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Super Bowl LIV is set.
Two of the NFL's top offenses will match up when the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs meet Feb. 2. The 49ers finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in total offense, while the Chiefs were No. 9. Both teams averaged just under 30 points per game this season, so it should be an entertaining contest in what is the single biggest betting day of the year for sportsbooks.
This matchup looks even on paper and oddsmakers agree, opening the Chiefs as a 1.5-point favorite with the total at 52.5. Expect public money to come in heavy on Kansas City and the over, which is a given considering casual bettors take the over without fail in the Super Bowl.
It'll be interesting to see where the sharp bettors come in on this game. Last year, the Los Angeles Rams opened at -1 over the New England Patriots. Sharps jumped on the Pats right away, moving New England to -1.5. As of late Sunday night, sharp bettors had yet to come in heavy on either the Chiefs or 49ers.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is making his second Super Bowl appearance after losing to the Patriots in overtime 37-31 in last year's AFC Championship Game. Reid took the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl during the 2004 season but fell to the Patriots 24-21.
While Reid coached some good Eagles teams that fell short of winning a championship, this is probably his most talented squad, thanks in large part to quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The reigning MVP has been sensational in the playoffs, throwing for 625 yards, eight touchdowns, and no interceptions while completing 65.7% of his passes.
The Chiefs fell behind early in their two playoff wins over the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. However, they still managed to cover both games as 10- and 7.5-point favorites, respectively. Kansas City is currently the team casual bettors like wagering on the most and the club has rewarded its backers, covering 12 of 18 games this season, including a 7-0-1 run against the spread (ATS) heading into the Super Bowl.
The 49ers will make their sixth Super Bowl appearance after dismantling the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship Game. While more casual bettors will no doubt be on the Chiefs, San Francisco poses some matchup problems. Kansas City's defense was able to hold Derrick Henry to just 69 yards in the AFC Championship Game but, overall, the Chiefs struggled to stop the run this season, surrendering 4.9 yards per carry and 128 rushing yards per game. That's not great news when playing the 49ers' No. 2-ranked rushing attack, which rolled up 285 yards Sunday.
Another thing to watch for in this game is San Francisco's top-ranked pass defense, which allowed just 169 yards through the air per game this season. No defense is going to completely stop Mahomes, but the 49ers have the pass rush and talent in the secondary to make things difficult for the Chiefs quarterback.
Like Kansas City, San Francisco has been profitable ATS this season, going 11-6-1 overall. The 49ers find themselves as an underdog for just the sixth time this season. San Francisco covered its previous five games as a 'dog, winning four of them outright.
The game looks pretty even across the board but my early lean is to the over at 52.5. You'll hear the over is a big public play but that's the case in every Super Bowl. In a big event like this, the public and sharp money aren't as important because so many people are betting on the game. While I do believe San Francisco's defense can give Mahomes some problems, there's simply too much offensive firepower on the field in this matchup. Mahomes will get his points and the 49ers' run game should dominate. The total will almost certainly go up, but I'd consider taking the over at anything 55 or lower.
Thomas Casale is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. A devoted fan of the wishbone offense, Thomas bets on all sports but specializes in college football, NFL, and college basketball. Find him on Twitter @TheTomCasale.