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49ers vs Chiefs Prediction & Pick | Super Bowl Preview

49ers vs Chiefs Prediction & Pick | Super Bowl Preview article feature image

Action Network. Pictured: Brock Purdy (left) and Patrick Mahomes (right).

49ers vs Chiefs Prediction & Pick | Super Bowl Preview

Sunday, Feb. 11
6:30 p.m. ET
Pick: 49ers Moneyline

My 49ers vs Chiefs prediction & pick is on the moneyline for Super Bowl 58. I am also targeting a pair of player props (Isiah Pacheco and Harrison Butker), and the second-half total because of a strong trend on Kansas City games. The latest 49ers vs Chiefs odds have the 49ers installed as 2-point favorites on the spread with a game total over/under of 47 points. The 49ers are -130 and the Chiefs are +110 on the moneyline.

Through the first four years of the decade, the Chiefs have the Lombardi trophies to show for their consistent winning. Kansas City will have played in four of the five Super Bowls contested in this decade and won two of the three it played previously. San Francisco is a mainstay in the NFC Championship game, winning in 2020, losing in 2022 and 2023 and now returning to the Super Bowl in hopes of avenging the 2020 defeat to Kansas City.

It'd be no surprise to avid NFL fans in December that the 49ers made it to Las Vegas. Plenty wrote off Kansas City's flailing offense though, and the market may now be overreacting to Kansas City's run through the AFC playoffs and potentially underrating the 49ers' season-long dominance because of hiccups in the playoffs.

The one notable inactive for Super Bowl LVIII is Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who is a healthy scratch. Continue reading for my Super Bowl preview.

49ers vs Chiefs Predictions

  • Pick: Harrison Butker Over 1.5 Field Goals Made (-120; BetMGM)
  • Pick: Second Half Total Under 23.5 (-115)
  • Pick: Isiah Pacheco Over 66.5 Rushing Yards (-110)

49ers vs Chiefs Super Bowl Odds

Sunday, Feb. 11
6:30 p.m. ET
49ers Odds
-110o / -110u
Chiefs Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

49ers vs Chiefs Prediction

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the 49ers and Chiefs match up statistically:

49ers vs. Chiefs DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA17
Pass DVOA15
Rush DVOA227
Overall DVOA84
Pass DVOA84
Rush DVOA1715

The thought of laying points with Brock Purdy against Patrick Mahomes probably doesn't sit right in your stomach, given that the latter is 10-1-1 in his career against the spread when lined as an underdog.

So often in football, the better quarterback makes all the difference and it's why most of the all-time great quarterbacks consistently outperform market expectations in the brightest moments. Just about every time Mahomes has been lined as an underdog has come against another elite quarterback or elite team — the last two games against the Bills and Ravens on the road are no exception. As much as the Chiefs offense struggled all regular season, Mahomes outperformed both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson when it mattered most.

Despite the quality of the quarterbacks, neither the Baltimore or Buffalo offense was as effective as this version of Kyle Shanahan's 49ers. Elite offense, when executing, will usually trump elite defense for me.

Due to injuries, the Bills offense reached a point where they severely lacked playmakers on the outside to produce big plays. The Bills didn't manage a single explosive play of 20-plus yards through the air. Baltimore, meanwhile, had two red-zone turnovers to keep a then-flailing Kansas City offense in the lead.

Kansas City's defense is solid overall, but not infallible by any stretch. The Chiefs won the AFC Championship Game by grabbing an early lead and inducing the Ravens to panic and get away from their run game early. It's much harder to coax Shanahan into abandoning his bread-and-butter run game with Christian McCaffrey. Kansas City's biggest defensive strength is its tackling ability and top-five rating in pass explosiveness allowed.

Both offenses will need to be methodical because the defenses are so good at preventing big plays. The 49ers offense has the second-best success rate of any in the last decade. Even with Purdy showing some weaknesses and getting sped up in the first half against Green Bay and Detroit, the 49ers still waltzed their way to 24 and 34 points, respectively. It's incredibly hard to keep San Francisco below 24 points without a bunch of turnovers or injuries, and the Chiefs defense is just 27th in DVOA against the run.

The biggest mismatch on the board from a statistical profile is the Chiefs' run defense against the 49ers' run offense. Just three weeks ago, Buffalo had one of the most efficient offensive games on the ground of the entire NFL season on the Chiefs.

Nate Tice wrote about the Chris Jones effort phenomenon, in which the All-Pro pass rusher doesn’t offer much by the way of run stopping until the fourth quarter. Jones has recorded as many tackles against the run in the fourth quarter this year as quarters 1-3 combined.

It shows up in the Chiefs’ full-season numbers as well. Kansas City is a bottom-10 run defense in the first three quarters, but ranks 17th in EPA per rush in the fourth quarter.

Maybe Kansas City capitalizes on the Purdy mistakes and creates a high-leverage turnover or two to flip the game. Otherwise, it's hard to see San Francisco not scoring at least 24 points. The 49ers have the most efficient red-zone offense in the league and the Chiefs' struggles in the red area is a primary concern with them keeping pace.

49ers vs Chiefs Spread at FanDuel

The Kansas City offense has been a real mixed bag in the last four games.

Its final regular season game against a bad Cincinnati defense saw them move the ball well and settle for a lot of field goals. The Wild Card Game against Miami was more of the same. The Baltimore game was really a perfect microcosm for what the Chiefs offense has been all season. They emptied the tank for those first two drives on the script and grabbed an early lead — 26 plays, 161 yards and 15 minutes of possession for those two touchdowns to grab a 14-7 advantage.

The Chiefs still move the ball well on script and look like a great offense early on. They've scored 17 total points on their opening three drives of their three playoff games. Once they get off the script, however, there's real questions about the offense's viability.

The 49ers don't blitz. They play a ton of zone and rely on generating quick pressure. San Francisco did very little to disrupt Jordan Love and Jared Goff, but the offensive lines of Green Bay and Detroit are superior to the current version of Kansas City. In fact, both NFC offenses have higher efficiency metrics than the Chiefs offensively this season. San Francisco is also a top-five defense by pass explosiveness allowed, so it could be a slog for Kansas City to move the ball once again.

The Chiefs have transitioned to heavier offensive sets — fewer wide receivers and more tight ends — in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They ran the ball effectively on a soft Philly run defense in last year's Super Bowl, and the path to success is similar this year. Only the Seahawks had a worse rush success rate allowed in the second half of the season than the 49ers.

Kansas City's problems will come when it gets down to the red zone again. The Niners are top five at taking away short passes and over-the-middle throws. Given that the Chiefs are just 19th in red-zone offense, and Andy Reid has shown a conservative streak on fourth-down aggressiveness, I'd bet Harrison Butker over 1.5 field goals made (-120; BetMGM).

I'm expecting the Chiefs, who had the third-highest pass rate over expected in the NFL, to again lean on Isiah Pacheco to move the ball. The Chiefs can run on San Francisco and will do so enough for Pacheco to clear 67.5 rush yards (-110; FanDuel).

This game is unlikely to be outside of a one-possession game for most of it, leaving the door for the Chiefs run offense to stay viable. Overall though, the Chiefs' lack of receiving options will come as a relief for a San Francisco defense that struggled mightily to slow down the versatile and deep offenses of Detroit and Green Bay in the NFC playoffs.

49ers vs Chiefs Pick & Prediction

It wouldn't be a surprise to see both offenses come out with methodical and effective opening drives to begin the game. These teams have elite game planners, script designers and schemes.

After that, the Chiefs' inconsistent offense and Steve Spagnoulo's ability to adjust become the key X-factors. Both offenses should be able to move the ball on the ground, but Kansas City has a bottom-five offense in the second half and a top-five defense after halftime this season.

The second-half under is 18-2 in Chiefs games, primarily because the defense has tightened up and because the Chiefs are a below-average pass offense when trailing this season. The reliability of Kansas City to dig themselves out of a potential hole just hasn't been present this entire season.

Given the rushing advantages and the difficulty of finding pass explosives on both defenses, I wouldn't want to play from behind in this game. The 49ers have the better roster and have shown to be the clear better team over 18-20 games.

Mahomes could elevate even higher to a godlike level to backpack the Chiefs offense and further cement his status as an all-time great, but the 49ers are my pick to win Super Bowl 58. San Francisco will be more efficient in the red zone, more explosive overall and survive the late Mahomes comeback attempt.

The Pick: 49ers Moneyline (-118; DraftKings)

Other Bets:

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