This article provides Super Bowl LVI betting tips. The championship game features two No. 4 seeds for the very first time – the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Few would have predicted this match-up at the start of the season, especially given the Bengals were 100+ odds outsiders to win the Super Bowl during pre-season.
Below is the playoff bracket that got us this far.
The Rams had to play on the road just the once due playing a lower seed in the NFC Championship game, while the Bengals had to win away against both Tennessee and Kansas City. By chance, the Super Bowl will be held at SoFi Stadium, which is the home of the Rams.
Most analysts agree that this is a head vs. heart decision. The Rams are the stronger team on paper but many pundits feel there’s a sense of destiny given the Bengals’ run. Bengals supporters can also point to the phenomenal form of quarterback Joe Burrow.
On paper the Rams definitely hold the advantage:
- The Rams had the better regular season record (12-5 vs 10-7)
- The Rams boast the stronger and deeper squad on paper
- The Rams have a favourable match-up between their vaunted defense against the weaker Bengals offensive line. The Bengals allowed 12 sacks during the playoffs and they will have to protect Burrow from the likes MVP candidate Aaron Donald plus Von Miller and Leonard Floyd.
- The Bengals were out-gained in all three playoff games so far (1,012 yards to 1,113 yards)
- The ESPN Football Power Index has installed the Rams as 5.5-point favourites and gives them a 66.3% chance of winning, while Football Outsiders, which is a higher rating than any other team the Bengals have faced this season. The Bengals have only faced three top-10 DVOA defences and went 1-2 in both the head-to-head and line against them.
- The Rams are the stronger side both offensively and defensively according the ESPN Football Power Index. The Rams were ranked 6th for offence and 2nd for defence, while the Bengals were ranked 15th for offence and 14th for defence.
What the Bengals have going for them is:
- In the last two playoff rounds the underdogs won 4 of the 6 games
- There is a sense of destiny regarding their playoff run and they were able to knock over the competition-favourite Chiefs in the previous round.
- Bengals QB Joe Burrow is arguably in better form than Rams QB Matthew Stafford, who threw 18 interceptions this season in 20 games
The Rams have the better chance of winning but the odds of 1.52 (Unibet) equate to an implied probability of 65.8%, which is awfully close to the probabilities of 66.3% and 68% projected by ESPN and FiveThirtyEight, respectively.
If I were to bet on the Super Bowl LVI head-to-head market I would back the Rams, but the value is very marginal.
At the time of writing most bookmakers have set a line of -4.0 for the Rams.
In the Rams’ favour is the fact that in the last twelve Super Bowls the winner also covered the line. In the history of the Super Bowl, 47 of the 55 winners covered the line.
There are numerous elements in the favour of the Bengals +4.0, however:
- In the last two playoff rounds, five of the six games were won by 3 points. The only exception was the Chiefs vs. Bills game, which was won by 6 points in overtime.
- The Bengals have gone 17-11 against the spread when an underdog of 3.5 or greater since 2019. This season the Bengals have gone 5-0 against the line when installed as underdogs of 3.5 or more.
- This season the Rams have gone 5-9 against the line when installed as favourites of more than 3.5 points
- Super Bowl underdogs have covered the line in 10 of the last 14 years and 7 of the last 9 years
Overall, the stats lean towards taking the Bengals at the line. You can get an extra half point and back them +4.5 at 1.85 with Picklebet.
Total Score Betting
At the time of writing the total with most bookmakers is 48.5.
Since 2002 the total has gone under in 8 out of the 10 games that had a total of 48 or greater.
Cincinnati’s last four games went under the total and 27 of the Rams’ last 38 games as favourites went under the total.
If I had a small lean it’s towards under. I would consider selecting under for the alternative total of 50.5 points at 1.73 (Picklebet).
Super Bowl LVI MVP
Since 2007, 11 of the 15 Super Bowl MVP winners were quarterbacks. The other four winners were two wide receivers and two linebackers.
If the Bengals win then the most likely MVP winner is Joe Burrow at 3.35 (Unibet).
If the Rams win then the most likely candidate is Matthew Stafford at 2.35 (Unibet), however a number of his teammates have a realistic chance, especially if Stafford throws a pick or two. One teammate is wide receiver is Cooper Kupp at 6.50 (Unibet). He achieved the trinity of leading the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns this season. Aaron Donald at 12.00 (Unibet) is deservedly getting a lot of attention, however he would have to overcome history: no defensive lineman has won the MVP award since 1986. Outside linebackers Von Miller – a previous Super Bowl MVP winner – at 31.00 (Unibet) and Leonard Floyd at 101.00 (Unibet) are other defensive players with a chance.
You can make a case for backing Cincinnati to win the third quarter at 2.19 (draw no bet) (Picklebet). Their half-time pep talks have obviously worked. Including the playoffs, the Bengals outscored opponents by 73 points in the third quarter this season. They also had the best defensive record in the league during this quarter, conceding just 50 points. On the flip side, the Rams conceded 116 third quarter points, which was the joint most in the league. They were outscored 25 points to 14 in the third quarter during the playoffs.
Further Super Bowl LVI betting resources