America’s Biggest Game: The Matchup, Bookie Picks, & Intrigue At Super Bowl LIV

American football is getting ready to celebrate its biggest annual game. And it just so happens that the upcoming Super Bowl seems to have a lot to offer for fans all over the world. Whether or not time is up on the New England Patriots’ dynasty, it always feels a little bit fresh when the Pats don’t make it to the final game. This year is no different, and the matchup we have on our hands – between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers – looks like a whole lot of fun.

Here, we’ll dig into that matchup, who the bookies like, and some of the most intriguing storylines attached to the game.

The Matchup

Super Bowl LIV features a matchup that not everyone necessarily saw coming, but which now seems unsurprising and perfectly appropriate. It’s always nice when it feels like the best two teams are the last ones standing, and this time around that’s either happened, or we’ve come pretty close.

The Chiefs had their issues at various points during the season, mostly due to some minor but problematic injuries to superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. However, they entered the season among the favorites, finished 12-4, and looked to be playing some of their best football heading into the playoffs. Some thought they’d have a difficult road to the Super Bowl through the AFC, possibly having to overcome the Patriots and/or the Baltimore Ravens. As luck had it though, the Tennessee Titans took care of both of those opponents, and the Chiefs were able to beat the Titans (fairly convincingly) to make it to the Super Bowl. At this point, their offense looks nearly unstoppable.

For their part, the 49ers were excellent all season long, and proved a while back that they could beat opponents in a variety of different ways. They went 13-3 to secure the top seed in the NFC, crushed the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round (when the Vikings had just upset the New Orleans Saints), and then had a fairly easy time with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game. Again, you never quite know how they’ll win. One game their defense will simply be too good; the next, tight-end George Kittle will have an outburst; against the Packers, it was running back Raheem Mostert, a former NFL castoff, who exploded for what will likely be the best game he ever plays. One way or another though, this team consistently rises to the challenge and then some.

The U.S. Bookies’ Outlook

This is actually a new consideration of sorts, because U.S. bookies themselves are brand new. It’s a complex issue, but to put it concisely, the U.S. is undergoing various legal changes that are opening the doors for legal sports betting, at least in certain states. While international betting markets have always paid at least some attention to the Super Bowl, it will be interesting this year for those interested to be able to check in on the bookies that are actually closest to NFL action, and follow it most regularly.

This new betting industry sprung up on the East Coast first, but as it’s expanded, it appears that the DraftKings Sportsbook may represent the busiest market. It was there from the beginning in New Jersey and a few neighboring states, and it was the first to spread when West Virginia added sports betting more recently (and first through the gate in Indiana as well). Because of this, we’ll turn specifically to this popular online bookie for Super Bowl odds.

As of this writing, this particular U.S. betting service is giving a very slight edge to the Kansas City Chiefs. The money line (which could shift as we get closer to the big game) is Kansas City -122 (meaning you’d have to bet $122 to win $100), and the point spread is Kansas City -1.5 (meaning the Chiefs are favored to win by 1.5 points). For those who aren’t familiar with betting, those numbers forecast a pretty close game. The Chiefs have a clear, but slight edge in the eyes of the bookies.

More Points Of Intrigue

One of the best things about the Super Bowl, year in and year out, is the drama beyond the game itself. It always represents a defining moment for various individual players, and there are always various storylines worth paying attention to aside from just the score. Sometimes these miniature dramas come out of nowhere as the game unfolds, but as we look ahead, these are some of the points of intrigue to be excite about.

The Pat Mahomes Legacy – At just 24 years of age, Patrick Mahomes has an MVP trophy and back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship or better. And with the New England Patriots possibly facing a decline and the Chiefs set up well for the future, some are looking at this game as a chance for Mahomes to truly begin to establish his legacy as one of the greats. If he’s as spectacular as he can be in Super Bowl LIV, he’ll emerge as the face of the NFL.

A Titanic Tight-End Clash – There’s really no debating the fact that this game features the two best tight-ends in the NFL – and frankly two guys who are closer to the level of recently retired Patriots great Rob Gronkowski than anyone expected to see. The Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and the 49ers’ Greg Kittle will do a lot to sway the outcome of this game, and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.

The Garoppolo Question – 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a complicated reputation. On the one hand, he’s clearly talented, and was drafted and groomed to be the heir to Tom Brady’s throne in New England before he was traded to San Francisco. On the other hand, his team doesn’t necessarily rely on stellar quarterback performance to win. Heading into the game, there’s justifiable uncertainty about his performance. Can he be a star on this stage? Does he need to be?

Dee Ford’s Revenge – Maybe most interesting of all the subplots is the potential revenge of Dee Ford, a defensive end on the 49ers. Ford played for the Chiefs a season ago, and his mistake lining up offsides in the AFC Championship may have cost Kansas City a chance at the Super Bowl. He was traded away in the offseason, and will now face off against his old team. Ford says it’s going to be fun, but we’re betting there will be a lot of tension between him and his former team.

All in all, this is shaping up to be one of the better Super Bowls in recent memory. Everyone enjoy the game!

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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