NFL Super Bowl Betting: San Francisco 49ers remain the class act of the final four

Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers have looked the best team in the NFL this season

There are just four teams left in the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy - who looks best placed to make the trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV? Mark Kirwan assesses the contenders...

"It's chiefly been their running game that's impressed, but Jimmy Garoppolo's play at QB has improved over the course of the season too. Coach Kyle Shanahan uses pre-snap motion more than any other coach in the league and it has absolutely bamboozled opponents this season."

Three games to go. Beyond them lies the vast desolate expanse of the offseason, unfolding like some terrible nightmare.

Or maybe that's just me.

Even if you're not dreading the prospect of Sunday evenings without 11 hours of gridiron, it's still a long time until September 2020, so make the most of the next few games

With that in mind, here's an early look at how the market views the remaining teams. First up, it's the AFC contenders.

KC's sunshine band

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, 20:05
Live on Sky Sports Action

There's a true contrast of styles in the AFC title decider.

In the red corner, the Kansas City Chiefs are as explosive a passing offence as the league has ever seen. Their destruction of Houston attests to that.

In Patrick Mahomes they have a QB who could dominate the league for a decade. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are his primary targets, but coach Andy Reid showed throughout the season he can manufacture yardage with the supporting cast too.

They've also improved their defence this year, weathered a scary injury to their MVP quarterback that saw money matched at 19.018/1 on the Exchange for KC to win the Super Bowl at one point, and obliterated playoff records in last week's extraordinary 51-31 win comeback over the Texans.

Now they are marginal Super Bowl favourites on the Exchange at 2.47/5. My sense is that's a tad short following the dramatic turnaround on Sunday, but it's also a sign of how captivating this team can be on their day.

Another factor shortening that price is that, in the blue corner, they face a prototypical underdog in the Tennessee Titans.

Upstart Titans

Mike Vrabel's team slugged their way past the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens so far, two huge names and that ought to have the Chiefs on-guard.

Tennessee's offence revolves around running back Derrick Henry. He led the league in rushing yardage this season, and his punishing runs have set up the resurgent Ryan Tannehill in the passing game and controlled the clock.

It's a sign of how unexpected their run has been that they were matched at 500.0499/1 on the Exchange in-season to win the Super Bowl - they're now down at 8.88/1.

Trade out, trade out now!

Their upset of the Ravens was built on taking advantage of an inexperienced Baltimore offence who weren't used to chasing games. The Titans capitalised on early mistakes, got ahead, and then made it very difficult for the Ravens to claw their way back.

They'll hope the same pattern plays out on Sunday as +7.5 point dogs. They did beat the Chiefs already this year in a 35-32 shoot-out that went down to the wire. It was Mahomes' first game back after injury and in Nashville though. Their play does suggest that the over, even at 52.5 points, might be worth a look. It's available at 1.9210/11 currently.

Niners going for gold

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 23:40
Live on Sky Sports Action

Two of the league's most celebrated franchises clash in the NFC decider.

The Niners have been the class act in the league this season, and that they're not favourites - currently 2.767/4 second favs on the Exchange - for the Lombardi trophy is both a surprise and an opportunity.

It's chiefly been their running game that's impressed, but Jimmy Garoppolo's play at QB has improved over the course of the season too. Coach Kyle Shanahan uses pre-snap motion more than any other coach in the league and it has absolutely bamboozled opponents this season.

They've had to weather adversity too. George Kittle is their most important player on offence because of his blocking and receiving. He's missed games. Their running backs have rotated due to a series of knocks. Their defence and offensive lines have taken blows too, but the 49ers just kept rolling.

They were matched early in 2019 around 60.059/1 for the Super Bowl, but have never gone above 10.09/1 throughout the season and their price has steadily declined as they (almost literally) ground their way to the number one seed.

The one worry I'd have is that they get complacent this week given how they manhandled their opponents, Green Bay, 37-8 in Week 12.

Packers unconvincing

The Packers have not inspired the same confidence as San Fran, hence the -7.5 handicap for the 49ers at 2.0621/20. The Pack beat the Lions twice this season despite never leading during either game - both games were decided by Green Bay scoring on the final play of each game. You don't expect the very best teams to struggle like that against weak opponents. And twice too!

They took care of Seattle on Sunday to get here, but the Seahawks had ridden their luck to get that far.

Encouragingly, Aaron Rodgers did look sharp though. There has been some concern about his play this season, but his connection with Davante Adams looked great on Sunday. That should be a relief to Pack fans because few of his other options have stepped up whenever Adams missed time.

Running back Aaron Jones collected two more touchdowns last week as well, adding to his 16 regular season scores. He's averaged over 100 scrimmage yards per game this season.

They'll all need to click if the over of 45 points is to be topped at 1.8910/11. Though the Niners have gone over in five of their last seven home games, the potential for Green Bay to lay an egg here worries me, especially with the 49ers defence getting healthier.

The Packers' popularity with bettors has fluctuated because of their inconsistency. They hit 36.035/1 early in 2019, but have swung between 25.024/1 and 15.014/1 regularly when games started. They're now down to 8.615/2 to claim a fifth league crown in their history. It will take a huge performance next week to upset the 49ers, but if Aaron Rodgers hits his peak, anything is possible.

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