Super Bowl early prediction: Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes the boogeyman vs. 49ers
Were less than one week away from Super Bowl 2024 as the Kansas City Chiefs look to defend their title against the San Francisco 49ers.
This game is a rematch of Super Bowl LIV, which the Chiefs won 31-20.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan will have a different quarterback under center this time, with Brock Purdy set to play in the biggest game of his young career.
San Francisco opened as a 2.5-point favorite before being bet down to -1.
Recently, weve seen the market jump back in on the 49ers and push that number back up to -2 and even -2.5 at FanDuel.
For the record, I liked the Chiefs t the opening number; I love them getting 2.5 points.
As for the total, we havent seen any movement as it has remained flat since opening at 47. Part of why I think the total has held steady is because its accurately priced.
However, if we look at the team total as a derivative, Ive identified one team that offers a more significant edge to bettors.
Mahomes is still elite
Theres been plenty of discussion regarding the Chiefs offense, which clearly regressed from a year ago when it led the league in points per game (29.2) en route to a Super Bowl 2023 title.
This season, the Chiefs rank 15th in scoring, averaging a touchdown less at 22.1 points per game.
However, if you look at an advanced metric like Aaron Schatz’s defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), Kansas City ranks eighth in this category.
The difference in those rankings suggests that the Chiefs offense has probably been a bit unlucky this season. After all, they led the league with the most drops (44), according to Pro Football Reference.
Yet, when you look at the performance of quarterback Patrick Mahomes throughout the season, rbsdm.com shows he still completed a higher percentage of passes (72.1%) than expected (68.5%).
If we focus solely on his performance during the postseason, Mahomes’ completion over expectation (CPOE) jumps from 3.6% to 9% the highest mark among quarterbacks to register at least 50 plays.
Thus, despite the Chiefs offensive struggles, Mahomes remains elite. And while it feels like weve waited all season for this offense to get on the same page, I think the extra week of preparation will do the Chiefs a world of good.
Chiefs already faced the best defense in the NFL
One of the more interesting things about this season’s Kansas City offense is if push comes to shove, itll find a way to put up points. The Chiefs scored 17 first-half points against the Ravens in the AFC Championship before being shut out in the second half.
However, I thought the Chiefs were always in control of the game and couldve scored more points if the Ravens pushed them to the brink. Instead, Baltimore continued to stub its toe, committing unnecessary penalties (eight for 95 yards) and three turnovers in the game.
Travis Kelce has turned in back to back strong performances. Getty ImagesIts worth noting that the Ravens were the top defensive team in the league, whether by DVOA (-23.6%), points allowed (16.2 per game) or opponent yards per play (4.6).
While the 49ers have boasted one of the top defenses in the league, they allowed 4.9 yards per carry on the ground against the Packers in the divisional round and were outgained 442-413 in the NFC Championship against the Lions.
I think the Chiefs can move the ball against the 49ers defense, and I project them to go over their team total of 22.5.
Super Bowl 2024 best bets
Pick No. 1: Chiefs +2.5 (-115, FanDuel)
Pick No. 2: Chiefs team total over 22.5 points (-130, DraftKings)
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