Super Bowl 54 Betting: A Case For the Chiefs’ Defense

Kansas City Chiefs Defense Betting Analysis

If you were to take a look at the four main units on the field for Sunday’s Super Bowl game, you’d probably have to conclude that the Kansas City Chiefs‘ offense might be the strongest one on the field, while the defense might be the weakest.

But does that mean the stop unit will be a glaring weakness? Is there a case to be made that they will be more than adequate to pull off enough stops to get an edge? There are probably plenty of advocates, seeing as they seemed to play a lot better in the latter part of the season.

Super Bowl 54 will take place on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. It’s televised by FOX. And BetAnySports customers can place wagers while the action is in progress, courtesy of the software from Sports Betting Ultra.

Here is the latest line on the game (subject to change, of course):

Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs vs. 49ers Betting Odds

Team SP/RL TOTAL ML
49ers +1 (-110) 54½ (-110) EV
Chiefs -1 (-110) 54½ (-110) -120
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So how about that Chiefs’ D?

They have done better against the run lately

For most of the season, the Chiefs were right there among the league’s worst in terms of stopping the run. Using “DVOA,” an efficiency measurement, they were 31st in the league. Up until Week 11, that is. Since then they have done an admirable job, placing 17th in that metric. Over that period they gave up more than 70 rushing yards to only one running back. And that running back was NOT Derrick Henry, who had just 69 yards against them in the AFC title game. In their two post-season games, they have yielded just 4.1 yards per carry.

Admittedly one of the factors that could make them effective on Sunday would be if they can take the Niners out of their game plan. The Chiefs lead the NFL in first half points, so if they build an early lead you could conceivably see the 49ers pass a lot more than run. And that brings them more into KC’s wheelhouse.

Kansas City stops big passing plays

In terms of defending against “pass explosiveness,” the Chiefs were 7th in the league. That’s not bad. But they were second in the league over their last eight games in that category. They are ranked in the top five defending the other team’s #1 and #2 receiver. And they may have addressed a big problem in the latter part of the campaign when they put Kendall Fuller at safety. Fuller had been, by at least one measurement, the NFL’s worst slot defender. But now he’s been playing at safety, with Rashad Fenton going to the slot. A great veteran addition was Tyrann Mathieu, who has been a leader manning one of the safety spots.

They could rattle Jimmy Garoppolo with the pass rush

Some of this starts with slowing the running game. And we say that because play-action passing means more to San Francisco than it does to Kansas City. But we can tell you that Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo loves to blitz. And against the blitz this season, Jimmy G threw seven of his 13 interceptions. He also had a passer rating of 92.9 in blitz situations, compared to 107.7 when NOT being blitzed. There are stars upfront, to be sure. Both defensive end Frank Clark and defensive tackle Chris Jones, who gets a great inside rush, made it to the Pro Bowl.

The bottom line – points

Over their last eight games of the season, only in the two playoff games did the Chiefs allow more than 21 points. And against the Texans and Titans, they overcame early deficits with monstrous offensive comebacks. All this contributes to why they have covered eight in a row.

Will they cover again on Sunday?

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