Sharp Football Analysis has every angle of 49ers vs. Chiefs covered in our Super Bowl 58 Hub.

49ers vs. Chiefs Prediction for Super Bowl 58:

The 49ers are predicted to win Super Bowl 58 with a 56.52% implied probability based on current betting lines.

TeamSpreadTotal (O/U)Moneyline
49ers-2 (-110)47.5 -110-130
Chiefs+2 (-110)47.5 -110+110

» Bet it Now: 49ers vs. Chiefs

Keys to Victory in Super Bowl 58

This is an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s Super Bowl 58 Report, a 67-page analysis of the 49ers vs. Chiefs that looks at the big game from every angle. The full report is available to subscribers, and you can get our Super Bowl Package for $50 off using promo code SB58.

How the Kansas City Chiefs Can Win Super Bowl 58:

  • Exploiting the 49ers run defense
  • Increasing the use of play action
  • Avoiding a slow start

Exploiting the 49ers run defense

On early downs including the playoffs, the 49ers defense has allowed as follows against various personnel groupings:

11 personnel: -0.06 EPA/play (#16), 5.2 yds/play (#10), 41% success (#17)
12 personnel: -0.02 EPA/play (#20), 5.0 yds/play (#9), 41% success (#24)

Against 11 personnel on early downs, by play type:

Passes: -0.13 EPA/att (#4), 5.7 YPA (#5), 42% success (#13)
Runs: +0.03 EPA/att (#29), 5.1 YPC (#27), 39% success (#22)

Against 12 personnel on early downs, by play type:

Passes: +0.01 EPA/att (#12), 6.7 YPA (#5), 46% success (#14)
Runs: -0.09 EPA/att (#19), 4.1 YPC (#17), 35% success (#23)

So when the Chiefs look to run the ball on early downs, they should look to do so from 11 personnel more frequently.

And that has been their trend. Of their 258 early down RB runs this year, 134 of them have come from 11 personnel, 85 have come from 12 personnel, and an additional 39 have come from 13 personnel.

The Chiefs’ efficiency is better running RBs out of 11 personnel, as well.

On these early downs in the first three quarters:

11 personnel: -0.04 EPA/att, 34% success, 4.5 YPC
12 personnel: -0.21 EPA/att, 31% success, 3.9 YPC
13 personnel: -0.13 EPA/att, 31% success, 4.4 YPC

They should lean more into 11 personnel runs on early downs and attack the 49ers’ weakness.

The Chiefs also need to attack the edges in the running game.

Looking at runs between left guard and right guard in the first three quarters of games, the 49ers allow:

  • -0.13 EPA/att (#14), 37% success (#22), and 3.8 YPC (#4)

However, on runs to the edges of the line, behind either tackle or outside the tackles, the 49ers allow:

  • +0.01 EPA/att (#26), 43% success (#27), and 4.4 YPC (#17)

Looking full season, the 49ers are at their worst defending these perimeter runs against 11 personnel:

  • +0.15 EPA/att (#32), 48% success (#29), and 5.4 YPC (#27)

This is the key liability for the 49ers run defense.

It just so happens that the Chiefs have been unlocking a ton of efficiency in the playoffs by attacking these very areas.

Look at the Chiefs offense in the playoffs based on run direction (similarly in the first three quarters):

  • Guard-to-Guard: -0.42 EPA/att, 27% success, 3.0 YPC on 26 rushes
  • Perimeter runs: +0.12 EPA/att, 42% success, 5.8 YPC on 24 rushes

This is a true strength-on-weakness matchup favoring the Chiefs.

During the regular season, here is how the Chiefs’ splits looked:

  • Guard-to-Guard: -0.03 EPA/att (#6), 34% success (#20), 4.0 YPC (#20) on 151 att (#13 most in NFL)
  • Perimeter runs: +0.02 EPA/att (#7), 42% success (#10), 5.6 YPC (#1) on 77 attempts (fewest in NFL)

If you scratch out the success the Chiefs at times gained on third- and fourth-down runs in short yardage and only look at early down runs now:

  • Guard-to-Guard: -0.13 EPA/att (#20), 28% success (#28), 3.8 YPC (#26) on 136 att (#13 most in NFL)
  • Perimeter runs: -0.01 EPA/att (#5), 40% success (#10), 5.1 YPC (#4) on 73 attempts (#31 most in NFL)

The Chiefs ran only 35% of their early down runs to the perimeter during the season.

But here in the playoffs, they have been running way more to the perimeter.

24 of their 47 early down runs (51%) were to the perimeter, substantially higher than the 35% during the regular season.

Half of these runs (12) in the playoffs came from 11 personnel, and look at what they delivered when running to the perimeter with 3 WRs compared to a TE-heavy grouping on these early downs:

  • 11 personnel perimeter runs: +0.17 EPA/att, 42% success, 6.8 YPC
  • 2+ TE perimeter runs: +0.08 EPA/att, 42% success, 4.9 YPC

Both are solid results, but the 11 personnel runs were more explosive.

They would also be optimal considering the 49ers are at their absolute worst defending perimeter runs from 11 personnel.

The fact the Chiefs have leaned into these runs more in the playoffs with great success, the fact that Joe Thuney is likely out, which would hurt the efficiency on interior runs even further, and the fact that the 49ers are so terrible at defending them are all reasons why Kansas City absolutely must lean even further into these runs in the Super Bowl.

» Read the full keys to success for the Chiefs in Super Bowl 58

How the San Francisco 49ers Can Win Super Bowl 58:

  • Running out of formations with two running backs
  • Finding success on early down passes
  • Increasing the use of play action

Running out of formations with two running backs

The modern NFL trend may be to utilize a lot of 3WR sets, but that’s not what either of these offenses likes to do. Particularly the 49ers.

The 49ers use 3+ WR sets on only 39% of offensive snaps, #31 in the NFL and well below the NFL average of 65%.

Instead, they use 2+ RB sets on 48% of offensive snaps, #1 in the NFL and nowhere near the average of 10%.

For many teams, going up against a team like the 49ers is a challenge for a variety of reasons, one of which is the personnel.

Their usage of 2+ RB sets is quite atypical and a challenge for some teams to defend from primarily a personnel perspective but also a coaching perspective.

However, it should be noted the Chiefs are uniquely prepared to face 2RB sets because they’ve tangled with them frequently this year.

There are only three teams that used 2+ RB sets on 40% or more offensive snaps. The Chiefs played two of the three in the last three weeks.

Of the 13 teams to use 2+ RB sets 9% or more often, the Chiefs have played 13 games against them this year. Based on usage rate:

  • #2 Miami x2
  • #3 Baltimore
  • #6 Raiders x2
  • #7 Bears
  • #8 Broncos x2
  • #10 Jets
  • #11 Bills x2

Their performance against these sets has not been great, however:

  • 2+ RB sets: +0.03 EPA/att (#23), 41% success (#21), 5.2 YPC (#27), 39% explosive rate (#27)
  • 3+ WR sets: -0.04 EPA/att (#24), 43% success (#29), 4.6 YPC (#26), 41% explosive rate (#29)
  • 2+ TE sets: -0.20 EPA/att (#3), 28% success (#2), 3.6 YPC (#10), 27% explosive rate (#7)

Specifically, against 21 personnel early down runs, the Chiefs defense is allowing:

  • +0.05 EPA/att (#30), 44% success (#30), 6.0 YPC (#30), and 32% explosive rate (#28)

29% of these runs gain 3+ yards before contact (#26), and 15% of them gain 12+ yards in total (#32).

The only team to run from 21 personnel on early downs more than the 49ers was the Dolphins.

When the 49ers run from 21 personnel on early downs, they produce:

  • +0.03 EPA/rush (#5), 43% success (#7), 5.3 YPC (#5), and 41% explosive rate (#5)

By all accounts, they are a top-five run offense from 21, they use it at the #2 highest rate, and they are facing the Chiefs who rank #30 against it.

The Chiefs have defended 21 personnel with 7+ man boxes at a 91% rate, so they are skewing very heavy already, and that hasn’t exactly solved the problem.

But Kansas City’s two-game sample against the Dolphins is interesting.

In the first game, the Dolphins ran 12 times on early downs from 21 personnel.

These runs gained:

  • +0.03 EPA/rush, 42% success, 5.6 YPC, and 50% explosive rate.

But in the second game, the Chiefs held these runs to:

  • -0.32 EPA/att, 29% success, 2.6 YPC, and 29% explosive rate on 7 rushes.

So they made adjustments and minimized the Dolphins rushing attack in the Wild Card Round.

For whatever reason, the Bills didn’t try to run from 21 personnel, and the Ravens decided not to run at all.

So we really don’t know if the Chiefs run defense is trending up against these formations or if they will struggle as their season averages forecast.

But I will be shocked if we do not find out early in the game.

» Read the full keys to success for the 49ers in Super Bowl 58

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49ers vs. Chiefs Game Overview

Sharp Football’s Rich Hribrar breaks down 49ers vs. Chiefs in Super Bowl 58:

While there is undoubtedly some fatigue from the public with getting the Chiefs in the big game, they once again rallied this postseason, taking a different path than in previous years.

This Kansas City team has had to go out on the road and win games as outright underdogs, something they will have to do again this weekend.

In beating both Buffalo and Baltimore on the road the past two rounds, Kansas City has now moved to an 8-3 record (9-1-1 against the spread) as an underdog with Patrick Mahomes as their starting quarterback with a 3-0 record in the postseason.

To provide some further context to how absurd that is, Mahomes has made 96 starts in the regular season and now 17 starts in the postseason. He has been an underdog just 11 times.

Only three other quarterbacks have a winning record as an underdog over that span and one of those (C.J. Stroud at 5-4) has only a one-year sample on his resume. The others are Lamar Jackson (10-5) and Ben Roethlisberger (10-9).

That includes last season’s Super Bowl when the Chiefs were 1.5-point underdogs against the Eagles.

This 2023 version of the Kansas City team was not completely reliant on a bonkers MVP-level season from Mahomes. Rather, they leaned on winning more games with their defense and ball protection, which was especially true this postseason.

Kansas City has done enough to win this postseason, but this is still an offense that has disappeared in crunch time, something we have not seen much during their ongoing dynasty run.

Even in this postseason, the Chiefs have scored a touchdown on 3-of-15 (20.0%) second-half possessions.

This has been an ongoing issue. In the regular season, the Chiefs were 30th in the NFL, scoring a touchdown on 13.5% of their second-half possessions compared to sixth in the first half of games (27.8%).

After leading the NFL in yards per play on first downs in the regular season (7.0), the 49ers have averaged 5.6 yards per play on first down in the playoffs (ninth).

After a league-low 36.4% of the San Francisco set of downs reached third down in the regular season, 50.0% have reached third down in the playoffs, the highest rate of any team that played multiple games this postseason.

San Francisco has bailed themselves out by converting 57.1% of their third downs this postseason, but that will be a tougher ask against this Kansas City defense.

After allowing a league-low 3.6 yards per play on third downs in the regular season, the Chiefs have allowed just 2.9 yards per play on third downs this postseason (also the fewest).

Teams have converted just 11-of-37 (29.7%) third downs in these playoffs against the Chiefs and just 3-of-20 (15.0%) needing more than five yards.

The reason the Chiefs have been able to get away with such a drop-off in offensive performance in the second half of games is that their defense has spiked in performance after the break. A similar recipe to what we have seen all postseason.

Opponents have scored a touchdown on 1-of-14 (7.1%) drives in the second half against the Chiefs this postseason after just a 14.0% rate (fourth lowest) in the regular season.

San Francisco has pulled off two postseason comebacks against Green Bay and Detroit, but asking this Kansas City team to make similar mistakes that those teams made is not the path they want to take for a third-straight postseason game.

The last thing to touch on before diving into the player matchups is of course the most important of all, which is winning the turnover battle.

Teams that have won the turnover battle in the Super Bowl have a 39-7 record overall. Teams that have won the turnover battle by two or more have a 30-3 record.

» Read the full 49ers vs. Chiefs Super Bowl Worksheet

49ers vs. Chiefs DFS Breakdown

Sharp Football’s Adam Wilde breaks down the DraftKings Showdown slate for Super Bowl 58:

The San Francisco 49ers head to Las Vegas to take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs as two-point favorites. The total is set at 47.5.

The 49ers defense ranked highly in most statistical categories this season but has fallen back to earth in the playoffs.

Both offenses have viable paths to success, but the Chiefs are far easier to stack. This is especially true given how well Christian McCaffrey fits into their pricing structure.

He will be rostered nearly 70% of the time, so the only way to be overweight will be to either lock him or play him as captain.

Rashee Rice will be the most popular captain, but there are still unique ways to play him.

The rest of the Kansas City options project for reasonable exposure, which bodes well for creating unique stacks.

» Read the full 49ers vs. Chiefs Super Bowl 58 Showdown Analysis

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Player Prop Bets for Super Bowl 58:

Sharp Football’s Ryan McCrystal likes the over on Patrick Mahomes’ rush attempts.

Patrick Mahomes ran just twice in an easy win over the Dolphins. Then, he had six attempts against both the Bills and Ravens.

That’s consistent with the trend throughout his career, as he averages 4.8 attempts per game in the postseason and 3.9 during the regular season. 

Mahomes runs even more in the Super Bowl (6.7 attempts per game) and has at least five rush attempts in all three of his Super Bowl appearances. 

Although that’s a small sample size, there’s obvious logic behind the trend, as any quarterback is more likely to put his body on the line for a few extra yards in the Super Bowl than the regular season. 

» Bet it now

Sharp Football’s Ryan McCrystal likes the over on Brandon Aiyuk’s longest reception.

The Chiefs typically prefer lining up in two-high safety formations, but when they shift to single-high coverage, Cover-1 is their coverage of choice.

According to TruMedia, Kansas City lines up in Cover-1 20% of the time overall, but that accounts for 47% of their snaps in single-high coverage. 

We can probably assume that rate climbs above 20% against San Francisco given the 49ers’ high run-rate, which usually forces teams into single-high at elevated rates as it allows them to stack the box. 

According to TruMedia, Brock Purdy has faced single-high coverage on 63% of his snaps. 

So if Kansas City is going to line up in Cover-1 at a high rate, we should expect some big plays from the San Francisco passing game based on this data from TruMedia:

  • 49ers gain 20 or more yards on 17% of plays versus Cover-1, ranked first
  • Chiefs allow 20 or more yards on 12% of plays in Cover-1, ranked 26th

Brandon Aiyuk is the most likely receiver to benefit from this trend, as he sees a 35% target share against Cover-1 with an average reception of 20.5 yards and 30% of his receptions producing at least 25 yards.  

» Bet it now

» Read all of Ryan McCrystal’s favorite Super Bowl 58 prop bets:

First & Anytime Touchdown Scorer Predictions & Bets for Super Bowl 58

Sharp Football’s Curtis Hirsch likes Deebo Samuel (+900) to be the first touchdown scorer in Super Bowl 58

Samuel’s usage has increased later in the season, and he is capable of scoring touchdowns either through the air or on the ground. Samuel scored 12 touchdowns this season, seven receiving and five rushing, and heated up down the stretch scoring nine times in the final seven games. Samuel should avoid coverage from L’Jarius Sneed and can benefit from red zone touches on the ground.

» Read our full touchdown predictions and best bets

Same Game Parlay Predictions for Super Bowl 58

Sharp Football’s Michael Hauff’s favorite same game parlay for Super Bowl 58:

  • Isiah Pacheco (Chiefs) Over 65.5 rushing yards
  • Brock Purdy (49ers) Over 12.5 rushing yards
  • Deebo Samuel (49ers) Over 4.5 receptions

If you combined all three legs from this same game parlay, the odds would be +435. If you wagered $100 on this, you would profit $435.

» Read our full same game parlay predictions

More Super Bowl 58 Prop Bet Coverage:

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