Pro Picks: Purdy will lead the 49ers to another comeback win, ruining Chiefs’ repeat bid


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Pro Picks is a weekly column where AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi shares his picks for upcoming games. For all previous Pro Picks, head here.


The underdog Kansas City Chiefs are playing for history against the San Francisco 49ers.

No team has been the underdog in consecutive Super Bowls and won both games. The two previous defending champions to return as an underdog both lost.

But the Chiefs (14-6) have been defying the odds throughout the postseason. They were underdogs in victories at Buffalo and Baltimore.

Now, they’ve got to do it again to become the first repeat champions in 19 years.

The 49ers (14-5) are 2 1/2-point favorites on Sunday, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. They’re quite familiar with that role having been favored to win each game this season.

The past three teams to be favored in every game in a season — 2017 and 2007 Patriots and 2001 Rams — each lost the Super Bowl.

So, something has to give. One streak will end Sunday.

The Chiefs are 13-1 in domes with Patrick Mahomes. He has 33 touchdown passes and just three interceptions in those games. They’ll be indoors at Allegiant Stadium.

“I just like playing football, so it doesn’t matter if it’s minus-30 or if we’re in indoors,” Mahomes said. “I’m just going to go out there and try to play the best I can. I’m sure quarterbacks will tell you it’s easier to throw the football when it’s in perfect conditions, so that’s probably why, but for me it’s just going out there and competing.”

Here are two stats going against the 49ers. The team with the better winning percentage is 1-15 against the spread in the Super Bowl since 2003. Teams who had a bye facing teams who played a wild-card game are 5-10 straight up and 2-12-1 against the spread in Super Bowls.

Here are two stats going San Francisco’s way. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is 6-0 straight up as a favorite in the playoffs.

Under Shanahan, the 49ers are 32-11 straight up and 28-14-1 against the spread when playing in the Pacific time zone for the second straight game.

This will be the 31st Super Bowl with a point spread of six points or fewer. The winning teams also covered the spread in 29 of 30 games.

Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the Chiefs were inconsistent on offense throughout the season and had to rely often on a strong defense led by Chris Jones.

Brock Purdy and the 49ers have plenty of offensive playmakers led by All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, All-Pro tight end George Kittle and wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

They’ve got a talented defense led by star edge rusher Nick Bosa and All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner. But San Francisco has been susceptible on third downs.

“As good as we sometimes think we are, teams do a really good job of having really good plays and no matter what the situation may be, we gotta play hard and we gotta play fast,” linebacker Dre Greenlaw said.

If they let Mahomes and the Chiefs extend drives and don’t get off the field, it can be a long day.

In the previous 57 Super Bowls, the favorites are 36-21 straight up and 27-28-2 against the spread. Pro Picks leans slightly toward the 49ers in a close one that comes down to Purdy having to lead the team to a comeback win for the third straight game.

49ERS, 24-23

Playoffs: Straight up: 7-5. Against spread: 5-7.

Regular season: Straight up: 168-104. Against spread: 144-118-10.


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