Preview Super Bowl LVI

Preview Super Bowl LVI - Cincinnati Bengals @ Los Angeles Rams

Time: 6:30 PM ET, Feb. 13, 2022
Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif.
Current Line: LAR -4  Total: 48.5

THE PICK:

Super Bowl underdogs of at least 3.5 points are 6-0 ATS and 5-1 straight up since 2007. If you go back a few more years to 2001, underdogs of at least three points are 12-3 ATS. There is typically value on Super Bowl underdogs. In the past 20 seasons, the NFC has been favored to win the Super Bowl just four times. The last two AFC teams – Denver in 2016 and Baltimore in 2013 – both won their games outright. There is plenty of value on the underdog and that’s why we’ll stick with Cincinnati +4

Back Cincinnati +4


This is it. The NFL champion will be declared Sunday night after the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals meet in Super Bowl LVI. While the Rams were among the early favorites to make this year’s Super Bowl, the Bengals were not. In fact, Cincinnati was given 125-1 odds to win this year’s Lombardi Trophy. To say Cincy is an underdog is an understatement. This is a franchise that won just two games in 2019, but the Bengals do thrive in the role of underdog.

In the previous 55 Super Bowls, the underdog has won outright 20 times. That would include last year’s game when Tampa Bay won as a 3.5-point underdog. That doesn’t mean you simply discount the betting favorites. Super Bowl favorites are 35-20 straight up, but they are just 27-26-2 ATS. For Los Angeles, the favorite, Sunday night all starts with its quarterback – Matthew Stafford.

Stafford started the 2021 season on fire. Through nine games, he had the NFL’s best passer rating. Then, he struggled. Over the final nine weeks of the regular season, Stafford threw 11 interceptions, four of which were returned for interceptions. He actually finished the season tied for the league lead in picks (17). Still, the Rams would end up winning five straight near the end of the season and earned a playoff berth. The postseason has been a different story for Stafford.

In the AFC title game, Stafford completed 31-of-45 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns. He brought the Rams back from a 10-point deficit to win. For the entire postseason, Stafford is completing 72 percent of his passes and has 905 yards and six touchdown passes. His top target is Cooper Kupp, the best receiver in the game this year. Kupp and teammate Odell Beckham Jr. combined for 20 catches and 255 receiving yards against the 49ers. Stafford, Kupp, and Beckham have helped L.A. win eight of its last nine games. The only loss was to San Francisco in the regular season finale, a loss the Rams avenged.

For Cincinnati, it’s all about their quarterback – Joe Burrow – too. Burrow has completed 69 percent of his postseason passes for 842 yards and four touchdowns. Cincy has won six of its last seven games and, as stated, has thrived in the role of underdog. They played that role in 11 of their 20 games this season. In those 11 games, the Bengals went 8-3 ATS. Cincinnati has covered the spread in seven straight games. They were underdogs in five of those seven games and won four outright.

What doesn’t get as much press for Cincy is its defense. In the AFC championship, the Bengals defense got rocked for three early touchdowns, but they tightened up and allowed only a field goal the rest of the game. For the postseason, Cincy’s defense is allowing just 19.7 points per game. The Bengals also finished in the top 10 in scoring defense during the regular season allowing 20.7 points per game.

The Rams have a pretty solid defense as well with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner Aaron Donald anchoring the defensive line. L.A. was No. 3 in scoring defense (19.4 ppg) during the season. Defenses will play a key role on Sunday. The team that wins the turnover battle has won 49 of the 55 Super Bowls so far.

It is worth noting that Burrow is 11-2 ATS in his young career when his Bengals have been an underdog of at least three points. Cincinnati actually won seven of those games outright and if you go back to Burrow’s college career, he is 7-0 ATS in postseason games.

Super Bowl underdogs of at least 3.5 points are 6-0 ATS and 5-1 straight up since 2007. If you go back a few more years to 2001, underdogs of at least three points are 12-3 ATS. There is typically value on Super Bowl underdogs. In the past 20 seasons, the NFC has been favored to win the Super Bowl just four times. The last two AFC teams – Denver in 2016 and Baltimore in 2013 – both won their games outright. There is plenty of value on the underdog and that’s why we’ll stick with Cincinnati +4.

Back Cincinnati +4

TV/Live Stream: NBC, NBC Sports App, Peacock, DAZN Canada

US STREAM - Watch the game here

CANADA STREAM - Watch the game here