SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (14-5) at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (14-6)
LINE: Niners over CHIEFS by 2 (47.5)
WHY THE NINERS?
They were the best team in the NFL during the regular season and they can be the best team in the biggest game … While reaching triple digits in seven games this season, Christian McCaffrey has not rushed the ball for 100 yards in his past three outings, but he has averaged 84 ground yards per game over that time. The Chiefs pass defence is stellar, ranking fourth during the season, but they were 18th against the run. Niners will “Run CMC’ with success … Never underestimate McCaffrey the receiver. This season he has had 67 catches (4.2 per game) for 564 yards and seven TDs … Brock Purdy has been the top QB in the NFL against the blitz this season. Only five teams blitzed more often on third down than the Chiefs … In 11 post-season games, Deebo Samuel has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving just once, but he is coming off his second-most productive playoff performance that saw him grab eight of nine targets for 89 yards against the Lions … Niners CB Charvarius Ward has five interceptions this season, which is fourth most in the NFL. As a former Chief, he practised against Patrick Mahomes every day for the first four seasons of his career … It has been 28 years since the Niners won the championship, a 49-26 pasting of the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. They’re overdue isn’t really a good reason, but they are long overdue.
WHY THE CHIEFS?
The Chiefs are loving this underdog role they’re finding themselves in for the third game in a row and fourth time in the past five. In 12 career games as the ‘dog, Patrick Mahomes is 10-1-1 ATS and 9-3 SU … Steve Spagnuolo. The Kansas City defensive coordinator has been the MVC (most valuable coach) of the post-season. The Chiefs have allowed the Dolphins, Bills and Ravens a total of 51 points, or 13.6 per game … In the words of Tony Romo, “Mahomes devours zone defences.” Unofficially, the Niners played man on fewer than 150 snaps this season, which means they were in zone for 1,113 snaps. Unofficially, Mahomes is drooling … Niners had the third-best run-stopping stats in the league during the regular season — allowing an average of 89.7 when lesser opponents were forced to throw the ball more trying to play catchup — but, in two playoff games, they have given up 136 rushing yards to the Packers and 182 rushing yards to the Lions. In the Chiefs three playoff games Isiah Pacheco has averaged 84.2 rushing yards while scoring a TD in each and he should be able to churn up some real estate again on Super Sunday … The Chiefs are 15-2 over the past two seasons when they’ve rushed for at least 100 yards and Mahomes has thrown for at least 200 yards … Significant in the matchup of Travis Kelce vs. George Kittle is the fact the Chiefs had the third-best defence against tight ends this season while the Niners were 16th … In three career games versus the Niners, Kelce has caught 16-of-21 targets for 227 yards and a touchdown. In his past three games, Kelce has grabbed 23-of-27 targets for 262 yards and three TDs.
Andy Reid’s Chiefs defeated Kyle Shanahan’s Niners 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, 2020. This will be the fourth time in history that two head coaches will face each other for the second time in a Super Bowl game. The coach that lost the first game has never won the rematch … The Chiefs have the No. 2 pressure rate in the NFL, which means Purdy could find himself in sprint mode like he was while carrying the ball five times for 48 yards against the Lions … The Niners are 9-10-0 ATS this season, while the Chiefs are 12-7-1 ATS … In his past five games, Mahomes has thrown six TD passes and no picks. In his past five games, Purdy has thrown eight TD passes and five interceptions … Of the nine experts/staff contributors making Super Bowl predictions for Sports Illustrated, seven took the Chiefs to win outright … Chiefs have won and scored at least 31 points in five of the past six meetings between these teams … Kansas City likely will be without its starting left guard, Joe Thuney, who has been dealing with a pectoral issue that kept him out of the AFC title game. Thuney was ranked the fifth-best guard in the NFL this season by ProfootballNetwork.com … The Chiefs have the better quarterback, tight end, defence and coaching staff and have peaked at the time, while the Niners are coming off a couple of three-point playoff wins and are 2-2 in their past four games. The biggest reason of all to side with the Chiefs is the Mahomes-Purdy matchup. No mas.
TAKING: KANSAS CITY +2
SCORE: Chiefs 31, Niners 24
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CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: 2-0
BEST BETS LAST WEEK: 0-0
BEST BETS SEASON: 30-24-3
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: 0-2
REGULAR SEASON: 134–130-8
BEST BETS LAST WEEK: 0-0
BEST BETS SEASON: 8-9-1