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2023 NFL Super Bowl LVIII Betting Picks Guide—San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Updated: Feb 14

The Kansas City Chiefs defend their title versus the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, 2024.

NFL Super Bowl Betting Pick: 49ers vs. Chiefs +2

We are backing the Kansas City Chiefs to hoist the Lombardi trophy when the dust settles on the proceedings in Las Vegas on February 11, 2024. This feat would mark the third title of the Patrick Mahomes era and only the ninth time in the history of the Super Bowl a team has captured consecutive titles.

This year's final matchup of the season both fits with bookmakers' predictions as well as represents a modest surprise. The Chiefs' 14% implied probability before the start of the season (based on a +600 moneyline) rendered Kansas City the most probable team to win Super Bowl 58. However, both the Eagles and Bills were deemed more likely than the 49ers to face the defending champions (the Niners' +1000 preseason moneyline for winning it all tied with the Bengals and implied a 9% chance of the earning the sixth ring in franchise history, and the first since 1994).

Interestingly, while San Francisco is modestly favored in next Sunday's action, the betting flows favor Kansas City. The Action Network is tracking close to 99,000 Superbowl wagers as of the time of this writing and 73% of against-the-spread bets and 63% of the ATS handle back the Chiefs.

Perhaps the betting public's support for Kansas City should not represent a surprise given the recent post-season success the team has enjoyed (Mahomes has led his team to four Superbowl appearances over his career, with wins in 2022-23 and 2019-20). Against this backdrop, it is curious to note that the 49ers have become slightly more favored over the last couple of days. The line has widened from San Francisco -1.5 to -2 points.

After an initial surge of action on the Kansas City Chiefs caused the spread to contract, the San Francisco 49ers have since become more favored for Super Bowl LVIII action

But despite this indication of bigger action on the Niners, the historical context appears aligned with the Chiefs. For example, we have observed that short dogs have proven very likely to pull off the upset in NFL postseason action.

History suggests the Kansas City Chiefs are likely to pull off the upset win in Super Bowl LVIII, as short dogs to the San Francisco 49ers

The 22% long-term profitability associated with backing teams for the straight up win that are taking less than a field goal proved statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, which implies this angle's observed return is unlikely to be due merely to chance.

Additionally, the NFL betting market has demonstrated an exploitable tendency to underrate Superbowl contenders coming off underdog wins (Kansas City beat Baltimore in the Conference Championships, as 4.5 point underdogs, a couple of weeks ago).

The Kansas City Chiefs' underdog win over the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round of the 2023-24 NFL Playoffs sets the stage for cover in Super Bowl LVIII

The 79%(!) return on investment since 2003-04 generated by this second (nearly infallible) angle has likewise demonstrated statistical significance, though the sample size is slight.

It has also been observed over the last couple of decades that Super Bowl teams with better records almost never beat the number (the 94%% cover rate related to fading squads in this spot is statistically significantly different than the 52.4% cover rate required to breakeven, assuming the standard vigorish).

We suspect this observation is a manifestation of the betting public's recency bias, which might erroneously lead casual wagerers to flock to teams with more wins, which, in turn, bids spreads to undue levels and/or induces bookmakers to shade lines.

As an aside, while we noted above that the bulk of the action to date is down on Kansas City, as far as we know, the biggest bets appear to support San Francisco. For instance, one risk taker in Michigan dropped a cool million on the Niners -1 a couple of days ago (which only goes to show, we suppose, that all big bets are not necessarily sharp bets...another bettor has reportedly placed $100K on the coin toss, an outcome for which an informational advantage is impossible).

Given the historical precedents indicated above, the Chiefs +2 constitutes our recommended Super Bowl play and our final betting pick of the 2023-24 NFL season.

Happy betting!!

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