Chiefs or 49ers? Bookies price up Super Bowl LIV

Leigh Copson:

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will go head-to-head for the Vince Lombardi Trophy on February 2, but who will come out on top in what could be an epic Super Bowl showdown in Miami?

It has been 50 years since Kansas City last graced the Super Bowl, but their long-suffering fans will finally get to see their team in the big one after the Chiefs swept aside the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.

The Titans arrived at Arrowhead full of confidence following upset road wins over New England and number one seeds Baltimore, and they jumped out to an early lead as the Chiefs were slow out of the blocks for the second playoff game running. However, unlike the previous week where they dug themselves a deep hole, Kansas City only trailed by 10 points on this occasion and once that offense burst into life Tennessee had very little answers. Patrick Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a couple of scores and ran one in himself as the Chiefs offense proved to be too much for the Titans, and on the opposite side of the football the defense was able to restrict dominant Tennessee running back Derrick Henry to just 69 rushing yards to derail the visitors’ gameplan. All of this culminated in a 35-24 win for KC, who are now just one game away from lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time since their Super Bowl IV win over Minnesota back in January 11, 1970.

Looking to deny the Chiefs are the San Francisco 49ers, who cruised into the Super Bowl with another one-sided win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. These two teams went head-to-head in the regular season and San Francisco embarrassed the Packers on that day, hold Rodgers to 104 yards passing as they stormed to a 37-8 victory. So would it be any different in the rematch?

Aaron Rodgers famously said years ago that San Francisco would regret the day that they failed to take him in the NFL Draft, but the Niners are still waiting for him to make that happen after another one-sided win. Green Bay had embarked on a winning streak since that regular season loss and it had pundits claiming that they would pose more of a threat this time round. The Packers had largely feasted on poor opposition during this run however, and they had only narrowly seen off Seattle a week earlier. Therefore it was no major surprise when the 49ers took control from the start and never let go, with that stifling defense and dominant run game guiding them to a 27-0 half-time lead. By the end of the game Green Bay had saved some face by putting 20 points on the board, but they had had no answers to Raheem Mostert all night and by the end of the game the San Francisco running back had scored all four of his team’s touchdowns while running over, round and through the Packers defense for 220 yards to average 7.6 yards per carry.

Simply put, Green Bay had been out of their depth and it is clear that Kansas City will be a much sterner test for the 49ers here. But can San Francisco lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the sixth time in franchise history or will Andy Reid finally get his hands on the biggest prize in the game by master-minding a Kansas City win?

The bookmakers have clearly found this a tough matchup to call and that is no surprise here. The old adage ‘defense wins championships’ remains very truthful and San Francisco have an outstanding defense, but on the flip side we have never seen an offense as lethal as this Kansas City group. This is a game that really could go either way, but the Patrick Mahomes factor has clearly played a part in the bookies’ thinking and that is why the Chiefs have been installed as the 5/6 odds-on favourites by Ladbrokes for Super Bowl LIV. They are not writing off the 49ers though – Jimmy Garoppolo & Co. are Even money to keep Andy Reid waiting for his chance to lift the NFL’s top prize.