Early thoughts on Bengals vs. Rams Super Bowl LVI Odds

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 30, 2022 09:34 PM
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The Los Angeles Rams were supposed to be a contender for the Super Bowl. The Cincinnati Bengals were not. This may be an unlikely Big Game pairing, but it is the one that we’ve got coming up on Sunday Feb. 13 and the Rams will be in the friendly confines of SoFi Stadium with a chance at the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory and first since 1999.

The Bengals, who hadn’t won a playoff game since 1990, have never won the Lombardi Trophy, with losses to the San Francisco 49ers in both Super Bowl XXIII for the 1988 season and Super Bowl XVI for the 1981 season. They are an underdog this time around as well.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams (-4, 50)

(Updated NFL Odds for Super Bowl LVI)

The betting odds for Super Bowl LVI were split between -3.5 and -4 as the Rams took a final knee in the 20-17 win over the 49ers. Based on early action, just about every sportsbook moved to -4. The total sits at either 49.5 or 50, though the opening line from the Westgate Superbook was 51.

The Rams will be the second team ever to play the Super Bowl at home, following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from last year’s game. The Bucs won 31-9, but that game was played with only 24,835 fans because of COVID protocols.

This year’s Super Bowl is likely to feature a who’s who of Hollywood elites and it remains to be seen just how much of a home-field advantage the Rams will have. Bengals fans traveled relatively well to Arrowhead Stadium for the 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game and may do the same here to get away from the cold, snowy Ohio winter and warm up in Inglewood for a bit.

Both the Bengals and Rams trailed by double digits in their respective conference title games. Los Angeles was down 17-7 going into the fourth quarter and scored the final 13 points of the game. Cincinnati trailed 21-3 with five minutes left in the second quarter and scored 24 of the game’s final 27 points, which was almost a carbon copy of the game against the Chiefs in Week 17. In that game, the Chiefs led 28-14 and took a 28-17 lead into halftime before scoring just three points in the second half in the 34-31 loss.

In some ways, Cincinnati was more impressive and knocked off a team higher in the minds of most NFL scribes and bettors. However, the Rams are one of the league’s most talented teams and you have to respect that in a game of this magnitude. The main storylines going into this game will be about how the Bengals stop Von Miller, Aaron Donald and the Rams pass rush, and also how Cincinnati slows down Cooper Kupp.

The Rams may get the same questions about Ja’Marr Chase, but having a player like Jalen Ramsey certainly helps in that regard. Los Angeles should also be healthier at the safety position by kickoff, as Taylor Rapp has missed time with a concussion.

It is important to point out a few things about the life of a Super Bowl line before giving a first impression on the game. This line is up for two weeks. Every angle, storyline and narrative about this game will be discussed ad nauseam by prognosticators and pundits. The game will draw an enormous betting handle, but the vast majority of the money will not come in until Super Bowl Weekend.

Initial positions will be taken within the first 12-24 hours by the stats-based handicapping crowd and by those that want to take a stance, but then the line will just sit in purgatory for a while. We’ll get to a point where the spread and total don’t really move for several days, barring a practice injury. Then, as we get closer to the game, not only will activity pick up on the side and total, but the enormous prop betting catalogs will be released to the masses. That will spike additional interest.

As far as what I like with the early line, I lean with the Bengals + 4. Cincinnati has shown the ability to make tremendous in-game adjustments, particularly on defense from coordinator Lou Anarumo. We know that seemingly every game for the Rams has been a tale of two halves. Kyle Shanahan just did everything worse than Sean McVay in the second half of the NFC Championship Game, but the Rams coach had his blunders as well, much like what we saw against the Buccaneers.

McVay also has a knack for getting too conservative, which leaves the backdoor open for a potent passing attack like what the Bengals bring to the table. There will be a lot to research and a lot of different things to think about for the game, so don’t be too hasty with your assessments. You’ve got plenty of time.

Early Pick: Bengals + 4

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