Yahoo Sports AM: Super Bowl preview

Welcome to a special edition of Yahoo Sports AM. Everything you need to know about Super Bowl LVIII, all in one place.

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🏈 NFL Awards: Lamar Jackson won his second MVP award at Thursday's NFL Honors gala. Other winners included Christian McCaffrey (OPOY), Myles Garrett (DPOY), Kevin Stefanski (COY), C.J. Stroud (OROY) and Will Anderson Jr. (DROY).

🏈 Class of 2024: The NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was also revealed Thursday, and Devin Hester became the first to get in primarily as a kick returner. The rest: DE Dwight Freeney, WR Andre Johnson, DE Julius Peppers, LB Patrick Willis, LB Randy Gradishar, DT Steve McMichael.

⛳️ Record score: Cristobal del Solar shot a 13-under 57 (!!) on Thursday at the Korn Ferry Tour's Astara Golf Championship in Bogota, Colombia. It's the lowest score ever recorded in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event, and matches the lowest round in any pro tournament.

🏀 Trade deadline: The biggest trades of the relatively quiet NBA trade deadline included the Thunder landing Gordon Hayward from the Hornets, and the Knicks landing Bojan Bogdanović and Alec Burks from the Pistons. Winners and losers.

The game

(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)
(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)

Super Bowl LVIII kicks off on Sunday (6:30pm ET, CBS) in Las Vegas, where the Chiefs hope to cement their standing as a dynasty and the 49ers seek revenge for their loss four years ago.

  • Kansas City struggled at times this season. But after dispatching the Dolphins, Bills and Ravens last month, they're full of confidence ahead of their fourth Super Bowl in five years.

  • San Francisco was arguably the NFL's best team for much of the season. After two comeback playoff wins over the Packers and Lions, they're on the precipice of their first title in 29 years.

Game info:

America will be watching: Last year's Super Bowl was watched by a record 115.1 million people — roughly one-third of the U.S. population. With the NFL setting viewership highs throughout the playoffs, and with Taylor Swift providing a bump in the young female demo, all signs point to this year's game being the most-watched ever.

The favorite

(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)
(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)

The 49ers have looked like the team to beat for most of the season. Nothing's changed for the Super Bowl, where Vegas has them favored in a rematch of four years ago, Jeff writes.

Key figures:

  1. Kyle Shanahan, Head Coach: He's one of the best coaches of his generation, but he's still chasing his first ring. Shanahan's .727 career postseason winning percentage (8-3) is the highest of any head coach in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB without a championship.

  2. Brock Purdy, QB: Call him a "system quarterback" if you want, but Mr. Irrelevant led the NFL in TD percentage (7%), yards per attempt (9.6), passer rating (113.0) and QBR (72.7).

  3. Christian McCaffrey, RB: The newly-minted OPOY led the league in scrimmage yards (2,023) and TDs (21), and has added four more scores in two playoff games.

  4. Deebo Samuel, WR: The Niners were 12-1 in the regular season when their dynamic receiver played most of the game, and 0-4 when he didn't.

  5. Nick Bosa, DE: Last year's DPOY had 10.5 sacks and a league-leading 21 knockdowns. If the Niners can slow down Patrick Mahomes, Bosa will be the main reason.

  6. George Kittle, TE: His Chiefs counterpart gets slightly more attention, but it was actually Travis Kelce who called Kittle "the best tight end in the league" last weekend.

  7. Charvarius Ward, CB: The veteran corner, who won a ring on the other side of this matchup four years ago, had a simple message on Monday: "It's better over here."

  8. Kyle Juszczyk, FB: The fullback position is going extinct. Nobody told Juszcyk, who plays an integral role in San Francisco's offense.

Projected starters:

  • Offense: Purdy (QB), McCaffrey (RB), Samuel (WR), Brandon Aiyuk (WR), Kittle (TE), Juszczyk (FB), Trent Williams (LT), Aaron Banks (LG), Jake Brendel (C), Jon Feliciano (RG), Colton McKivitz (RT)

  • Defense: Bosa (DE), Chase Young (DE), Arik Armstead (DT), Javon Hargrave (DT), Dre Greenlaw (LB), Fred Warner (LB), Oren Burks (LB), Ward (CB), Deommodore Lenoir (CB), Ji'Aiyir Brown (S), Tashaun Gipson (S)

  • Special teams: Jake Moody (K), Mitch Wishnowsky (P)

Pregame reading: 49ers memory of Super Bowl loss to Chiefs still lingers

The underdog

(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)
(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)

The Chiefs enter Sunday's game in rarefied air, joining the Bills (1990-93) and Patriots (2015, 2017-19) as the only teams in NFL history to play four Super Bowls in a five-year span, Jeff writes.

Key figures:

  1. Andy Reid, Head Coach: Four years ago, Reid was on the short list of the best coaches to never win a Super Bowl. Now, he's on the verge of becoming the fifth head coach in NFL history with three rings.

  2. Patrick Mahomes, QB: A third ring in six years as a starter is in play, but despite the obvious comparisons to Tom Brady, Mahomes remains humble: "I'm not even close to halfway," he said on Monday, referencing Brady's ring count. "Seven seems like a long ways away still."

  3. Travis Kelce, TE: He had his weakest regular season in nine years (984 yards, 5 TD), but the NFL's all-time postseason receptions leader has exploded in the playoffs (262 yards, 3 TD) and will be a star of Sunday's broadcast for obvious reasons.

  4. Chris Jones, DE: The eight-year vet began his season as a holdout before returning to earn his fifth straight Pro Bowl selection and second straight first-team All-Pro nod.

  5. Isaiah Pacheco, RB: The second-year back out of Rutgers had a breakout season, leading Kansas City in TDs (9) and scrimmage yards (1,179). He's rushed for a TD in every playoff game.

  6. Rashee Rice, WR: Another young stud like Pacheco, the rookie out of SMU has been Mahomes' most reliable non-Kelce receiver since making his first start in Week 7.

  7. Trent McDuffie, CB: The 2022 first-rounder was named first-team All-Pro and forced five fumbles (third in NFL) as part of arguably the league's best cornerback duo.

  8. L'Jarius Sneed, CB: The other half of said duo, Sneed made the biggest play of the AFC title game and might just be the Chiefs' most dangerous Super Bowl weapon.

Projected starters:

  • Offense*: Mahomes (QB), Pacheco (RB), Rice (WR), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR), Justin Watson (WR), Kelce (TE), Donovan Smith (LT), Nick Allegretti (LG), Creed Humphrey (C), Trey Smith (RG), Jawaan Taylor (RT)

  • Defense: George Karlaftis (DE), Mike Danna (DE), Jones (DT), Tershawn Wharton (DT), Willie Gay (LB), Nick Bolton (LB), Leo Chenal (LB), McDuffie (CB), Sneed (CB), Justin Reid (S), Mike Edwards (S)

  • Special teams: Harrison Butker (K), Tommy Townsend (P)

Pregame reading: The Chiefs' top strength outside of Mahomes' arm is Reid's brain

*Injury report: Notably absent is All-Pro guard Joe Thuney, who hasn't played since straining his pec in the Divisional Round and is "a long shot" to suit up on Sunday.

The lines

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

A record 67.8 million U.S. adults are expected to wager over $23 billion on Sunday's game, per the American Gaming Association. But who, and what, are they betting on?

The lines: The line opened at 49ers -2, then moved to 49ers -1.5 when a lot of early money came in on the Chiefs. The line has since bounced back to 49ers -2 due to sharp money, per BetMGM.

  • Spread: 49ers -2

  • Money: 49ers -130, Chiefs +110

  • Over/under: 47.5

Fun fact: When the over hit last year in the Chiefs' 38-35 win over the Eagles, it knotted the all-time Super Bowl tally at exactly 28 overs and 28 unders (there was no total set for Super Bowl I).

Prop bets: You can bet on nearly any aspect of the Super Bowl. Want to wager on who scores first? Who will win the coin toss? BetMGM has that.

  • Anytime TD scorer: The 29 players with odds to score a TD range from 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey (-225), who's scored 25 times this season, to 49ers TE Brayden Willis (+3000), a rookie who's never caught a pass.

  • Safety: Yes (+1000) or no (-3000)? There have been just nine safeties in Super Bowl history, and none since 2014, but 98% of safety bets are on "Yes."

  • Coin toss: Heads (-105) or tails (-105)? Through 57 Super Bowls, tails (30) has a slight edge over heads (27).

Novelty props: What color Gatorade will be poured over the winning coach? 27% of bets are on orange. How long will Reba McEntire's "National Anthem" last? 70% of bets are on over 90.5 seconds. See more novelty props.

💵 Bet $5. Get $158: New BetMGM customers who bet $5 on the Big Game will get $158 instantly in bonus bets.*

*New customers only. Must be 21+. Rewards issued as non-withdrawable bonus bets. Visit for terms and conditions. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (available in the US), 1-800-327-5050 (MA), 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-270-7117 (MI).

The city

(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)
(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)

The 49ers and Chiefs have plenty of big names, but the star of Super Bowl LVIII might be the city of Las Vegas itself.

Jay Busbee: How Las Vegas went from mobbed-up town to the center of the entertainment universe: Neon signs flicker on and off, casinos rise and fall, but the Vegas spirit — born on the frontier, nurtured under the Mob, monetized by billionaires — won't ever run dry.

(Damon Bomar II/Yahoo Sports)
(Damon Bomar II/Yahoo Sports)

Frank Schwab: Jimmy Vaccaro has a story for you: Legendary oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, one of the first to manage a sportsbook and a fixture in Vegas since the 1970s, would run out of time before he'd run out of stories.

(Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports illustration)
(Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports illustration)

Jeff Eisenberg: The NFL's 180 on Vegas: Not that long ago, the NFL didn't deem Las Vegas worthy of a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl. Now, it's hosting an actual Super Bowl there.


(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Six teams have won exactly one Super Bowl among those played this century.

  • Question: Can you name them?

  • Hint: 4 NFC, 2 AFC.

Answer at the bottom.

Best of Yahoo Sports

(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)
(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

Yahoo Sports is on the ground in Las Vegas, covering every angle of the game through feature stories, podcasts and videos.

Full coverage.

Trivia answer: Colts (2007), Saints (2010), Packers (2011), Seahawks (2014), Broncos (2016), Eagles (2018)

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