The San Francisco 49ers are currently betting underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. But statistics show that the Niners should be favored.
The San Francisco 49ers were 4-12 last year, but after transforming their roster, they managed to go 13-3 this season.
After 53 Super Bowls, ESPN has ranked them as the second most surprising team to make the Big Game. Only the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who also went 4-12 the previous year topped the maroon and gold.
In 2019, the Niners set a record with the fewest interceptions in the history of the NFL with two. They also had a league-low seven total turnovers. This year the team forced 27 turnovers, which was among the best in the league. They had 600 percent more interceptions this year than last year.
One of, in not the most important factor in telling a quality team is their point differential. The 49ers gave up 310 points this year compared to 479 points scored, for a plus-169 point differential. Kansas City had a 451-308 difference in scoring, for a plus-143 differential.
The Niners opened the season as 25-1 longshots. That’s not as bad as a couple of teams, but it was a nice shot for savvy gamblers. With one game to play, it’s anybody’s guess who will win.
I’m guessing the 49ers.
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Aside from the point differential, the 49ers have the No. 1 defense against the pass and Kansas City can at times get pass-happy. Could Patrick Mahomes have a huge day as Drew Brees did against San Francisco? Sure, but generally, the 49ers have been excellent limiting pass production.
Another reason the Niners look good is the running attack. The 49ers were second best in the NFL at rushing the ball while Kansas City was only 26th against the rush.
The 49ers have 48 sacks on the year which is good for the fifth-best total this season despite having multiple linemen injured. Kansas City has one of the best offensive lines in football, but they’ll need it to keep out the 49ers fearsome foursome.
So why is Kansas City favored? Two words: Patrick Mahomes.
Kansas City has more stars in general, but the betting public knows much more about Mahomes than any 49ers player.
The Chiefs had six selections to the Pro Bowl this season as Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce represented the offense while Frank Clark and Chris Jones represented the defense. Mecole Hardman was the chosen return man for the AFC.
This year the Niners had four players selected to the Pro Bowl with George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk on offense and Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman on defense.
Fortunately, the Super Bowl is played by not just a few stars, but by a team. Statistically, the 49ers have the better team and are most likely to win it all.