The Championship round of the NFL playoffs went largely to script, with both favorites eventually making short work of their plucky opposition. Now we turn our attention to the big one as the eyes of the world focus on Miami Gardens, Florida for Super Bowl LIV. While the excitement levels surrounding this clash between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs haven’t quite reached a boiling point yet among the NFL cognoscenti, expect things to reach boiling point in the coming days.
Vegas has essentially shrugged for this match-up, perhaps lost in the mire of a Tom Brady-less game. Or, more likely, this is simply a duel between two evenly matched teams. The opening line came out with the Chiefs favored by 2.5 points; that quickly pivoted to Chiefs by 1.5 and it has now drifted even further to the San Francisco side. The public will bet boatloads of cash on this game, with novelty gamblers getting in on the action as well.
My advice entering this wild week is to focus on the yes/no or up/down bets on the game, rather than the needle in a haystack variety of bets that can sometimes fool people. Target over/unders on individual players, a yes or no prop bet on whether there will be a safety in the game and others; veer away from bets like ‘Who will catch the first pass?’ or things of that nature, bets that are typically -EV. If it hits, more power to you; if it doesn’t, it’s money down the drain.
Note that the over/unders and prop bets are sourced from VegasInsider.com
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers vs. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-1.5 to -1) (Over/Under 54)
(Sunday 6:30 pm Eastern, FOX)
A Super Bowl match-up that, like an onion, has many layers to peel back is a fitting coda to a memorable season. Could this finally be the moment Andy Reid breaks through and cements his legacy among the greatest head coaches of all time? Is the young and dynamic offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan on the verge of following in his father’s footsteps and securing his first Lombardi Trophy at the tender age of 40?
The most pressing question, however, may be beautiful in its simplicity: which quarterback will perform best on the big stage? The prevailing wisdom in the build-up has been that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, who has led his team back from double-digit deficits in back to back playoff games, is better equipped to handle the moment and is a more talented overall player who can overcome the deficiencies around him. It would be unwise to discount Jimmy Garoppolo, however, especially after a season that has featured games that asked him to rally his team in tough environments while playing within the confines of Shanahan’s timing-based offense. It is a fine balance that Garoppolo has maneuvered perfectly.