Super Bowl Tale of the Tape

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The American Gaming Association estimates that 68 million Americans will place a bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl. That is an increase from last year of more than 35%. The total wagered is estimated to top $23.1 billion, up from $16 billion 12 months ago.

If you are one of those 68 million, let us help you break down the matchups for Super Bowl LVIII.

Quarterback – Chiefs

Brock Purdy has been excellent this season for the San Francisco 49ers, and he just finished fourth in MVP voting. But Patrick Mahomes is Patrick Mahomes, and the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is on a different level when he plays in the postseason.

Mahomes hasn’t thrown an interception in his last six postseason games (including last year’s Super Bowl win), and in 17 postseason starts, he averages 282 yards and 2.3 touchdown passes.

Bovada.lv has Mahomes as the +120 favorite to win the Super Bowl MVP.

Running Back – 49ers

Your newest Offensive Player of the Year is 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. He is the most impactful player who is not a quarterback in football, scoring 21 touchdowns this season and leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

The Chiefs have a very good back in Isiah Pacheco. But McCaffrey is elite, and he’s teamed with a great fullback in Kyle Juszczyk.

McCaffrey is paying +450 to win the game’s MVP award, and he is paying -260 to score a touchdown.

Wide Receiver – 49ers

The Chiefs have a great rookie wide receiver in Rashee Rice. He finished the season with the second-most receiving yards among rookies, and the third-most receiving touchdowns. But the rest of the group leaves a lot to be desired.

The 49ers tandem of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel is one of the most explosive in the NFL, and Jauan Jennings is an excellent third wide receiver.

Nevada online sportsbooks have Aiyuk at +140 to score a touchdown on Sunday, with Samuel paying +125.

Tight End – Chiefs

This is a tight one, no pun intended. George Kittle had an All-Pro season in San Francisco, and finished with more yards and touchdowns than Travis Kelce. But when it comes to performing in the playoffs, no one is better than Kelce.

In 11 career playoff games, Kittle has 31 catches for 451 yards and two touchdowns. In 21 playoff games, Kelce has 156 catches for 1,810 yards and 19 touchdowns. This year, in three playoff games, Kelce has 23 catches for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Kittle has played two playoff games this year, and he has six catches for 108 yards and one touchdown.

Two great tight ends, but the Super Bowl edge goes to Kelce. Kansas online sportsbooks have the over/under on Kelce’s receiving yards at 72.5.

Offensive Line – 49ers

The Chiefs are normally excellent in the middle of their offensive line, with the trio of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith. But the best of the bunch, Thuney, is unlikely to play on Sunday.

A banged-up Chiefs line vs. a 49ers line that has All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, and the advantage goes to San Francisco.

Defensive Line – 49ers

The Chiefs have Chris Jones at defensive tackle and George Karlaftis at defensive end. But they will miss defensive end Charles Omenihu, who tore his ACL in the AFC Championship Game.

The 49ers have some of the best depth in the NFL along the defensive line, with Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and Chase Young. Bosa is a former Defensive Player of the Year who hasn’t had quite the year he expected in 2023. NFL online sportsbooks have Bosa at -105 to record a sack in the game – the shortest odds for any player.

Linebacker – 49ers

Fred Warner is an All-Pro for the 49ers, and Dre Greenlaw could be. Together they are widely considered to be the best linebacker tandem in the NFL. Nick Bolton scored a defensive touchdown for the Chiefs in last year’s Super Bowl, but he struggles in pass coverage. Both Warner and Greenlaw are excellent in coverage.

Secondary – Chiefs

One of the better cornerback duos in the NFL is the Chiefs pair of Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed. McDuffie is a 1st-Team All-Pro in this, his second season, and Sneed should have been. Both are great in coverage, terrific tacklers in the open field, and are often used to blitz the quarterback.

The best 49ers corner is Charvarius Ward, who was a member of the Chiefs in the Super Bowl four years ago, beating the 49ers.

Special Teams – Chiefs

There isn’t much advantage for the kick returners in this game, but there is a big advantage for the Chiefs in kickers. Harrison Butker is one of the best clutch kickers in the NFL, hitting on 28 of 32 playoff kicks. He’s also converted five of his six attempts from beyond 50 yards.

Overall, Butker has made 14 of 15 kicks (including PATs) in three Super Bowls. He won Super Bowl LVII with a field goal with eight seconds left.

49ers kicker Jake Moody is a rookie who has missed two fields in the playoffs.

BetUS.com has Butker and Moody both at +300 to be the first scorers of the game.

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