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Super Bowl History Doesn’t Favor the Chiefs – Should You Bet on Them?

| February 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT
Kansas City Chiefs vs San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl 54

The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world. Other sports have long, drawn-out series that bog things down, but the fact that the NFL title comes down to one game makes everything feel so final.

And it is. Super Bowl 54 offers one of the best matchups fans have in history, it has a gaudy 54.5 total, and it has insane star power.

Truth be told, it will probably end up being one of the best Super Bowls we’ve ever seen.

But it’ll be a lot more fun if you can profit off of it, too. You can do that by first finding the best Super Bowl betting sites to lay bets on and then gauging what the top wagers are.

With everyone gravitating to a tight spread and moneyline, though, I thought it could be worth our time to brush up on the history of Super Bowl favorites.

How many times has the Super Bowl favorite won? How many times has the Super Bowl favorite at least covered the spread? Does Super Bowl favorites betting make sense to do? Can you use that data to your advantage for the 2020 Super Bowl?

Those are some key questions worth getting the information for ahead of placing your best Super Bowl 54 bets.

Will Kansas City Chiefs Live Up to Their Favorite Billing?

I don’t believe so. That’s just my opinion, but any data aside, I see the 49ers as the deeper, more balanced team.

Kansas City has an insane amount of speed. That’s well-documented. In fact, they’re literally the fastest team in the NFL.

But what flies under the radar is the fact that the 49ers rank right behind them.

That may suggest Kansas City’s would-be edge in explosive ability could end up being overrated. I believe that even more when you note that the 49ers had the best pass defense in the league during the regular season, while also ranking fifth in sacks.

San Francisco also gave up the fewest big plays on the entire year. The 49ers then flipped a switch and allowed 30 total points to capable Vikings and Packers offenses.

On the other side, the Niners have a far superior running game, an at-worst comparable (if not better) offensive line, and their own speedy offensive weapons.

The 54 game total suggests both teams could score some points.

Sure, maybe. But the 49ers have the substance, while KC seems to be more flash. I’ll take the defense and proven ground game every time.

How Super Bowl Favorites Have Fared Straight Up

I don’t see Kansas City winning, but they are still the favorite to win this game (-122 at the best Super Bowl 54 sportsbooks).

If you’re coming into this post liking the 49ers, you probably like everything I’ve said so far. If you’re a Chiefs fan, it’s likely nothing I say will sway you, and that’s fine.

I still think it’s worth our while to go back and see how Super Bowl favorites did.

In that same breath, it’s also important to keep in mind that we are dealing with 53 years of pro football. Most of these games are in completely different eras, with different athletes, different systems, and different rules in a lot of cases.

That said, looking back at the 53 previous Super Bowls, it’s easy to see that the favored team going into the big game ended up winning 35 times.

That’s a solid 35-18 mark, which comes out to 66%.

Pertaining to this game, though, I thought it’d also be interesting to see how Super Bowl favorites did with a really tight spread. When favorites had the edge at the sportsbooks by five points or fewer, they went just 11-13.

This doesn’t mean the Chiefs can’t win. It just means that in Super Bowl history, a mild favorite was a toss-up. That’s basically what this game equates to as we approach it, so that data shouldn’t be all that shocking.

Unfortunately, if you want to feel good about betting on the Chiefs, it doesn’t really calm any nerves.

How Super Bowl Favorites Have Done Against the Spread

Betting on the Niners with this spread is pretty silly. There are some Super Bowl betting sites that offer alternative lines, and some general lines have been at +1.5 or even +2.

I can see the merit in that, but betting on the 49ers at +1 (-105) when you can just get a +102 moneyline or similar feels like a waste of money.

But I digress.

For the most part, you’re looking at the ATS numbers when it comes to Kansas City. This whole post is about how Super Bowl favorites have done, anyway, so let’s also look at how they’ve done against the spread.

Super Bowl favorites haven’t been great at covering. You know they usually win (depending on the spread, it seems), but as a whole, they’re just 26-25-2 against the spread.

That’s not very impressive.

To be fair, there were some upsets that we should have probably seen coming, and some of the Super Bowl point spreads in the past were just absurd.

The Baltimore Colts were ridiculous 18-point favorites back in Super Bowl III, and they lost 16-7.

Kansas City isn’t a big favorite, though. The top betting sites are driving up betting interest by pricing this game so close, but this also happens to be a very good matchup that feels incredibly difficult to peg.


Overall, the top Super Bowl sportsbooks got it right when they priced this thing. The only difference is I’d have favored the 49ers. Of course, betting history doesn’t really support the favored team here.

Super Bowl favorites have been underwhelming at covering spreads, while tight spreads have given way to upsets more often than not.

And if you want to throw another wrinkle in there, just look at how the betting public is wagering on Super Bowl 54. At least for right now, most of the money and bets are leaning toward Kansas City.

Sports betting 101 suggests fading the public is something you always need to consider. The question is if it rings true here, along with the historical data concerning Super Bowl favorites.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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