Super Bowl Key Matchups 2024

Last Updated: Feb 5, 2024

One could argue Super Bowl 58 is a matchup of the best team in each conference.

The NFC’s No. 1 seed, the San Francisco 49ers, will square off against the third-seeded Kansas City Chiefs. KC is the defending Super Bowl champ and will play in its fourth Super Bowl in five seasons; the Niners are facing the Chiefs for the second time in that span.

There are storylines galore. But here are some marquee matchups to consider for the first Super Bowl ever played in Las Vegas.

All Super Bowl odds used are current as of Monday, Feb. 5.

Super Bowl Matchup: Chiefs Pass Offense vs 49ers Pass Defense

The Chiefs passing offense was basically Patrick Mahomes and a prayer for much of the regular season.

But KC’s passing game has steadied in the playoffs, with a healthy Travis Kelce, rookie Rashee Rice, and embattled wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling making enough plays for the Chiefs offense to put up points. Mahomes is second in playoff yards (718), and Kelce and Rice rank second and fourth in receiving yards.

Keep tabs on the best Super Bowl lines from our top sportsbooks

The Niners pass defense has been exposed a bit in the postseason, though not as badly as some would have you believe. San Francisco is giving up 227 passing yards per game in the playoffs and has a pair of interceptions.

SB58 Bet: Patrick Mahomes Over 0.5 INTs (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Mahomes threw a career-high 14 interceptions during the regular season. He has four interceptions in his previous three Super Bowl games, including a pair in the Chiefs’ 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

Mahomes hasn’t yet thrown a postseason pick and hasn’t tossed one in his past four games. That suggests he’s due, especially against a defense tied for the NFL lead in INTs with 22.

Super Bowl Matchup: Christian McCaffrey vs Chiefs Rushing Defense

Christian McCaffrey is arguably the most important player in football, even though he isn’t likely to be named MVP.

The 49ers are 26-5 in games the All-Pro running back starts since they acquired him from the Carolina Panthers last season. They are also 14-1 in games where he surpasses 90 rushing yards, including both wins this postseason.

The Chiefs defense is giving up just 13.7 points per game in the playoffs after allowing the second-fewest points per game (17.6) during the regular season. But the KC defense has been soft against the run, ranking 18th in the regular season and sixth in the playoffs by giving up 113 ground yards per game.

SB58 Bet: Christian McCaffrey Over 90.5 Rushing Yards (-110) at bet365 Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

McCaffrey has topped this number in seven of the 49ers’ past 10 games, and the only reason he wouldn’t on Sunday is if the Chiefs force the 49ers into a pass-heavy game script.

Even then, this prop seems like a hit since McCaffrey has posted at least 90 rushing yards in both playoff games despite San Francisco having had to rally in each game.

Super Bowl Matchup: Kyle Shanahan vs Steve Spagnuolo

Shanahan has a penchant for coming up small as a play-caller in big games. Shanahan has coached in the Super Bowl twice, and his teams have held double-digit second-half leads before blowing them against Tom Brady and the Patriots and Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Can Shanahan exorcise the demons as he has all postseason? To do so, he’ll need to get past one of the best defensive schemers of his generation in Steve Spagnuolo, who has been a part of five Super Bowl championship teams and is 3-1 in the Super Bowl as a defensive coordinator.

SB58 Bet: 49ers Moneyline (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook

WAGER: 1 Unit

Shanahan and the Niners have been bucking old trends all postseason. They rallied to defeat the Packers in the divisional round and then overcame the biggest deficit in NFC playoff history in their 34-31 win over the Lions.

San Francisco has an embarrassment of offensive weapons and should be healthy thanks to its two-week rest period. Spagnuolo will try to dial up pressure, but Brock Purdy is tied for fifth in average pocket time (2.6 seconds) during the regular season despite the fact left tackle Trent Williams was banged up most of the season.

If Shanahan can outfox Spagnuolo, the Niners will win.

How To Identify Key Super Bowl Matchups

The best way to identify Super Bowl matchups is by digging into the stats. When you look inside the numbers, you can easily find the matchups that will play a big role in any game, not just the Super Bowl.

Doing so will allow you to find matchups you can exploit from a betting perspective. When you find a notable strength versus a glaring weakness, that is a bet that you want to exploit.


Pat Pickens

Pat Pickens is a seasoned sportswriter who has covered pro sports since 2013 for various websites, including The New York Times,, Bleacher Report,, USA Today, the Associated Press and many others. His debut book, titled "The Whalers" about the history of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, was released in October 2021.

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