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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley


Read Below for Best Bets!!!

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Before we get into Best Bets, I'm going to break down the case for each team and their must win matchups. Then I'll provide my game pick, and my Best Bets. Let's roll.

The Case for the Chiefs

When talking about the Chiefs, typically the case for why they'll win starts and ends at having Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. He's this generation's Tom Brady and you have to pick against him at you're own peril. The 2023 Chiefs are a different animal than even last year's Chiefs, and it's all about the flexibility of Andy Reid and the dominance of Chief's defense that preys on teams that are uncomfortable going to their 3rd and 4th pitches.

The Chiefs offense is a throwback to pre-2006 football. They play a style known as "ball control", where the goal is to hold the ball as long as possible. Andy Reid being comfortable slowing the pace down and running the ball as much as he ever has in his coaching tenure was a vital pivot he had to make. The Chiefs have two reliable pass catchers in Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice, so Isiah Pacheco being a battering ram that keeps the chains moving is necessary for the Chiefs to win games. This is incredibly important since the 49ers have been very poor at defending the run in these playoffs. The 49ers deploy a NASCAR front that excels in getting to the QB but is frankly too small to be effective on rushing downs. The lack of consistent edge setting opposite Nick Bosa is an issue for the 49ers and they don't have a good space occupying 1 Tech defensive lineman that can consistently gum up rushing lanes and pulling lineman. This is all great for the Chiefs since Pacheco will have an easier time running away from Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner than he did against Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, who had the benefit of some outstanding execution of the run fit by the Ravens' defensive line. The Chiefs will be missing Joe Thuney, but Nick Allegretti has held up admirably, especially in the run game. I think he will need help on passing downs, especially if there's anything long developing downfield. A steady diet of Pacheco on early downs will set up easy to convert third downs, which leads us to the next significant matchup.

Travis Kelce needs to win the matchup against Fred Warner and force double coverage. If he does that then everything else is 1 on 1 in the match zone scheme. Warner is outstanding in coverage and can go toe to toe with just about every TE in the NFL. Kelce has thrown it back to his prime these playoffs so you'd hope for Kelce to continue to win this matchup and set up the other pass catchers on the roster to have success.

Defensively KC has the dudes to handle the 49ers on the outside . Sneed, McDuffie and Williams have the capacity to contain Aiyuk, Samuel, and Jennings. KC needs to force throws to the outside and make the middle of the field a no throw zone. They are weaker in that area of the field but they can flood that area with bodies and make everything tight window. Purdy has been shaky so forcing him to throw towards the outside against an outstanding group of corners is a good game plan.

Chris Jones can and will win over and over again and be disruptive. Line him up anywhere where Trent Williams isn't and you got yourself a game wrecker. This is very important in the run game where based on run fit the Chiefs are discipline enough to not let McCaffery run wild and dominate the game. Jones just needs to prevent Purdy from ever feeling comfortable.

Steve Spagnuolo is also a sicko that will throw the most exotic pre snap looks at every QB in the league and have their mind racing. Purdy has struggled against teams that rotate their coverages at an elite level and it's hard to imagine a switch will just flip and he overcomes facing exotic looks that force tight window throws. Spags is that dude as a DC and there's no reason to think he won't have cooked up wild plays to throw at Kyle Shanahan.

Oh and the Chiefs have a clear special teams advantage thanks to Butker being a great kicker.

All in all, the Chiefs just need to keep playing within themselves and keep everything on schedule for them to win this game. Grind the game to as few possessions as possible and make the 49ers earn everything.

The Case for the 49ers

The 49ers roll out and All-Pro offense and that offense just needs Purdy to be a steady hand. As long as he's making throws and the playmakers are making plays, the 49ers can and will score at will. They can be incredibly creative and throw a wrench into whatever Spagnuolo is predicting will be the 49ers primary pitches. The primary pitches are obviously McCaffery running off tackle and then a combination of Aiyuk and Samuel making plays on the outside. Shanahan has a real chance to take advantage of where the Chiefs are the weakest and play through the middle. George Kittle is a monster. The Chiefs are weakest up the middle defensively, especially their safeties. The obvious answer is to unleash Kittle as a pass catcher and provide some easy seam and corner shots for Purdy to give Kittle a real chance at YAC. No combination of Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, Leo Chenal, Justin Reid, and Mike Edwards can handle Kittle one on one, and frankly I'm unsure their ability to double him, but he can warp coverage. If Kittle can warp coverage to force brackets over the top for him, that will make life easier for everyone else on offense.

Aside from making Kittle the number one in the pass game, the 49ers should use the run game in a more creative way than we've seen. They should save the patented outside zone bread and butter later in the game, after they've used more downhill runs early in the game. Attacking downhill with a high success rate will force more downhill play by the defense. It also gives opportunities for pulling guards, tackles, and tight ends a chance to wear out Chris Jones and George Karlaftis by giving them constant misdirection and hitting them hard whenever they can. This strategy will hopefully force KC's defense to stay on the field for long periods of time, which will then set up the home run rushing plays off tackle. The side to side speed will have suffered and there's a strong chance backers attack downhill and mess up their run fit and gap integrity.

The offense can sort of play itself, as long as Brock Purdy plays a steady game the whole way through. He has yet to do that in these playoffs, and the 49ers were lucky to be facing some young, inexperienced defenses. Purdy needs to not turn the ball over, and he needs to hit his guys on time and stay on schedule as to give Mahomes as few possessions as possible. He needs to not get overwhelmed by Steve Spagnuolo spinning the back end like a mad man and just take the open throws and bleed clock. As long as he plays within himself, and distributes the ball to his playmakers, the 49ers offense will hum.

The defense needs to step up its discipline in the run game. It all starts there. Chase Young has been playing well below his pay grade when it comes to setting the edge, and he cannot be a liability that easily allows all rushing plays to be away from Nick Bosa. Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead also need to step up in the run game as well, and allow Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner to have clear lanes to attack for run stuffs. It all starts there for the 49ers to get Mahomes off the field.

The good news is that KC is down Joe Thuney, which is massive on passing downs, along with having two of the worst tackles in the NFL. Nick Bosa will win all day every day on just about every down, and as long as he keeps edge and pass lane integrity, there can be a funnel towards the middle of the defense and allow the backers to make plays on both rush and pass plays. Chase Young should be winning all day every day against Donovan Smith but there's far from a guarantee that will happen based on his play this postseason. The 49ers defensive line has the advantage on paper, and they really need to make that advantage real. Armstead needs to eat space and beat Trey Smith consistently to make Creed Humphrey think about who he helps on passing plays. Young needs to beat Donovan Smith on a down by down basis. Hargrave needs to beat Allegretti on down by down basis. This defensive line needs to win against the Chiefs offensive line over and over and over again for the 49ers to win.

Fred Warner needs to be able to matchup against Kelce and win. This will make everyone's life easier. Kelce will get his no matter what, but if Warner can keep him in check and prevent the game from being broken open by Kelce, the 49ers secondary has a chance to win their one on one matchups. Their secondary is middle of the pack, but being able to drop 7 and force guys who aren't Kelce and Rice to win, they'll have success. Ambry Thomas will receive help over the top, Charvarius Ward needs to handle Rashee Rice one and one, and then you have a solid safety net that will force tight window throws over again. This is all predicated on Fred Warner coming out on top in a best on best scenario, which isn't an easy ask.

Jake Moody also needs to make his kicks. This needs to happen, their can't be a special teams catastrophe for San Fran.

Final Verdict

I have faith in the experience of the Chiefs, not just in Mahomes, but in the roster that is largely the same from last season, and in the well seasoned coaching staff. It's easier to bet on a team that's been there done that, and done it in ways that prey on making their opponent uncomfortable. Give me the Chiefs, especially as a dog.

Chiefs 24

49ers 17

Best Bets

These are all picks and props based on what I wrote, so let's have a day.


DK +100

FD +108


DK -115

FD -110

UNDER 47.5

DK -110

FD -110


DK -120

FD -120


DK +750

FD +950


DK +125

FD +125


DK +130

FD +130

Thanks for betting with me this season, can't wait to do it all again in September

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