By now, you’ve heard all the pros and cons for both the Niners and Chiefs, and you’ve seen this spread move from as low as pick’em to as high as Kansas City -2.
I actually grabbed San Francisco +2 midway though the NFC Championship Game on the lookahead line, when the 49ers held a 17-0 lead over the Packers. At that point, I felt San Francisco was the better team compared to Kansas City and the Niners didn’t disappoint, cruising to a 37-20 victory over Green Bay (a team I took at +7.5 earlier that week).
I was convinced the official Super Bowl LIV spread would come out with San Francisco as the favorite – given how the Chiefs had played with fire in both of their postseason games, needing comebacks to clinch their ticket to Super Bowl LIV, and how the 49ers had blown away their playoff opposition. And while I don’t disagree with the pick’em line set by a handful of books, the overall consensus of K.C. as the favorite is still a bit baffling.
I’m not going to dig into the meaty Big Game analysis for this final underdog pick of the NFL season – you can find all that great stuff in our vast coverage and picks for betting the Super Bowl LIV odds – but I will point out one trend that that stands out when it comes to past Super Bowl champs and their success when getting the points. It seems only fitting given the nature of this weekly column.
You’re probably aware that the Super Bowl underdog has cashed in against the spread in four of the past six Big Games (and 12 of the last 18), but what you may not know is that the past six Super Bowl champs all had success on the season when pegged as a pointspread pup. For some teams, they were dogs in many instances over the course of the schedule. For others, it was one or two outings.**video
The previous six Super Bowl champions – Patriots, Eagles, Patriots, Broncos, Patriots, and Seahawks – have a combined 20-3 ATS record as underdogs in the season in which they won the Big Game.
New England’s title teams – Super Bowl LIII, LI, and XLIX – went 1-0, 1-0, and 4-1 ATS in the rare spots when catching points during those championship seasons. Philadelphia was infamous in the underdog role during its Super Bowl run in LII with a 6-2 ATS mark as the dog. Denver capped its Super Bowl 50-winning season with a 6-0 ATS mark as an underdog. And Seattle was 2-0 ATS when getting the points in its XLVIII-championship campaign.
That brings us to the 49ers, who enter Super Bowl LIV as the best underdog bet in the NFL this season. San Francisco is a perfect 5-0 ATS when getting the points, winning all but one of those games outright (lost 20-17 as 5.5-road dog at Baltimore in Week 13) and boasting an average margin of plus-10 points in those five contests as a dog.
Those previous six champs also went 18-5 SU as betting underdogs. The 2019-20 Niners are 4-1 SU when getting the points.
So, take it or leave it, but it would seem like hoisting the Lombardi Trophy has something to do with coming through when the odds are stacked against you. And for right now, the Super Bowl LIV odds are going against the 49ers.
PICK: San Francisco +1.5
BONUS: PLUS-MONEY PROP PICKS
Will the opening kickoff be a touchback? No +175
I did the heavy lifting for this prop pick in my fast and furious Super Bowl bets piece, in which I noted that five of the past six Super Bowl opening kickoffs have been returned and only one (Super Bowl LI) was ruled a touchback. Should the Niners have to kickoff to open the Big Game, they could settle for a touchback to avoid Chiefs dangerous return man Mecole Hardman. But, at this price, we’ll take the No +175.
Tyrann Mathieu Over/Under tackles/assists: Over 7 (EVEN)
The Honey Badger was a man possessed in the AFC title game, delivering some huge hits and finishing the day with nine tackles. The Chiefs safety will be very active against the run-heavy, quick-pass offense of the 49ers, especially with all the pre-snap movement Kyle Shanahan loves to throw at opponents and TE George Kittle getting plenty of looks.
Super Bowl MVP will go to: Any other position +135
The odds for a quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP are -170, with Patrick Mahomes doing the lion’s share of the liabilty for this prop. Mahomes is a -110 frontrunner in the player-by-player MVP futures followed by Jimmy Garoppolo at +275. But with my action on the 49ers and the balance of talent on this team, there are a number of players who could step up and +135 isn’t a bad price to pay for all of them – as well as anyone but Mahomes on the Chiefs. I also have MVP bets on Nick Bosa (24/1) and Richard Sherman (64/1) as well as Any Defender at 4/1.
Championship Sunday: 0-1 ATS
Season to date: 30-27 ATS
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