NFL

Super Bowl LVIII Tips: Stick or twist with the Chiefs in Vegas?

Betting tips for the San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII
Betting tips for the San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII

Paul Higham has his Super Bowl LVIII verdict as his pre-season picks the Kansas City Chiefs defend their title against the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas.


NFL's Super Bowl showpiece lands in Las Vegas

Here we go! The Super Bowl is off to Las Vegas for the first time in what seems a terrific fit for the big game with such high stakes - and we've got a blockbuster match-up to mark the occasion.

There have been some heavyweight battles on The Strip down the years but the Kansas City Chiefs defending their title against the San Francisco 49ers is as good as any.

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It's been a long and winding road full of ups and downs for both teams, but after backing the Chiefs to defend their title in our NFL season preview and also 49ers to win the NFC we're not looking too bad at all.

Obviously, if you've backed the Chiefs before now you may want a saver on San Francisco, but we'll take this game completely as a standalone for the purposes of our best bets, although I'm not sure I'll change my mind now...


San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs

Match Odds: 3/4 | 11/102.11
Points Spread: Niners -2.5
Total Over/Under: 47.5

It's the dynasty versus the galacticos in Las Vegas, with the San Francisco 49ers narrow favourites to get revenge on the Kansas City Chiefs for their Super Bowl defeat in 2020.

That started a run of now four Super Bowl appearances in five years for Patrick Mahomes and company, but the Niners are hungrier and have more firepower than last time around.

On the flip side, 5/42.25 MVP favourite Patrick Mahomes does not have the weaponary, with his receivers dropping more passes than anyone else this season - but he has an angry running back in Isiah Pacheco and an elite defence that took care of Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen on the road.

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With nine Pro Bowlers the 49ers have the edge on talent, as with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle they have genuine x-factors that can break a game open that few on the Chiefs side not named Travis Kelce can match.

If it's a quarterback comparison then Mahomes obviously is a generational talent, making four Super Bowls in his first seven seasons is something even Tom Brady couldn't manage.

Brock Purdy is the third youngest QB to start a Super Bowl but despite criticism from some he's an elite talent, make no mistake, but if there are some nerves that could make all the difference if it's a close game.

Back the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl @ 11/102.11

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It's a coin toss though, but the deciding factors I believe will be Mahomes and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who I trust to get the better of Kyle Shanahan again.

This is the fourth head coaching rematch in Super Bowl history - the guy who won the first has won all three return games so far...

A fast San Francisco start could change everything, but Mahomes had his first taste of winning on the road to get here, and loved it, the Chiefs defence I think will do enough to slow the Niners and that could essentially be the difference.

Both defences allowed just over 17 points a game and the Chiefs haven't allowed 30 points all season - but while defences will be strong I can see it creeping just over the the total, so if pushed would back Chiefs to win and over 47.5 points at 11/43.75 - but am happier just taking the champs straight up.


Running backs to reign

For either side to win, they must get something out of the ground game, whether it's KC's more regular ground and pound with Pacheco, of Shanahan getting McCaffrey and Samuel the ball in innovative fashion.

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Outside runners are really the big weak spot in the Chiefs defence and unless Shanahan really messes up, McCaffrey should have a big day.

His production is ridiculous, scoring in all six of his career play-off games and totally 100 scrimmage yards in five of those, he's 5/61.84 to have over 130.5 total yards but I prefer to back his TDs.

McCaffrey is 15/82.88 to score 2+ touchdowns which he's done in both play-off games so far, I think he can make it three out of three.

Back McCaffrey to score 2+ touchdowns @ 15/82.88

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And let's not forget about Pacheco, the energetic and enthusiastic runner who gives it everything on every single carry.

He's scored in his last four play-off games, including last year's Super Bowl, and it's a brave an to try and stop him fighting his way into the end zone.

Pacheco will score a TD again in Las Vegas at 8/111.73.

I think the 15.5 rushing attempts line is pretty low, so will back the overs in that in a heartbeat at 4/61.67 - he had 24 against Miami and Baltimore and 15 in Buffalo.

We can't include that in a Bet Builder though, so will add in 70+ yards rushing and over 2.5 receptions to his anytime TD for treble of just over 3/14.00.

The yards shouldn't be a problem as he's eclipsed that in four of six play-off games and only missed in Baltimore by two yards - and although receptions is a bit of a gamble I think Mahomes will have to throw a fair few checkdowns with the Niners pass rush after him.

Pacheco caught four balls in Baltimore under similar circumstance and down the stretch in the regular season caught at least three passes in his last four outings. He'll have a big day in Vegas.

Back Pacheco 70+ rush yards, over 2.5 receptions & anytime TD @ 16/54.20

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