Super Bowl 2024 picks, predictions against spread: Why the Chiefs will beat the 49ers again in Super Bowl 58

The Chiefs and 49ers are set for a Super Bowl 54 rematch in Super Bowl 58. While Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes go for the overall repeat and another win over the same Super Bowl opponent, San Francisco will look to avenge a 31-20 loss from four seasons ago.

Once again, the Chiefs will be the designated home team in Las Vegas on Feb. 11 (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS). They also will try to do what they couldn’t in Super Bowl 55, when they lost their chance to become back-to-back NFL champions.

There is one big change. Kansas City ended up as a 1.5-point favorite over San Francisco in Super Bowl 54. This time, the 49ers open as two-point favorites with the over/under set for a point total of 48.

Will the 49ers come through and cover that small spread, or will the Chiefs deny them for a second time in five Super Bowls? Here’s a betting breakdown and prediction for Super Bowl 58:

(Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

MORE SUPER BOWL 58: Halftime show | Location | Tickets

49ers vs. Chiefs picks, predictions

  • 49ers’ offense vs. Chiefs’ defense

The 49ers’ offense faces a tough Chiefs’ defense, which has proved to be the best overall in the NFL, especially with its nastiness vs. the pass with varied pressure and coverage. The Chiefs can struggle, however, against the run, as they gave up 4.5 yards per carry in the regular season.

That’s good news for San Francisco, who will be looking to get Christian McCaffrey going. The Lions were a tough run defense draw in the NFC championship game, but the 49ers beat the Packers in the divisional playoffs because of McCaffrey going off to help QB Brock Purdy.

Jimmy Garoppolo missed some throws that could have helped the 49ers build on a 10-point lead in Super Bowl 54. Purdy is an upgrade because he can execute with greater accuracy in the deep passing game playing off the run. The 49ers had Deebo Samuel and George Kittle in that game, but they have since added a better overall running back in McCaffrey and another dangerous downfield wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk.

Expect an epic battle between Samuel and Aiyuk and the Chiefs’ ace corners, led by L’Jarius Sneed outside and Trent McDuffie inside. The 49ers would be wise to have McCaffrey, Kittle, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk involved in the game plan for Purdy’s short-to-intermediate passing.

Purdy will be fine when McCaffrey’s work sets up comfortable play-action, and he can get a clean pocket. He also throws well and extends plays while on the move. The issue will be the straight-up blocking against Chiefs’ defensive tackle Chris Jones, who can be a handful for the 49ers’ interior pass protectors. On the edge, second-year breakout pass rusher George Karlaftis also has a favorable matchup vs. right tackle Colton McKivitz.

Coach Kyle Shanahan, also the offensive play-caller, excelled at adjusting the personnel to dictate matchups against the Lions. Purdy’s work while seeing the blitz also will help keep defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s versatile and sometimes aggressive pressure looks at bay. Overall, the 49ers being able to rely on the run and find passing success away from the Chiefs’ corners will allow them to move the ball better than every other team can against Kansas City. They just need to be patient and not force passes looking for the big play.

Advantage: 49ers

  • Chiefs’ offense vs. 49ers’ defense

The Chiefs’ offense also tends to reinvent itself well with Andy Reid. Kansas City’s concerns from the regular season are long gone.

Travis Kelce is rejuvenated as an elite receiving tight end. Isiah Pacheco is seeing volume and rushing well. The offensive line is being more active with its athleticism and getting more help. Rookie Rashee Rice has been a valuable go-to wide receiver in the middle of the field. Even deep threat Marques Valdez-Scantling has shot out of dormancy in the playoffs.

Mahomes is the straw that stirs that mixed drink. He, like Purdy, is avoiding succumbing to pressure and knows when to take off and run. He and Reid have found their most trusted assets for this latest Super Bowl run, including knowing when to use extra wideouts and tight ends.

The Chiefs may not be lighting up the scoreboard, but they’re staying balanced and methodical, much like they were in 2023 with only a couple of differences in skill personnel. Like the Super Bowl 54 run, they can pivot to be a strong running team, and the 49ers’ run defense has fallen apart in the playoffs.

The 49ers’ secondary also is having some considerable issues in coverage when not involving former Chief Charvarius Ward, their top cornerback. The Chiefs can use the middle of the field well, but Mahomes can also exploit the outside. Nick Bosa and the 49ers’ defense must get to Mahomes and rattle him, but that’s not very likely given Mahomes didn’t wilt in the face of the Ravens’ pass rush in the AFC championship game.

The 49ers will try to get away with playing zone and not resorting to any kind of blitzing to get to Mahomes, knowing it’s a medium reward at higher risk. However, sitting back in zone also can be a mistake given how Mahomes is picking defenses apart underneath.

Advantage: Chiefs

The Chiefs have streamlined their weapons for Mahomes. Kelce, Rice, and Pacheco are the principals, with limited downfield cameos from other targets. They also rely on their loaded young defense to deliver on every level for Spagnuolo. Reid has pulled out a few wrinkles, but it hasn’t been very exotic.

The 49ers have Kyle Juszczyk, Jauan Jennings, and some other clutch receivers for Purdy. Purdy’s legs all of a sudden are a semi-concern. Shanahan also has the ultimate chess piece in Samuel to move around as a receiver and runner. The 49ers will need to think a lot more about putting the “X” in their execution to win, even as the slight favorites.

Advantage: 49ers

  • Special teams

The Chiefs, between reliable Harrison Butker kicking and Tommy Townsend punting, already have a big edge over the 49ers’ counterparts Jake Moody and Mitch Wishnowsky. The teams are pretty even in the return game, as the 49ers rely on Ray-Ray McCloud and the Chiefs are turning to former 49er Richie James over Kadarius Toney.

Advantage: Chiefs

Reid has gone from a questionable big-game coach early in his career going back to the Eagles to the most trusted one in the NFL with the Chiefs. Spagnuolo’s defense provided the foundation to fight through a tough season, and Reid’s play-calling savvy has come through big-time again for the offense in the playoffs.

The 49ers have needed to dig deep to come back, as Kyle Shanahan has coached a little tight and needed time to find the right flow with McCaffrey and Purdy in the playoffs. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had a rough game scheming against the Lions, especially early. Reid over Shanahan was a big factor in Super Bowl 54, and that plays out again.

Advantage: Chiefs

  • Intangibles

The Chiefs have Mahomes and Kelce trying to lead a repeat. The defense is trying to cash in big time as the reason for this Super Bowl run, and Jones and Sneed will take that literally as pending free agents looking for big paydays. Reid can continue to stamp his career with a third ring. Based on their ages, it always could be the last one for Kelce and Reid. 

The Chiefs’ winning experience over the 49ers can’t be discounted. There are a lot of changes from that roster, but Mahomes, Kelce, Jones, and Reid remain the core figures. The 49ers are better offensively but not so defensively.

There’s also that factor that’s played out for Kelce all season long as the Chiefs have now transcended into pop culture as “Taylor Swift’s team.” Kansas City is the new New England — and it knows it. The Chiefs want to keep enjoying that ride.

Advantage: Chiefs

Super Bowl 58 prediction

The Chiefs have the better defense, coach, and quarterback. That’s plenty to overcome for the 49ers, despite how loaded their offense is around Purdy with his four primary weapons. Mahomes doesn’t have much in the way of big plays, but neither will Purdy in this matchup, so this game will come down to cutting down on small mistakes while under pressure. 

Purdy will play well and make this a classic, but Mahomes is still Mahomes, Reid is still Reid, and Kelce is still Kelce. The Chiefs are becoming the new Patriots with Tom Brady retired and Bill Belichick not coaching. The Chiefs complete that transformation by becoming the first NFL team to repeat as Super Bowl champions since the Patriots 20 years ago.

Pick: Chiefs 31, 49ers 27 in an upset (+2) with the total going OVER 48.

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