SUPER BOWL LVI EXPERT TIPS: BENGALS VS RAMS

Expert tips, markets, team profiles, key stats and MVP predictions for Super Bowl LVI between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. This is your ultimate guide to the biggest night in American sport – only on the Betfair Hub.


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Former number one draft picks taken 11 years apart will go head-to-head for the ultimate prize in Super Bowl LVI – a matchup few would have predicted at the start of the season. While the Rams were discussed as possible contenders from early in the preseason, the Bengals were projected to finish last in their division and had odds of 100/1 at times throughout the preseason. The game will take place at the Rams SoFi stadium in Los Angeles – the second straight season a team will be playing in their home stadium.

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The Bengals won a combined six games in the previous two seasons, which allowed them to select former college teammates Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in consecutive drafts. With both now looking like superstar talents, the Cincinnati offence now has the firepower to keep up with anyone.

But the offensive line was their biggest weakness prior to the season and wasn’t addressed, which has seen Burrow take more sacks than any other quarterback. A record nine sacks in the divisional round was followed by just one against the Chiefs last week, but Burrow was hit a further three times in that match. Keeping the Rams’ pass rush away from Burrow should be the Bengals’ main priority coming into this game.

The Cincinnati defence has improved as the year has gone on, showing a willingness to make adjustments when needed. Last week’s win over the Chiefs was perhaps their biggest yet, moving from the two-high safety scheme that has given Mahomes so much trouble over the season to an even more conservative set up that dropped eight into coverage and rushed only three on 50% of Mahomes dropbacks in the second half. Their 18 snaps rushing three was the highest amount in a single game in the league this season, with only one other team having more than 10 in a game.


The Rams had their sights on the Super Bowl from the minute they traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Two more high profile mid-season trades for Odell Beckham Jnr and Von Miller saw the Rams push all their chips in for this season. With all the changes made, it was a player already on the roster that had the biggest effect on the team this season. Cooper Kupp had arguably the best season by a wide receiver in over 15 years, leading the league in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns in his first year catching passes from Stafford.

The Rams were able to come back from a ten-point deficit in last week’s win over the 49ers, one of the most in form defences in the league and a team that had beaten them in their previous six matchups. While the offense was able to put up points when it mattered, the defence was able to limit San Francisco to 29 scoreless yards in the fourth quarter. They’ll be looking to make the same impact against the porous Bengals offensive line that has struggled to prevent pressure throughout the playoffs.


  • Ranked third for total sacks allowed in the regular season with 55.

  • Rookie kicker Evan McPherson has not missed a kick in the playoffs and hasn’t missed in his last 20 attempts.

  • Joe Burrow leads the league in completion percentage at 70.4%.

  • The Rams ranked third in total sacks in the regular season with 50.

  • Stafford led the league with 18 passes of 40 or more yards.

  • Stafford also led the league in interceptions with 17.


Like most awards, winning is the most important factor in the Super Bowl MVP. Only one player from the losing team has ever won the award, which happened in 1971. More recently, the award has trended towards the quarterback position, accounting for 9 of the last 12 awards. Some other trends to note when betting on the award

  • Only two offensive players have won the award without scoring a touchdown.
  • One of those players to win without a touchdown was wide receiver Julian Edelman – the only wide receiver to win in the past 12 years. This game had the lowest Super Bowl points total in history and only one touchdown scored.
  • The four wide receivers that have won the award since 2000 have accounted for roughly half of their teams passing yards.
  • A running back has not won the award since 1998.
  • No tight end has ever won the award.
  • Defensive players have won the award four times since 2000.

QUARTERBACKS

Both quarterbacks have the play style and star power to win the game and the award. A bet on either would be a bet for their team to win the game.

WIDE RECEIVERS

With their production linked to the quarterback, the pass catchers’ chances of winning the award have decreased over recent years. But there are receivers on both sides that have had games that could easily win the award throughout the season. Kupp and Chase are the front runners, with Kupp’s consistency seeing him as the shortest priced non-QB. Tee Higgins’ odds are almost double that of Chase, while having almost very similar stats since the Bengals’ Week 10 bye. Teams in the playoffs have looked to limit Chase as a priority, with the Rams likely to use Jalen Ramsey on the rookie.

RUNNING BACKS

Either running back would likely need to have multiple touchdowns to win the award, especially with the star power at quarterback for both teams. The Bengals may lean on Mixon with their struggles in pass protection, giving him the edge over Akers in my opinion.

DEFENCE

The Rams’ defence looks the most likely to be able to make a MVP-type difference, with their star studded pass rush coming up against a Bengals offensive line that has allowed Burrow to take the most sacks in the league this season. Aaron Donald is the shortest priced, but does see the highest rate of double teams in the league and should be the Bengals’ focus. Extra attention on Donald could see pass rushers Leonard Floyd and Von Miller – the last defensive player to win the award – make enough of an impact to win the award.

Betting Strategy

 BACK: Joe Burrow to win Super Bowl LVI MVP

 BACK: Tee Higgins to win Super Bowl LVI MVP

 BACK: Leonard Floyd to win Super Bowl LVI MVP


The opening points total of 50.5 points was the lowest since 2017 and has come into 48.5 points in the last week. The last three Super Bowls have all fallen under the points total, but all three lines were well into the 50s. With neither quarterback having won a game prior to this postseason, there may be some nerves to start the game. Both defences have been in good form in the run-in and could have a big say in the game, especially early before things could open up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK: Total Points – under 48.5

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The usual suspects sit atop the betting for first touchdown, with star receivers Kupp, Beckham and Chase joined by starting running backs Mixon and Akers – all sitting between $6 and $10. Of those, Kupp’s consistency in both the regular season and the playoffs is hard to look past, scoring in 14 separate games over the course of the season.

Of the longer shots, some uncertainty around injuries has created some value at the tight end position for the Bengals. C.J Uzomah’s injury led to passing snaps for Drew Sample in the AFC Championship game, with Uzomah’s status now unclear for the game. With both currently having odds in the high 20’s, it’s worth monitoring the injury report in the upcoming week.

Betting Strategy

 BACK: Cooper Kupp – 1st Touchdown Scorer

 BACK: C.J. Uzomah – 1st Touchdown Scorer


THE VERDICT

The Rams have looked like the better team for most of the year, but the Bengals postseason run is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. Burrow may have less experience, but has put together some eye-watering stat lines in playoff games in college and now in his short NFL career.

Burrow will need to get the ball out of his hands quickly to avoid the Rams’ pass rush, but if he can, then the Rams can be attacked through the middle of the field. Burrow led this Bengals team to their first playoff win since 1991 and will now lead them to their first ever Super Bowl win.

Betting Strategy

 BACK: Cincinnati Bengals


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