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Two vets with difference of opinion

Feb 1, 2020 6:09 AM

Here we go again, Super Bowl 54!

I’m excited to watch this game, not from a betting perspective but from a fan perspective. I think we have two well-matched teams with the Kansas City Chiefs currently favored by 1 point over the San Francisco 49ers and the total at 54 or 54.5 points.

I can argue either way on that you could make San Francisco a 1-point favorite, but really this line means very little as you need to pick the straight-up winner in this game. What I’m looking for here are advantages, either in the side or total.

Rather than hear from just me, I invited my good friend and noted handicapper Mike Scalleat to discuss Super Bowl 54.

Jim: We will see two different styles on display here in the Super Bowl, the ground and pound game of the San Francisco 49ers vs. the quick strike passing game of the Kansas City Chiefs.

For me, Kansas City has the obvious advantage at quarterback with Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes likely will get $40 million for the next 10 years in his next contract. He’s evolved to one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.

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Mike: For the 49ers to win here in Super Bowl 54 they will need to get out front and control the ball on the ground. When Jimmy Garoppolo passes for 25 times or more, his QB rating is in the low 50 percentile. The fewer passes he makes, the higher his passer rating goes. Therefore, if he’s forced to pass more in this game, this could be a problem for the 49ers.

As for Mahomes, he may get sacked more in this game by this 49ers’ front four. However, he has a knack for turning bad plays into big plays. I don’t believe the 49ers’ secondary is quick enough for the Chiefs receivers.

The Chiefs’ defense is also underrated with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola. Spagnola, who was linebackers coach for the Eagles, was credited with crafting the defense that beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl 52. I expect Spagnola to have a game plan to hold Mostert in check in this game. If he can hold down Mostert he will force Garoppolo to pass more and we know what happens when his pass count goes up.

Jim: I must disagree with Mike on one point. I think the 49ers will run the ball effectively in this game. Kyle Shanahan will be able to control the ground game, though I do see Garoppolo having to do more in this game than he has the last couple of games.

I’m also keeping an eye on the weather for this game. The game is being played in Miami and while the temperature will be in the 60’s to 70’s, there are threats of rain showers. As we know, that can change in a hurry with the Southern Florida weather. Weather could make a big difference here if we see some moderate rain. For me, that means my advantage comes with in-line betting during the game.

The total opened at 52 and is now at 54.5 or even 55 at some places. An advance bet on the under could be a play here. You could always get off that bet if the weather turns out to be good with no rain.

I’m also looking at the first quarter Under the total. I think there will be some nerves on display here with both sides in the big game and that could be an edge in the first quarter total.

The first quarter over/under is 10.5 right now. The Chiefs have started slowly the last two games, scoring 7 points vs the Titans and no points in the first quarter of the Texans game.

Mike: I took KC minus-1 and also played them on the money line. But, like you said, if KC was a 4-point favorite then I would likely be on the 49ers side.

I do like KC up to about 3-points in this game. I also think it’s going to be a great game to watch.

One prop caught my eye and that was Garoppolo passing yards at 239.5 at the Westgate. For me, I’m going to play this prop Under. If the 49ers get ahead, we’ll see a steady stream of Mostert and if they get behind then Garoppolo is forced to pass more and he doesn’t do as well under those circumstances. 

Another prop bet for me, Mostert’s total rushing yardage over/under is around 80. I have a lot of confidence in this KC defense and will play Mostert Under that total rushing yards. They held Derrick Henry of the Titans, one of the best running backs in the league, to just 69 yards and 3.6 yards per carry in that AFC Championship game..

Jim: No doubt, both these teams are explosive. The Chiefs with Mahomes and the 49ers with their running game. But when you put in the underlying fact that Shanahan lost that Super Bowl with the Falcons and that big lead, this will weigh heavy on his mind in this Super Bowl.

I expect Shanahan to take the ball out of Garoppolo’s hands to avoid mistakes and run the ball. I think the Under could be a play here. Add the weather and that just makes it even a strong wager, especially with in-line betting.

Mike: If you like the Niners, then you should like the Under too. The only way I lean to the Over is if the Chiefs have the lead and they don’t take their foot off the pedal. It really depends on who gets out in front early in this game as to the pace of the game.

I do have a teaser from a month ago where I took the 49ers and Over 42 points. But the overall total of 54 to 55 is high. This is the type of game you can make multiple bets with the props and in-line wagers.

Jim: For me, I’m keyed into the weather as we get closer to game time. I’ll keep an eye out for the rain, but for me, in-game betting and props will be where most of my bets will come from.

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