Super Bowl 2024 Preview: Tom Collins shares his best bets for Sunday’s Sin-City showstopper
By Tom CollinsLatest NFL Odds
8 February 2024
It all comes down to this: one game, four quarters, 60 minutes to secure a place in history. Which team will lift the Lombardi Trophy and earn prestigious Super Bowl rings to signify their success in the 2023/24 season? We will find out after a thrilling match-up this Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers are the two franchises set to battle it out for glory. They landed in Paradise, Nevada, on Monday and have spent the week putting the final touches on their preparation. Both teams are pretty accustomed to deep playoff runs and possess winning Super Bowl records.
For the Chiefs, the Super Bowl has become the norm with four appearances in the last five years due to the ridiculous talent of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tactical nous of head coach Andy Reid. That combination led Kansas City to victory in 2020 and 2023, but suffered a painful and one-sided defeat to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. The Chiefs are 3-2 in Super Bowls and are two-point underdogs to keep that record above 50%.
San Francisco’s sample size is slightly larger with a record of 5-2. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as their last success came way back in 1999 and has been followed by a pretty barren spell featuring two main-stage losses. Incidentally, that 1999 Super Bowl should always be remembered for a terrible Disney-themed halftime show that was titled: ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye’. Hopefully Usher will be a little better than that!
The 49ers last played in a Super Bowl four years ago and lost 31-20. Who were the opponents? Yes, you guessed it, the Kansas City Chiefs. San Francisco led the game by 10 points going into the fourth quarter, but three unanswered touchdowns from the Mahomes-led KC offence saw the game turn within a handful of minutes. The San Fran wounds still haven’t healed.
Relatively little has changed in Kansas City since that day aside from a few personnel and minor coaching alterations, while the San Francisco offensive unit is barely recognisable. In fact, only wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (didn’t play due to injury) and Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and fullback Kyle Juszcyzk remain in skill positions. That reshaping could be enough to get revenge.
This is a hard game to call. The Chiefs have become an unstoppable force in the National Football League in recent years and, even when they appear down and out, Mahomes and Reid find a way to turn it around. A franchise with a strong winning record in high-pressured situations cannot be confidently opposed without conviction.
Offensive struggles cost the Chiefs several wins throughout the regular season, especially against the Broncos, Packers and Raiders. Nevertheless, they comfortably won the (weak) AFC West and made the playoffs without earning home-field advantage. Mahomes’ previous playoff success came at Arrowhead, so there were worries that he couldn’t replicate it on the road. What a load of rubbish that proved to be.
However, he will need to be at his best to beat a 49ers team that shone during the regular season. Granted they struggled in playoff victories over the Packers and Lions, but good teams win when they play badly and that was certainly the case on both occasions. I expect far fewer mistakes with a safer and more efficient gameplan adopted for the Super Bowl.
Consequently, San Francisco gets my vote. They have more playmakers on offence than Kansas City and, although Brock Purdy isn’t in the same league as Patrick Mahomes, he has the luxury of an elite group of weapons at his mercy. I would also rather rely on the 49ers defence if this becomes a low-scoring game - their run-stopping expertise and ball-hunting secondary can cause turnovers at crucial moments.
This match-up could be decided by the effectiveness of two offensive players. Will Travis Kelce dominate the middle of the field for Kansas City and earn numerous first downs? And can Christian McCaffrey find the small gaps when carrying the ball and provide a valuable checkdown option for Brock Purdy in the passing game?
There is a strong chance that both of those come true, but it’s McCaffrey who interests me from a betting point of view. ‘CMC’ touched the ball the most times out of every player in the league (339) bar quarterbacks and centres during the regular season, and that number hasn’t waned in the playoffs.
Although his primary role is to run the ball, he caught 67 passes during the regular season (average of 4.2 per game) and has added 11 receptions in two playoff matches (5.5 per game). With Kansas City’s pass rush sure to make an impact on Purdy’s time in the pocket, you can expect him to find McCaffrey on numerous occasions and therefore backing over 4.5 receptions rates as my best bet.
For those wanting to create a bet builder, I would add in Under 47.5 total points and McCaffrey first touchdown scorer.
Super Bowl’s usually become cagey with defences gaining the upper hand early. The ‘under’ has hit in 70% of San Francisco’s games this year and 50% of Kansas City’s matches. In regards to McCaffrey, they will need to use him early and often so there is a good chance he gets the 49ers off to a leading start.
If outright result, handicap spread, total points and player props aren’t enough for you, maybe you will be interested in a couple of the one-off markets offered for the Super Bowl. There will be plenty of buzz surrounding the length of the national anthem and the colour of the gatorade on social media, although it’s pretty much guesswork in regards to the latter!
I certainly won’t be parting with my cash on either of those markets, but it’s worth noting that ‘the queen of country’ Reba McEntire is going to belting out The Star-Spangled Banner. The 68-year-old isn’t as egotistical as others who have been given the pre-game honour in recent years and doesn’t regularly hold her notes for what can seem like an eternity. Without trying to talk you into a bet, the ‘under’ might be appealing here!
My beers, burgers and snacks will be in full flow by the time the game gets underway - this is the best Sunday night of the year. Hopefully the San Francisco 49ers can gain revenge for their 2020 Super Bowl defeat by beating the Kansas City Chiefs, thus putting Brock Purdy’s name in lights.
Christian McCaffrey will need to be at the forefront of everything San Francisco does on offence, while Mahomes cannot be given time in the pocket to showcase his creativity and accuracy. Buckle up for a battle and enjoy the game!
Christian McCaffrey over 4.5 receptions @ 5/7