Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are 1½-point favorites over the San Francisco 49ers, and the total is 54½ for Sunday's game. In a survey of opinions from VSiN staff members, other media, Las Vegas bookmakers and professional bettors, 25 of 38 handicappers picked the 49ers to win.
Gill Alexander, VSiN host: Chiefs 28-27
The Niners’ D flies around the field and is able to get the Chiefs off the field several times in the first half, but Mahomes makes two or three plays that
only he can after the break, the difference in the Chiefs’ second Super Bowl title.
Chris Andrews, South Point sportsbook director: Chiefs 28-27
It’s right on the number and right on the total. I don’t have a strong opinion on this game.
David Bearman, ESPN deputy editor, sports betting: Chiefs 31-20
A unique matchup of the AFC’s top passing offense and the NFC’s top rushing offense. If the Niners can continue to play ball control and keep the high-flying K.C. offense off the field, they can win. However, not many people have been able to, and I don’t see it happening here. The Chiefs have shown the ability to score in bunches, and it’ll happen here too.
Dave Blezow, New York Post NFL handicapper: Chiefs 33-30
It's never anybody’s turn in the NFL, but it can be somebody’s time — and it looks to be Mahomes’ time to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. His ability and creativity defy game-planning, and once he figures out a defense, he can score and score and score some more.
Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill sportsbook director: 49ers 27-24
The San Francisco running game will be the difference as Raheem Mostert wins MVP.
Danny Burke, VSiN host, producer: Chiefs 34-27
Will the Chiefs get off to another slow postseason start? Probably. But to me, that just means we’ll see another comeback led by the best player in the league, Mahomes. The 49ers’ defense can hold strong for only so long, and Jimmy Garoppolo will be forced to make some tough throws. By the end of the night, Andy Reid will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Ian Cameron, VSiN contributor: 49ers 31-27
The 49ers’ balanced attack will be too much for the Chiefs’ defense. San Francisco won’t shut down Kansas City’s explosive offense, but the vaunted pass rush led by Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa will make key stops and contain Mahomes just enough for the 49ers to win.
Adam Candee, VSiN host: Chiefs 31-28
The Niners are the best team in the league, but I cannot pick against a fully healthy Mahomes leading K.C.’s electric, quick-strike passing attack.
Sean Cavanaugh, VSiN producer: Chiefs 31-28
In a game filled with sustained drives on one side and quick-strike offense on the other, every punt will feel like a momentous swing. But Mahomes, the Legion of Zoom and Reid will deliver the final blow in the fourth quarter.
Dave Cokin, ESPN Radio 1100: 49ers 30-24
This is a great matchup, and a case can be made for either side. My tendency is to back the team with the stronger rushing offense and defense. In this case, that’s San Francisco, so I’ll back the 49ers to win a thriller.
Todd Dewey, Las Vegas Review-Journal: 49ers 29-24
The Niners control the clock with their dominant ground game, and their top-ranked passing defense slows Mahomes just enough to give San Francisco its sixth Super Bowl title.
Chuck Esposito, Sunset Station sportsbook director: 49ers 29-23
The 49ers have a great defense and the top running game in the league, the best factors to give the Chiefs’ offense a difficult time and keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands. The 49ers hoist the Lombardi for the first time since 1995.
Patrick Everson, Covers.com senior writer: Chiefs 31-27
A one-score game that actually has some scoring would be nice, unlike last year’s 13-3 Patriots win over the Rams. So hopefully this score is reasonably close. I think it’ll be a very good matchup, with the Chiefs winning.
Ben Fawkes, ESPN Chalk editor: 49ers 34-31
It’s not an easy task to slow down Mahomes & Co., but the 49ers’ pass rush will generate enough pressure to get key third-down stops. And coach Kyle Shanahan will call a terrific full game to make up for the debacle three years ago when the Patriots overcame a 28-3 lead to beat the Falcons, whose offensive coordinator was Shanahan.
Lou Finocchiaro, VSiN contributor: 49ers 27-22
San Francisco’s dominant offensive line and defensive line will be key. The 49ers will tote the rock 32-plus times in a dominant ball-control game plan.
Doug Fitz, professional handicapper: 49ers 28-24
A simple system that has performed quite well in recent Super Bowls is to take the dog if it has the better overall defense. The 49ers fit this system by a mile.
Paul Howard, VSiN host: 49ers 31-27
Mahomes was Superman for much of the year but was human when facing a top-10 defense. The 49ers will get enough stops and take the early lead behind their great rushing attack. The slow start by the Chiefs this time will do them in, with a special-teams gaffe at some point.
Brady Kannon, VSiN host: 49ers 27-26
While the 49ers remain a small dog, I made San Francisco a 1½-point favorite. The Chiefs have the better quarterback, but I believe the 49ers are the better overall team. It is always a good formula to go with the better defense and better running game when that team is in the underdog role.
Scott Kellen, VSiN contributor, professional bettor: 49ers 30-27
Both teams have some hidden value because of injuries during the season. But the San Francisco defense is elite when healthy, and it showed in the playoffs. Defense beats offense again.
Doug Kezirian, ESPN “Daily Wager” host: 49ers 30-24
This is a total coin flip, and I have no strong opinion. Mahomes is obviously special, but San Francisco has answered nearly every challenge this season. Garoppolo will do enough.
Jay Kornegay, Westgate SuperBook vice president: 49ers 28-24
I hate to root against Mahomes, but I’m going with the better defense. The 49ers’ running game is no joke and will keep their defense rested to challenge Mahomes. The Chiefs’ comeback will come up just short.
Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker, Gaughan Gaming: 49ers 30-24
The Chiefs possess a terrific offense and the more dynamic quarterback, but the Niners own the better defense — and that will dictate the game’s pace.
Steve Makinen, Point Spread Weekly editor: Chiefs 27-20
I’ve seen this game being called a clear battle of K.C.’s offense vs. S.F.’s defense. I can’t disagree more, as I think both teams are very good on both sides of the ball, and the relative closeness in their body-of-work statistics reflects it. But one player can tip the scales for his team, and that is Mahomes. The Chiefs have won eight straight games SU and ATS with him under center, and with his poise in that stretch, he has looked like a star ready to take the torch from Tom Brady.
Bruce Marshall, The Gold Sheet editor: 49ers 34-27
Edges in old-school football (running game, defense) provide a timeless advantage for the 49ers.
Mitch Moss, VSiN host: 49ers 26-23
I hate betting against Mahomes, but San Francisco's defense is good enough to contain the K.C. offense. The 49ers were also the second-highest-scoring team in the league, so I think they’ll have enough to outscore Mahomes.
Brent Musburger, VSiN host, managing editor: 49ers 24-21
The 49ers led the NFL with 57 sacks. The only cliche I bet on is “defense wins championships.”
Jeff Parles, VSiN host, producer: Chiefs 31-27
Mahomes will continue his playoffs-long reminder to the world that he is the NFL’s best player. He’ll pass for three touchdowns and K.C.’s defense will make one big stop on the final drive to win the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl in 50 years.
Greg Peterson, VSiN producer: 49ers 24-17
This is a battle of strength on strength. Mahomes is taking the league by storm, but the 49ers should be able to pressure him and take him out of his comfort zone.
Wes Reynolds, VSiN host, writer: 49ers 27-23
The 49ers can get pressure with their front four, and the defense’s speed will be too much for Kansas City.
Erin Rynning, VSiN contributor, professional bettor: 49ers 27-20
I’ll be on the 49ers and the Under. I prefer a 49ers team that can maintain the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. In addition, the 49ers’ ability to control the clock with their vaunted run game is a huge plus against the Chiefs’ 29th-ranked run defense.
Jeff Sherman, Westgate SuperBook manager: 49ers 27-24
I am siding with the running game and better defense of the 49ers. The key will be keeping Mahomes off the field.
Scott Spreitzer, VSiN contributor, professional bettor: 49ers 27-23
The Niners are one of the few teams that can generate a consistent pass rush with four players, allowing seven in intermediate and deep coverage. Offensively, San Francisco should be able to eat up the clock with its ground-based attack. The clock keeps moving and this stays Under.
Paul Stone, VSiN contributor, professional bettor: Chiefs 31-24
Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, leads Kansas City to its first Super Bowl title in 50 years as the Chiefs’ defense does just enough to keep the 49ers’ vaunted running game in check.
Dave Tuley, VSiN senior reporter: Chiefs 31-28
I lean to the Chiefs and the Over, but let’s call my best bet a six-point teaser on Chiefs + 4.5/Over 49. I usually don’t like teasing through zero, but it makes sense in this matchup in case the 49ers pull out a three- or four-point win in a close game (and teasing the total since we missed the earlier lower numbers).
Thomas Viola, VSiN producer: Chiefs 35-24
The Chiefs’ run defense has rounded into form over the second half of the season, and the offense is explosive enough to force Garoppolo to throw the ball more than the 49ers want. One Garoppolo mistake gives the Chiefs the edge they need to pull away.
Jonathan Von Tobel, VSiN host: Chiefs 28-24
The 49ers allowed 27.4 points per game in their final five games of the regular season, and three of those came against top-five offenses, according to DVOA. The Chiefs rank third in offense, and they have the fourth-best offensive line in terms of pass protection. San Francisco’s defense had trouble with top-ranked offenses and will again Sunday.
Robert Walker, USBookmaking director of sportsbook operations: 49ers 27-21
I expect the 49ers to control the clock and keep Mahomes and that potent offense off the field. San Francisco’s offense has two ways to beat you in what should be a very competitive game.
Matt Youmans, VSiN senior editor: 49ers 27-24
Everybody loves Mahomes, and I hate to bet against him. This is about old-school football handicapping. The 49ers have the stronger defense and running attack, the two most important elements to beating a Mahomes-led team.