Here’s why the 49ers should be the favorites in Super Bowl 54

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

FanSided is partnering with The Action Network to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 1.5-point favorites over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 54 (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX). A majority of spread tickets are on Patrick Mahomes & Co.

Bookmakers and the public favor the Chiefs but not The Action Network’s model, which uses player and team statistics to simulate the Super Bowl 10,000 times.

According to the math, the 49ers, not the Chiefs, should be favored. On average, our simulations have Kyle Shanahan’s team winning by 0.4 points.

The numbers suggest the 49ers should be favored, but can we trust the simulations?
Whenever there was at least a one-point difference between The Action Network’s simulations and the betting line this season, like with the 49ers, the model went 81-59-1 (57.9%) against the spread (ATS).

Our model is higher on the Niners than the betting market for a few reasons. First, San Francisco wants to run the ball and that is Kansas City’s weakness on defense.

The 49ers average 144.1 rushing yards per game in the regular season, which was second in the league, and have averaged 5.3 yards per carry in the postseason. The Chiefs defense ranked 29th in defensive rushing DVOA and allowed 4.8 yards per attempt (27th in NFL).
The real difference maker in this game could be the Niners defense. San Francisco ranked second in defensive DVOA with one of the best lines in the league.

Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead are capable of generating constant pressure in front of a secondary anchored by Richard Sherman, who finished second in Pro Football Focus’ coverage grades.

Mahomes is a generational talent, but the combination of a strong run game and elite defense might be too much for him to overcome. The public is betting the Chiefs, but the simulations suggest the 49ers should be favored.