2020 Super Bowl Opening Line Report
Many football fans would say that the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers isn't the matchup we wanted, but it's the matchup we deserved. You can make a case that the best regular-season team - the Baltimore Ravens - should have had the chance to earn their ticket to the Super Bowl, but they got beat by a team - the Tennessee Titans - who were simply overmatched in the AFC title game. Kansas City has been an up-and-down team for the majority of the season, despite finishing the regular season at 12-4. The Chiefs overcame some injury adversity with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and at least one of their three running backs missing time with significant injuries. Yet here they are, on the grandest stage of them all, vying for their first Super Bowl win since 1969.
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Their opponent, the San Francisco 49ers, is the team many pegged as being a year or two away from a championship run. The Niners not only sent that narrative to the moon, but they did so in emphatic fashion. They had a 13-3 regular season and outscored their two playoff opponents 34 points - which could have been more had the games not been out of reach heading into the fourth quarter. The Niners' offense is as smooth as they come, and they are getting production from unlikely sources, but it's their defense that has stolen the show. The Niners defense is simply too much for teams to handle right now. They confused the heck out of Kirk Cousins and limited the Vikings to barely any offense in the Divisional Round. And in the NFC Title Game, they blew the doors off the Packers offensive line and contributed two turnovers to a 27-0 halftime lead.
I don't think the saying "the style makes the fight" could be truer than this year's Super Bowl. You have two high-powered offenses, but only the 49ers can stake claim to having a legitimate defense. It'll be interesting to see if the Niners can slow down Mahomes and Co. just enough to help their offense score points and pull away for the win.
Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs (-1), 53.5.
I'm not going to be going too much into the X's and O's of this game as we have a full two weeks to break it down, and we will do just that at Doc's, but the opening line is fascinating to me. From what I see the 49ers are the team that deserves to be the favorite heading into this matchup. They not only have one of the only offenses that can keep up with the Chiefs, but they have a defense that makes KC's look like Swiss Cheese. There are indications that this Super Bowl could break the Nevada Super Bowl Handle record of $158.6 million set in 2018 when the Eagles beat the Patriots, but I don't see that happening, especially with how close and even the lines are. Many bettors are simply attracted to the underdogs in the Super Bowl. And while betting +150 will entice bettors and help the handle reach that $158.7 million mark, this game figures to see a lack of money line bets as -115 or -120 on Kansas City just isn't appealing enough to the average fan.
In terms of what the sportsbooks were thinking prior to hanging an opening number and letting the sharps bet into it, Jeff Stoneback of the MGM said "we thought the number should be KC -2.5 after the Chiefs game assuming that the 49ers won. When the Niners looked just as dominating against the Packers as they did the week before against the Vikings, we knew we had to start lower". The sportsbook director also went on to say that an hour after posting the number, they had great two-way action with no wager larger than $10,000.
Some sportsbooks weren't as lucky. SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said "after nearly three hours of having their numbers posted, the Chiefs (-1) had 71 percent of the tickets written and their first big bet was $110,000 on the "over" 52.5, which forced us to go to 53.5.
From what I see in both of these teams, the total is going to be one of the trickier bets to call as it could legitimately go either way. The Niners play such good defense, and I do truly believe that defense wins championships. If the Niners can slow down the Chiefs offense, they can work with their running game and bleed out the clock as much as possibly to shorten the game. On the flip side, the Chiefs offense has yet to really be stopped, and most people are expecting a shootout between two teams who are ranked second and fifth in points scored per game. If you are a trend better, it should be noted that the "over" has hit in six of the last nine Super Bowls, including two of the last three. I can see this total steadily climbing to at least 55 before the sharps start buying back on the "under". As for the side, you have to believe that KC is going to continue to see more money pour in on them as they are the sexier of the two teams.
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