One game is all that remains of the 2023-24 NFL season: the Super Bowl.

Chiefs. 49ers. Game on.

Naturally, I already have Super Bowl bets on the side and total.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve seen the board especially well with spreads: 34-20-1 ATS (+11.0 units).

Given that the market has moved my direction on the bets I’ve made, I’m cautiously hopeful that we’ll have a positive finale.

I plan to add a number of props to my card as we approach kickoff. For all my positions, check out our 100% FREE bet tracker.

Let’s get into it.

Abbreviations: Check out the end of the piece for abbreviations I might use. (I don’t want to clutter up the intro by listing them here.)

Projections and consensus odds as of noon ET Tuesday, Jan. 30. 

Super Bowl 58: Chiefs vs. 49ers

  • Market: 49ers -1.5 | 47.5 O/U | ML: Chiefs +150, 49ers -120
  • Projections: 49ers -1.1 | 46.7 O/U | Chiefs +110.4, 49ers -110.4

Super Bowl 54 Rematch

As I noted in the Monday Betting Life Newsletter, I expect much to be made in the mainstream media about how this game is a rematch of the Super Bowl four years ago, when the Chiefs won 31-20 to give HC Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes their first championship.

But while this game might be marketed as a “rematch,” these two teams have changed markedly since February 2020.

Both teams have entirely new OLs: Not one starter is still around.

Both have new RB rooms and secondaries. The Chiefs have a rebuilt WR corps. The 49ers have a new QB.

For the Chiefs, just four starters from that championship team remain, and one of them — DT Derrick Nnadi (tricep, IR) — is out for the Super Bowl.

The 49ers have seven surviving starters — more than the Chiefs — but the supermajority of the team has rolled over.

For many of the players on the current rosters, what happened four years ago is meaningless: These are not the 2019-20 Chiefs and 49ers.

That said … these teams still have the same DNA.

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Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) holds the Lamar Hunt trophy after winning the AFC Championship football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


For the Chiefs, the three starters who remain are Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce and DT Chris Jones — the three most important players on the team.

For the 49ers, the seven retained starters are among the team’s top 12 most important: FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Deebo Samuel, TE George Kittle, DL Arik Armstead, EDGE Nick Bosa and LBs Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.

On offense, Juszczyk, Samuel, and Kittle enable the 49ers to be so insistently multiple. On defense, Armstead, Bosa, Warner and Greenlaw provide the muscle.

And — let’s be honest — how different is Purdy from departed starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo anyway? He’s a living Spider-Man meme.

Reid and Shanahan are still the HCs, and the Chiefs still have DC Steve Spagnuolo.

These teams are admittedly different. The Chiefs no longer have WR Tyreek Hill, and No. 1 CB Charvarius Ward defected in 2022 to the 49ers, who have added RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Brandon Aiyuk and LT Trent Williams (as well as Purdy) since Super Bowl 54.

These teams have changed, but in most of the ways that matter … they’re the same.


Super Bowl 58 Betting Percentages

Percentage data from Action Network: As of noon ET Jan. 30. 

  • Spread: 49ers - 28% bets | 37% money
  • Total: Under - 40% bets | 71% money
  • Moneyline: 71% bets | 89% money

Chiefs ATS, Total & ML Records

Includes postseason, data from Action Network.

Full Game:

  • ATS: 12-7-1 (19.6% ROI)
  • O/U: 6-14 (33.8% ROI, Under)
  • ML: 14-6 (13.1% ROI)

First Half:

  • ATS: 10-10 (-0.9% ROI)
  • O/U: 12-8 (12.9% ROI, Over)
  • ML: 12-6-2 (10.1% ROI)

Second Half:

  • ATS: 11-9 (6.4% ROI)
  • O/U: 2-18 (73.7% ROI, Under)
  • ML: 10-9-1 (-16.5% ROI)

In the playoffs, the Chiefs are 3-0 ATS (90.5% ROI) and 3-0 ML (117.2% ROI), and for the entire season they’ve been the league’s most profitable under team, especially in the second half of games.

I think it’s notable that the Chiefs have been to the over on the ML in first halves: In the scripted portion of the game, they can put up points and establish a lead. But in the second half, the script flips.


49ers ATS, Total & ML Records

Full Game:

  • ATS: 9-10 (-9.7% ROI)
  • O/U: 10-8-1 (6.1% ROI, Over)
  • ML: 14-5 (-3.2% ROI)

First Half:

  • ATS: 9-10 (-8.8% ROI)
  • O/U: 13-6 (30.7% ROI, Over)
  • ML: 14-4-1 (8.9% ROI)

Second Half:

  • ATS: 12-7 (21.0% ROI)
  • O/U: 8-10-1 (6.7% ROI, Under)
  • ML: 14-5 (10.5% ROI)

While the 49ers have paid the vig on the full-game ML this year, they’ve been profitable on both 1H and 2H ML bets. In the first half, they’ve been a notable over team.


Historical Super Bowl Trends

Data goes back to 2003.

Full Game:

  • ATS Underdogs: 13-7 (26.3% ROI)
  • O/U: 9-11 (5.5% ROI, Under)
  • ML Underdogs: 9-11 (28.2% ROI)

First Half:

  • ATS Underdogs: 10-7-2 (11.7% ROI)
  • O/U: 6-11-1 (15.5% ROI, Under)
  • ML Favorites: 10-6-3 (4.2% ROI)

Second Half:

  • ATS Underdogs: 11-7-1 (16.1% ROI)
  • O/U: 10-9 (2.1% ROI, Over)
  • ML Underdogs: 8-7-2 (35.0% ROI)

Generally, underdogs and first-half unders have been profitable in the Super Bowl. Second-half ML dogs have especially crushed.

No. 1 Seed vs. Non-No. 1 Seed

  • ATS: 3-6 (29.4% ROI, Fade)
  • O/U: 2-7 (48.4% ROI, Under)
  • ML: 3-6 (63.3% ROI, Fade)

The 49ers are a No. 1 seed. The Chiefs aren’t. In Super Bowls featuring a No. 1 seed and a lower seed, the “lesser” team has historically outperformed ATS and ML expectations. And the under has also been profitable.

Team Off ATS Win vs. Team Off ATS Loss

  • ATS: 4-1 (54.5% ROI)
  • ML: 4-1 (149.3% ROI)

In the postseason, the Chiefs are 3-0 ATS (90.5% ROI) while the 49ers are 0-2 ATS (-100% ROI). In the Super Bowl, teams off an ATS win outperformed against teams off an ATS loss.

Chiefs Trends

Here are some notable Mahomes trends.

  • Favorite: 50-49-2 ATS (-1.9% ROI) | 79-22 ML (5.8% ROI)
  • Underdog: 10-1-1 ATS (71.4% ROI) | 9-3 ML (85.3% ROI)
  • Home: 28-29-1 ATS (-4.5% ROI) | 45-13 ML (0.8% ROI)
  • Road/Neutral: 32-21-2 (16.9% ROI) | 43-12 ML (28.4% ROI)
  • Road/Neutral Dog: 10-0-1 (87.0% ROI) | 9-2 ML (102.2% ROI)
  • Regular Season: 48-45-3 ATS (0.6% ROI) | 74-22 ML (10.4% ROI)
  • Postseason: 12-5 ATS (35.8% ROI) | 14-3 ML (35.6% ROI)
  • Postseason (Road/Neutral) Dog: 3-0 ATS (91.3% ROI) | 3-0 ML (136.7% ROI)
  • Against 49ers (All w/ Garoppolo): 3-0 ATS (92.6% ROI) | 3-0 ML (69.0% ROI)

As great as he is, Mahomes has been ordinary throughout his career as a favorite, at home, and in the regular season.

But he has been exceptional — a true betting legend — as an underdog, away from Arrowhead Stadium, and in the playoffs.

In the Super Bowl, all three of those edges align.

I was stupid enough to bet against him in the AFC Championship. I’m not making that mistake again.

And it doesn’t hurt that Mahomes has had notable success against the 49ers, winning every game against them by 11-plus points and covering the spread by a margin of +11.5.

49ers Trends

A few notable Purdy trends.

  • Favorite: 15-10 ATS (14.2% ROI) | 21-4 ML (11.1% ROI)
  • Regular Season: 13-8 ATS (17.7% ROI) | 17-4 ML (7.5% ROI)
  • Postseason: 2-3 ATS (-23.3% ROI) | 4-1 ML (4.0% ROI)

Purdy has done well in his career as a favorite — he has been an underdog in just one game — but in the postseason he has underwhelmed.

That said, Shanahan has almost the exact opposite splits, so who knows what to think? But it is encouraging that he has done well as a favorite in the playoffs.

  • Favorite: 37-39-1 ATS (-6.2% ROI) | 52-25 ML (-7.1% ROI)
  • Underdog: 29-20 ATS (14.6% ROI) | 20-29 ML (0.3% ROI)
  • Regular Season: 59-55-1 ATS (-0.1% ROI) | 17-4 ML (7.5% ROI)
  • Postseason: 64-51 ATS (-6.7% ROI) | 8-3 ML (22.0% ROI)
  • Postseason Favorite: 4-2 ATS (28.4% ROI) | 6-0 ML (29.5% ROI)

Super Bowl 58: Offensive vs. Defensive Matchups

Data from RBs Don’t Matter, includes playoffs.

49ers Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

  • EPA: No. 1 (0.181) vs. No. 5 (-0.076)
  • SR: No. 1 (51.1%) vs. No. 5 (40.5%)
  • Dropback EPA: No. 1 (0.291) vs. No. 3 (-0.103)
  • Dropback SR: No. 1 (54.3%) vs. No. 3 (40.0%)
  • Rush EPA: No. 1 (0.043) vs. No. 28 (-0.026)
  • Rush SR: No. 2 (47.0%) vs. No. 23 (41.4%)

Chiefs Offense vs. 49ers Defense

  • EPA: No. 10 (0.034) vs. No. 14 (-0.035)
  • SR: No. 12 (43.8%) vs. No. 17 (43.6%)
  • Dropback EPA: No. 8 (0.112) vs. No. 5 (-0.036)
  • Dropback SR: No. 6 (48.5%) vs. No. 7 (43.9%)
  • Rush EPA: No. 21 (-0.128) vs. No. 27 (-0.034)
  • Rush SR: No. 27 (34.1%) vs. No. 30 (42.9%)

49ers Offense Key Matchup: Christian McCaffrey vs. Chiefs Run Defense

Normally, running on early downs is a negative endeavor. This year, it has been for every NFL — save the 49ers (0.107 EPA, No. 1).

EPA


They’ve been elite on first and second downs in general, but their early-down rushing efficiency has truly been exceptional.

I guess that’s what happens when you have HC Kyle Shanahan and RB Christian McCaffrey as well as LT Trent Williams and TE George Kittle, both of whom are run-blocking monsters.

While I normally think it’s foolish for a team to lean as hard as possible into the running game, that’s what I expect the 49ers to do.

This year, on 2nd-and-short (1-2 yards) the 49ers have a -19% pass frequency over expected (PFOE) — even though that would be the perfect situation for them to let QB Brock Purdy challenge a defense downfield. Nope. Running the ball.

On 2nd-and-medium (3-7 yards) — when a more progressive playcaller might be inclined to pass — the 49ers have a -10% PFOE.

On 3rd-and-short — when lots of teams run the ball — the 49ers still manage to run more than most with a -6% PFOE.

In not one game this year have the 49ers employed a pass-heavy game script (per our Fantasy Life Utilization Report).

They’re going to run the ball, because that’s what they like to do.

And it makes sense, given that the Chiefs are No. 28 in defensive rush EPA (-0.026). They’re exploitable on the ground, and their defensive line will be thinner than usual without DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow, IR) and EDGE Charles Omenihu (knee).

But running the ball is a double-edged sword. If you’re successful, you can control the game and grind the clock down — but you’re unlikely to put as many points as possible on the scoreboard. And if you’re unsuccessful, then you’ve forestalled your offense and possibly put your defense in poor field position.

If the 49ers are to win, it’s imperative that they have success when running — because the run game will likely be their default method of attack.

Chiefs Offense Key Matchup: Travis Kelce vs. 49ers Pass Defense

As I noted in my Super Bowl fantasy favorites piece, Kelce this year had his most inefficient regular season ever (8.1 yards per target) and least productive season since 2016 (984 yards receiving).

Even so, Kelce in the playoffs is a different animal: He has a 30% target share this postseason. After resting in Week 18 and using it as a de facto bye, Kelce has been dominant with 23-262-3 receiving on 27 targets in the playoffs.

Since 2018, when QB Patrick Mahomes became the starter, Kelce has 133-1,516-18 receiving in 17 postseason games. Unreal.

The Chiefs have struggled on offense this season, and even last week in victory they scored just 17 points (and zero in the second half).

With no other established pass catchers on the team, Kelce is more important than ever to the Chiefs. I expect them to give him as many targets as he can handle, especially because of the matchup.

No one is quite like Kelce, but TEs Trey McBride and Sam LaPorta are the guys most comparable to him of all the players the 49ers have faced since Week 11 — when they lost SS Talanoa Hufanga (knee, IR) — and they both went off on high target volume. 

Since Hufanga’s injury, the 49ers have relied on rookie SS Ji’Ayir Brown as a starter, and while he won’t be responsible for all of the pass defense against Kelce he’ll probably be the guy who matches up with him most.

Kelce … against a backup rookie. He legitimately might see 15 targets, and that makes sense: It’s hard to imagine the Chiefs winning without a big game from Kelce.


Super Bowl 58: Side Analysis

Of all the bets I placed the week of the conference championships, the best one might’ve been Chiefs +3 (-115) vs. 49ers in the Super Bowl. Thank the gambling gods for the lookahead numbers.

I don’t see much value in the Chiefs in the current market, but I still lean in their direction.

One of these teams has Mahomes, while the other has an optimal path to victory via the ground game.

This is no disrespect to the 49ers. In fact, I’m higher on Purdy than most non-49ers fans are.

But if their plan of attack is “let’s run the ball a lot,” that might limit their high-end ability to score — and that makes them vulnerable when Mahomes is facing a defense that at home just allowed 31 points to the Lions.

Mahomes as a dog against a coach with a history of conservative decisions and late-game collapses: Gotta go with the Chiefs in this spot.


Super Bowl 58: Total Analysis

I bet under 48 and still like it at 47.5.

We have two rush-flowing defenses that are top-eight against the pass but bottom-eight against the run. That’s likely to result in a ground-based attack that keeps the clocking moving, especially for the 49ers offense — and then the Chiefs offense has underperformed expectations for much of the season.

All of that plays to the under, and the Chiefs have been the league’s most extreme under team this year, especially in the second half, and I have a bet on 2H under 23.5 (+102). 

The strong 2H under trend for the Chiefs feels very intuitive. They have a strong defense that can make halftime adjustments, but their offense is less capable of making meaningful changes at the half.

If the Chiefs enter the third quarter with a lead, they have neither the ability nor the inclination on offense to pile on the points, and we saw that in the AFC Championship, when they had a 10-point lead at halftime and took the air out of the ball thereafter, scoring zero points in the second half.

And if the Chiefs trail after two quarters, they’re vulnerable enough with their rush defense to allow opponents to run the clock and decrease the number of possessions in the game.

As much as I like under 47.5, I probably like 2H under 23.5 even more.


Super Bowl 58: Bets

  • Logged Bets: Chiefs +3 (-115), Under 48 (still like at 47.5), 2H Under 23.5 (+102)
  • Potential Bet: Chiefs +112 (FanDuel), if you want exposure in the current market

You can tail the Chiefs and the under at FanDuel, where you can get $150 in bonus bets when you sign up below and place your first bet of just $5 or more!


Abbreviations

  • Against the Spread (ATS)
  • Moneyline (ML)
  • Over/Under (O/U)
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A)
  • Expected Points Added (EPA)
  • Success Rate (SR)
  • Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE)

Previous Best Bets Pieces

My previous best bets pieces can be found on my author page.

Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman is the Head of Betting at Fantasy Life. He's a profitable sports bettor with 100K+ followers in the Action Network app. While he specializes in NFL (spreads, totals, futures, and player and draft props), he has also successfully invested in NBA, NHL, and March Madness player prop markets. Before joining Fantasy Life, he was the Director of Content at FantasyPros and BettingPros (2022-23), Chief Strategy Officer at FTN Network (2021-22), Lead NFL Analyst at Action Network (2017-21), and Editor-in-Chief at FantasyLabs (2016-21). Freedman started at RotoViz in 2013 and contributed to Pro Football Focus, DraftKings Playbook, and Fantasy Insiders before joining FantasyLabs on a full-time basis. As a fantasy analyst, Freedman is a five-time top-20 finisher in the FantasyPros accuracy contest.