After 18 regular-season weeks and three more postseason slates, we finally have our matchup for Super Bowl LVI on February 13. For the second straight season, the NFC representative will host the Super Bowl in its own stadium as the Los Angeles Rams take on the underdog Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
With just one game left in the season and the entire NFL betting world focused on it, the lines are tight. We know can be hard to find an edge and make a decision about which side to take, but luckily, PlayPicks is here to help.
While there are tons of options at online sportsbooks for the upcoming Super Bowl, perhaps the well-known and popular markets remain the moneyline and point spread. Below, we’ll make the case for the underdogs and let you know why the Bengals need to be your pick for at least one, and perhaps both, for Super Bowl LVI.
Super Bowl LVI Betting Odds
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The Bengals’ three-game postseason run thus far has been fueled by the conquering of a fair share of supposed deal-breaking circumstances, including the following.
- Back-to-back road postseason wins for a second-year quarterback just finishing his first full season
- Knocking off Patrick Mahomes at Arrowhead with all the AFC marbles on the line
- Accomplishing that win over the Chiefs while holding their vaunted offense to three points over the last two-plus quarters
Having already traversed that gauntlet successfully, it’s not out of bounds (no pun intended) to suggest a matchup against a solid but not necessarily daunting Rams squad for the Lombardi Trophy may actually seem like a slight step down in caliber of competition.
The fact the game is a true home game in terms of locale for the opposition isn’t going to be a source of intimidation for Cincinnati, either. After all, Zac Taylor’s squad played far better defense on the road all season and essentially kept that pattern going in its playoff victories over the Titans and Chiefs.
Cincinnati has the talent to limit the Rams through both the ground and air. Factoring in the postseason, the Bengals have allowed a modest 224.9 passing yards per road game at 9.6 yards per completion, the fifth-lowest figure of any team when traveling. The Bengals have also allowed a lower completion rate in their away contests (64.7) than at home (67.1).
What’s more, even though the Bengals’ interception (13) and sack (42) numbers in the regular season were above-average but not elite, they’ve considerably sharpened their turnover game in the playoffs:
- Wild-Card Round vs. Derek Carr: 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced/recovered fumble
- Divisional Round vs. Ryan Tannehill: 1 sack, 3 INTs
- Conference Championship Game vs. Mahomes: 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble
While Mahomes was an ultra-efficient 18-for-21 for 220 yards and three touchdowns without an interception or sack in the first half in the conference title game, he was held to 8-for-18 for 55 yards and zero touchdowns with two interceptions after halftime, while being taken down four times.
Cincy has admittedly been a bit more giving on the ground in the playoffs than during the regular season, but there are some asterisks attached.
Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire did find controlled but consistent success in the AFC Championship Game. However, outside of a 45-yard run allowed to D’Onta Foreman in the divisional-round win over the Titans, the Bengals held him and Derrick Henry to 83 yards on 23 carries and a TD by the latter.
Meanwhile, Josh Jacobs ripped off a 35-yard run in the wild-card clash, but he was held to an even 4.0 yards per tote on his other 12 carries. The Rams’ offensive line has had plenty of trouble creating running room for Cam Akers during the postseason as well.
The second-year back’s 3.7 yards per rush against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game was preceded by a 2.0 figure against the Buccaneers in the divisional round and a 3.2 tally in the wild-card win over the Cardinals. Sony Michel, a non-factor in L.A.’s last two games, did churn out 58 yards on 13 carries against Arizona, but 35 came on one run.
Factoring in the postseason, the Bengals are 8-2 ATS on the road with an NFL-best net ATS +/- of +9.5 points in that split. In turn, the Rams are just 5-5 against the number at home with a net ATS +/- of +0.7 points.
Cincinnati is also 7-3 straight up on the road including their pair of playoff victories. Those three defeats were by three, three, and five points.
When factoring in the Bengals’ balanced offense – Cincinnati’s 357.9 total yards per game break down to 257.6 passing yards and 100.3 rushing yards per contest – and the fact Joe Mixon can still make an impact as a receiver when being limited on the ground, I see a strong case for a very close game that could also well end in an outright upset.
Super Bowl Betting Picks: Bengals +4.5 or more (-110 or better), Moneyline (+170 or higher)
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