many of them ill-timed, for 61 yards in losses in AFC title victory.

Reid was 1-4 in the playoffs with Alex Smith at quarterback in his first five seasons as CHIEFS head coach. He drafted Mahomes to take the team to the next level.

After making him sit behind Smith for a season, just like Donovan McNabb waited in Philadelphia, Reid took a risk. He traded Smith away following consecutive division titles and handed CHIEFS’ offense to Mahomes. All Mahomes did was win the NFL MVP award in his first year as the starter in 2018.

CHIEFS’ Reid is 22-5 in his career when he has two weeks to prepare for an opponent, so it'll be an interesting chess match against San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. "Fired up to go to Miami, got to get on a diet so I can fit into my clothes," Reid said after AFC title win. "Very proud."

CHIEFS have 6 initial Pro Bowl selections (DE Frank Clark (starter), RS Mecole Hardman (starter), WR Tyreek Hill, DT Chris Jones (starter), TE Travis Kelce (starter) and QB Patrick Mahomes) and 4 AP All-Pro selections (Hardman, 1st team; Kelce, 2nd team; S Tyrann Mathieu, 1st team DB, 2nd team S; and ORT Mitchell Schwartz, 2nd team).

JUST FOR FUN, here are Draftkings Top 10 Super Bowl MVP favorites as of Jan. 27:

Patrick Mahomes (+110)

Jimmy Garoppolo (+200)

Raheem Mostert (+500)

Tyreek Hill (+1600)

Travis Kelce (+1600)

George Kittle (+2800)

Mecole Hardman (+3300)

Damien Williams (+3300)

Tevin Coleman (+3300)

Sammy Watkins (+4000)

Tyrann Mathieu (+5000)

Nick Bosa (+5000)

Deebo Samuel (+5000)

Frank Clark (+6000)

Arik Armstead (+6600)

Matt Brieda (+6600)

Emmanuel Sanders (+6600)

Richard Sherman (+6600)

Fred Warner (+6600)

LeSean McCoy (+8000)