Super Bowl 2020 odds, line: 49ers vs. Chiefs picks, predictions from SN experts
For a Super Bowl that features such a tight point spread, with the Chiefs being 1 1/2-point favorites over the 49ers based on opening odds, it makes sense that Sporting News’ NFL experts are relatively split with their picks.
Based on the predictions made by our seven experts, though, the 49ers should be considered the favorites in Super Bowl 54. Five of the seven have San Francisco beating Kansas City. One thing we all can agree on: This should be a great game. All of SN’s predictions for 49ers vs. Chiefs feature one-score games that come down to the fourth quarter.
Below are all of our expert picks for Super Bowl 54, complete with explanations for each pick and score predictions for 49ers vs. Chiefs.
Super Bowl 2020 predictions: Expert picks for 49ers vs. Chiefs
- Super Bowl 53: 49ers vs. Chiefs
- Date: Sunday, Feb. 2
- Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
- Kickoff time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox
- Live stream: DAZN (30-day free trial)
- Odds: Point spread, Chiefs -1 1/2; Total, 53
Vinnie Iyer: The 49ers have the firepower to match the Chiefs’ explosive offense, either playing from ahead or behind, running or passing. They also have the better defense on all three levels with fewer positional weaknesses.
Mahomes and his skill players will find their heavy share of success, but Garoppolo has equal support in a more favorable matchup to help him move the ball all the way through the end of the fourth quarter. The 49ers will finally get that sixth ring to match the Patriots and Steelers.
Prediction: 49ers 34, Chiefs 31
Bill Bender: The Chiefs are 2-3 when they give up 150 yards rushing or more. Despite the fact that their run defense improved in the second half of the season, the 49ers present a different challenge with that rushing attack and defensive line.
Kansas City did a good job limiting Tennessee on the ground in the AFC title game, but the 49ers present a more diversified offense. Jimmy Garoppolo will match Patrick Mahomes in the first half, but San Francisco’s secondary will force Kansas City to be more patient than they want to be.
Ultimately, it’s the 49ers who will come up with the momentum-changing turnover, perhaps courtesy of Nick Bosa, and they will run out the final four minutes in rather anti-climactic fashion. Don’t be surprised if a defensive player is named Super Bowl MVP.
Prediction: 49ers 30, Chiefs 26
Mike DeCourcy: It’s just hard to imagine another professional defense getting trucked in the way Green Bay did throughout the NFC championship game. And it’s nearly as difficult to picture the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes responding as timidly as the Green Bay offense.
This pick is not as comfortable to make as the recent College Football Playoff title game, which was like a wide-open layup, but the Chiefs offense appears to have the magic necessary to counter the impressive 49ers D.
Prediction: Chiefs 28, 49ers 21
Zac Al-Khateeb: It seems the 49ers are clearly the better of the two conference champions entering Super Bowl 54, thanks in large part to the myriad ways they can beat opponents. San Francisco saw stellar play from both its defensive front and secondary, and it got such a good performance from running back Raheem Mostert that Jimmy Garoppolo only needed to throw eight passes in an NFC championship game that was over by halftime.
Credit to the Chiefs for overcoming a double-digit deficit for the second consecutive week. But their offense, led by Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, will face a tougher defensive challenge vs. the 49ers than they faced against Houston or Tennessee. Kansas City can’t sell out to stop Mostert, either, or else Garoppolo — unlike Ryan Tannehill — will make them pay through the air.
There will be splash plays by both the 49ers and Chiefs, but in the end, you have to go with the more well-rounded team.
Prediction: 49ers 38, Chiefs 31
Joe Rivera: The Chiefs managed to bottle up and hold Derrick Henry to just 69 yards in the AFC championship game. While their offense is getting the headlines — rightfully so — what Steve Spagnuolo has been able to mold the Kansas City defense into this season has been something.
This game could come down to QB play, and if that’s the case, the nod has to go to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The 49ers pass rush is legitimate, but it might also be negated by Mahomes’ ability to make otherworldly throws on the move, outside of the pocket.
It’s going to be close, but it just feels like Kansas City’s year, and Andy Reid will finally get the elusive Lombardi Trophy.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, 49ers 27
Tadd Haislop: Largely because of the Patrick Mahomes factor, we understand why Super Bowl 54 is being framed as a clash of spectacular offense in Kansas City and smothering defense in San Francisco. Mahomes also heavily impacts the point spread. Yet this Super Bowl narrative omits an important fact.
As great as Kansas City has been all season offensively, San Francisco has been even better. Notably, the 49ers are doing it with a quarterback who completed just six passes in the NFC championship game and threw for only 208 yards in their two playoff games combined. When the 49ers have needed Jimmy Garoppolo to produce, though, he has delivered.
The diversity on offense, coupled with dominance on defense, is why San Francisco has an edge over Kansas City. This isn’t a case of “defense wins championships.” It’s a case of defense wins championships — especially when complemented by superior offense and hampered by zero notable weaknesses.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Chiefs 27
Matt Lutovsky: It’s not easy to bet against Patrick Mahomes (or Andy Reid with an extra week to prepare), but the 49ers excel in two areas in which the Chiefs struggled most of the season: Running and throwing to tight ends. San Francisco’s pass rush is also the best the Chiefs will face all playoffs, which will at least make Mahomes work for every yard.
There’s a clear path to winning for both teams, so any outcome won’t be surprising, but if San Francisco can control the ball and keep Mahomes off the field, it will have a big advantage. We’re betting the 49ers can do that.