On the verge of Super Bowl LIV our very own Sam Farley sat down with BetAmerica columnist Ashley Anderson and BetAmerica Senior Project Manager Corey Loye to discuss the big game and to talk about BetAmerica's Big Game Challenge.
Oddschecker: The 49ers and Chiefs both gave up fewer than 20 ppg in the regular season, but there are reports that 99% of the money is on the over (54.5). Why do you think bettors are so confident that this game goes over?
Ashley: Both teams ranked in the top five in scoring during the regular season. The 49ers averaged 29.9 points per game (second in the NFL) and the Chiefs put up 28.2 per contest (fifth). In the postseason, Kansas City and San Francisco have boosted those averages to 43 points per game and 32, respectively.
While the Niners boast the best pass defense in the league, the thought is the Chiefs will still score often enough to force a shootout with San Francisco. On top of that, the Over has hit in five of the last seven Super Bowls. The Over is also 4-1-1 in the 49ers’ last six games overall, and it’s 7-2 in the Chiefs’ last nine against teams with a winning record.
Sam: Bettors aren't placing these wagers and thinking about what the defenses can do, they're looking back at previous performances and understanding the explosive potential of both of these offenses. The Chiefs were 24 points down to the Titans before Mahomes went nuclear and the offense replied with 35 unanswered points.
The Niners have been juggernauts too, Kyle Shanahan is an incredible football mind and the ground game that he's masterminded is a thing of beauty. Whilst I personally think this could be cagier than anticipated, I can't don't blame anybody for taking the over. Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid are two of the very best coaches when it comes to scoring and there's no doubt they've been saving a few tricks for the big game.
Oddschecker: Who's your favorite non-quarterback bet to win the MVP award?
Ashley: The key to Kansas City’s success lies with Patrick Mahomes, so you can expect him to take home the MVP if the Chiefs triumph on Sunday. In order for the Niners to prevail, their defense and run game need to perform at peak level. Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa is a longshot pick (+3500) and could play a crucial role in stopping Mahomes.
Raheem Mostert is another solid non-QB option. If San Francisco has its way, this game will go to the ground, and Mostert is the man to back after his record-setting performance in the NFC Championship Game.
Sam: If the Chiefs win the Super Bowl then it's hard to look past Patrick Mahomes winning the MVP. However, I'm backing the Niners which makes this market is one of the most intriguing, given Jimmy GQ's role in the Conference Championship game was largely to handoff to Mostert.
That Niners defense is a monster and the front five has five former first-round picks. Those guys are the key to this game in my view, if the Niners win it's because they've disrupted Mahomes. The last defensive player to win the MVP was Von Miller and for my money, this defense is better. Nick Bosa is the standout option but for even more value I'd take a long look at Arik Armstead (+1000) who had more sacks than Bosa in the regular season. Dee Ford (+12500) also offers an exciting price for that defensive line.
Oddschecker: It's not often that we see two teams meet in the Super Bowl with a mixture of youth and talent like the 49ers and Chiefs. Putting Sunday's game aside, which team do you see having the more success over the next decade?
Ashley: It’s difficult to imagine the Chiefs slowing down anytime soon, as long as Mahomes is running the offense. When the 24-year-old is at 100 percent health, hardly any opponent can match his talent. I expect the Chiefs to continue to build up their defense through the draft and free agency. Once that unit is as loaded as the offense, Kansas City could become the biggest power in the AFC for years to come.
Sam: I like the Niners and have been won around by them throughout the season but the Chiefs are the clear answer here. They have one of the best Head Coaches in the league, a young QB who is on a team-friendly deal and probably the most talented passer in the NFL. Add to that a pack of wideouts who could double as track athletes and it's hard to look past them. I'd be staggered if this team doesn't win at least two Super Bowls in the next decade, they are simply that good.
Oddschecker: Are there any particular Super Bowl markets that are proving most popular with bettors at the moment?
Corey: Outside of the core markets (Money Line, Point Spread, and Total), our touchdown scorer markets are always popular as a secondary option along with our Specials markets such as "Which QB will finish with the most yards passing?". We also see a large number of players selecting the player that will win the Super Bowl MVP.
Sam: Looking at Oddschecker's data it's no surprise to see that touchdown scorer markets are hugely popular. Travis Kelce in particular seems to have attracted a higher than average quantity of bets.Beyond that it's the MVP market which leaps out with the majority of bettors favoring Mahomes for the Chiefs, with the Niners money being split far more widely across both their offense and defensive stars.
Oddschecker: With Jimmy Garappolo going 6/8 against the Packers, how is this impacting passing and rushing totals for him and the running-backs in the Super Bowl?
Corey: Jimmy G’s game in the Conference final, and the 49ers game plan throughout the playoffs, has led to his numbers and projections being low. Mahomes is a heavy favorite to finish with more yards passing than Garoppolo currently. The line for Garoppolo’s pass completions is also slightly lower than his regular season numbers.
Sam: That Conference Championship game has really impacted the markets with Raheem Mostert's rushing line comfortably higher than that of Chief's running-back Damian Williams. I'd probably look for the Niners offense to return to a more conventional split or pass to rush, and would likely take the over on Garoppolo whilst it's generous and fade Mostert. With Tevin Coleman potentially back he could really spoil the party for any Mostert backers.