Super Bowl 56 Picks and Predictions: Bengals vs. Rams

Feb 04, 2022
Super Bowl 56 Picks and Predictions: Bengals vs. Rams

The stage is set for Super Bowl LVI and this “David vs. Goliath” type matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. Cincinnati has beaten the AFC’s top teams during their miraculous playoffs run and only the superstar roster of Los Angeles stands in their way of a championship. The Bengals are the “home team” for next Sunday’s game but it’s the Rams who’re playing in their home stadium. They'll both rollout high-powered offenses but it's a surging defense having the largest impact on my Super Bowl betting picks.

Bengals vs. Rams Odds*

Rams Bengals
Spread -4.5 (-108) +4.5 (-110)
Moneyline -202 +174
Over/Under 48.5 (-110)

*Odds based on consensus & are accurate as of today at 2:45 p.m. ET; See the most up-to-date odds here: https://www.4for4.com/nfl-odds.

The odds opened with L.A. as 3.5-point favorites after defeating San Francisco and has bounced between there and 4.5 since. The Rams are currently 4.5-point favorites* with just hours before kick-off but the number will likely continue to move up to game-time.

The game total opened at 50 everywhere and was quickly bet down a full point to 49 within the first day on the market. The number has stood strong at 48.5 and hasn't shown any signs of budging as we creep closer to the game.

Bengals vs. Rams Picks & Predictions

Rams -4.5

This makes the third straight playoffs game in which Cincinnati enters as a clear underdog. They’ve proven those odds wrong by making it to Super Bowl LVI but it has required their opponents' help to get here. The Bengals have been outgained in all three playoff games and have benefited from timely takeaways in key moments. The wins however couldn't hide their most glaring issue, pass protection. They finished 31st in sack rate (9%) and allowed Joe Burrow to be sacked an NFL-high 51 times during the regular season. Burrow has been taken down 12 times already this postseason and now faces a Rams defense that finished third with 50 regular-season sacks.

Los Angeles has just five QB takedowns through three playoff games, but their pressure has forced four interceptions, including the NFC Championship clincher. Their ability to rush the quarterback has also assisted in keeping Arizona, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco to a combined 6-of-32 (18.7%) on third-down. Not exactly what Cincinnati wants to see as their success is tied to their ridiculous third-down conversion rate of 48.8% this postseason.

Cincinnati enters the big game covering seven straight while going 5-0 ATS as underdogs over this stretch. They finished the season 8-3 ATS as dogs and amazingly won seven of those outright. Los Angeles has won eight of their last nine games coming into the Super Bowl but has struggled against the spread. As favorites, they’re 1-3 since Week 17 and finished the season 7-10 when laying points. This line becomes even more difficult to pick when you realize that each of the last six Super Bowls were decided by six or more points. Considering both teams' trends and current play, it would seem either the Bengals win outright or the Rams somehow pull away late to cover the spread. Knowing how bad the Bengals' offensive line has played and their reliance on third-down conversions, I’m leaning the latter. In search of the best possible number, head to Draftkings where Rams -4 is still on the board.

Pick: Rams -4 (-110, Draftkings)

Game Total Under 48.5 Points (-110)

The current game total, which quickly moved down to 48.5, seems low when considering the fire-power provided by both teams and recent Super Bowl history. Six of the last 10 Super Bowls have gone over this total and at least one team has scored 31+ points in four of the last five. The Bengals and Rams both averaged just over 27 points per game (T-7th) this season while also finishing as top-10 passing offenses. With both teams finishing bottom-10 against the pass, conventional wisdom says we’re in for a shootout.

If you’re comfortable taking the Rams ATS, you're probably anticipating their defense getting you there. They have held opposing passers to just 17 touchdowns through the air during the regular season and this has continued into the postseason. Outside of the last four minutes against Tampa Bay, which was assisted by giveaways, they’ve allowed just three passing touchdowns and only 13.6 points per game.

This is a major problem for the Bengals who scored over 60% of their touchdowns through the air and have struggled to find consistency on the ground. Telling the story of Los Angeles controlling this game and covering the line doesn’t end with them allowing Cincinnati to get rolling on offense. Most sportsbooks are offering this total so head to your favorite one.

Pick: Under 48.5 Points

My Best Bet: Rams First-Half -3

I'm a sucker for first-half bets, especially during stand-alone games. They provide a quick turnaround, more action on the game, and afford you the ability to adjust your approach at the half. The Rams are currently -3 across the board while the total sits at 23.5 at most sportsbooks. Over the last 10 Super Bowls, five have gone over and five have gone under, making that a dart throw and not a target of mine. However, over this stretch, seven different teams had leads of three points or more heading into halftime, while the average was nine. This helps tell the story of this game perfectly.

The Rams have led four of their last six games, including their playoff games against Arizona and Tampa Bay, by an average of 15.5 points at the half. Even more impressive is that they've kept opponents to just 5.3 first-half points scored during these games. Another bad omen for a Cincinnati team who trailed by 11 heading to the locker room last week in Kansas City. The story I have laid out with the Rams covering and the game going under 48.5, begins with them playing from ahead early. For the best odds, head to Caesars.

Pick: Rams First-Half -3 (-105, Caesars)

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