Free Super Bowl Picks 2020
This is an odd Super Bowl. By this time most years - when I have written several thousands of words about the game, and looked at it from many different angles - I usually have a strong sense of how things are going to turn out, and an opinion that has only strengthened the more I have looked at it. Sometimes those opinions turn out well, and sometimes they don't, but I feel very settled in them. Confident even.
But this year, the more I look at the game, the further away I get from a firm decision. I have been on the Niners in the NFC for months now, and I can easily convince myself that their defense, their coaching, and their chameleon-like ability to shift their offensive approach will take them over the top. But then I look at the depth of offensive weapons the Chiefs have, the incredible confidence they are playing with, their ability in the postseason to shake off adversity like it never happened, and my mind shifts that way. Back and forth like a porch swing. And a spread which is not much more than a straight pick 'em doesn't help to bring any clarity. This is all a very long way of saying that these free 49ers vs. Chiefs picks that I am about to make are not going to include a pick against the spread. I just don't see much value there - or if it's there I sure can't figure out how to find it this time around. But there are other picks that can be made. Better picks. Let's get at it:
Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
I like this announcing pair. They aren't as good as Tony Romo - no one is - but they are very solid. And, interestingly enough, they are the subject of a good deal of the bets I find interesting this time around. Buck and Aikman are packed with value. In fact, strangely, all of the free Super Bowl picks this year have to do with the two announcers:
Will they mention Alex Smith? Yes +300
Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Niners. He had some moments there, but not enough over his seven years to impress Jim Harbaugh enough to keep him around. So, he moved to Kansas City. And he was solid enough there, too, playing five playoff games in five years before making way for Patrick Mahomes. His connection with both teams, his link to Mahomes, and his horrific injury - all of that is just too much to talk about for Buck and Aikman to resist. The yes side is packed with value here.
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Will they mention that Jimmy Garoppolo started with the Patriots? Yes -150
One of the starting quarterbacks won two Super Bowls as the backup for the most successful postseason quarterback in history. And that quarterback is a free agent who will be the biggest story of this offseason. And it's quite possible that Brady will leave the Pats, and they will have a massive hole at QB - a hole that Garoppolo could have filled perfectly if they hadn't traded him away. It feels like it would be shocking if they didn't mention Garoppolo's history with the Pats.
Will they say 'Patriots'? -200
You can take every argument I made about Garoppolo. And you can add in the fact that the Patriots are the defending champions and that we could be watching their empire unravel before our eyes. And then add in that Buck and Aikman will have a whole lot of time to fill. This is a small potential payoff, but it is still plenty large enough to be packed with value.
Will they show a clip or picture of Joe Montana playing for the Chiefs? Yes +150
Montana is one of the all-time great quarterbacks. He was unceremoniously forced out of San Francisco after he won four Super Bowls - one in the same stadium as this game - and three Super Bowl MVPs. He then went to finish his career in Kansas City. It feels like it would be almost impossible for the commentators to not talk about that, and if they do, they will show pictures - it's TV. There is tons of value here.
Will the broadcast mention that Raheem Mostert was undrafted? Yes +150
Mostert is coming off a game for the ages, basically beating Green Bay alone with 220 yards and four touchdowns. It was only the second 100-yard game of his career. He didn't precisely come from nowhere, but it's still a remarkable journeyman story. And he's going to be a story coming into this one - the more the Niners can run the ball, the less time it spends in Mahomes' hands. Again, the yes side is packed with value here. Commentators love little tidbits, and the fact that a record setting running game was made by an undrafted guy is a juicy one.
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