The Super Bowl is upon us and it’s not exactly the match everybody expected. So, as the Bengals meet the Rams in Los Angeles on February 13, who should you put your money on?
A lot of things go into the odds of a team winning, from stats and projections based on complex algorithms to the weather (although not really an issue in a stadium in L.A. with a state-of-the-art roof) and even historical data. In the end, unless the whole thing is rigged, it comes down to which players perform best and which side makes the key surges or stops when they’re needed most.
The oddsmakers are favoring the Rams at the moment, to the tune of 4.5 points. The over-under is listed at 48.5 points, with the Rams at -200 and the Bengals at +170. What does that all mean? Well, the Rams are predicted to win by more than a field goal and the game itself promises to involve some scoring, not entirely surprising given that the two clubs were ranked seventh and eighth in the NFL in scoring this season.
Why are the Rams favored? A few pretty solid reasons. They’re essentially playing at home for one. Secondly, quarterback Matthew Stafford is quite a bit more experienced than his Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow. Stafford has been in the league about a decade longer and, at 34 during his first Super Bowl appearance (his birthday is February 7), he’s surely feeling a stronger sense of urgency to get a ring. Burrow, by contrast, is only 25.
Yet, the Bengals love defying the odds and have made a habit of it all postseason. The Cincinnati squad already knocked off the Titans and the Chiefs en route to the Super Bowl, occurrences most bet against. Injuries are not a huge concern at the moment, but a couple of key ones could shake up the game. At the moment, the Rams are monitoring tight end Tyler Higbee, who left the NFC championship game after sustaining a knee injury, as well as running back Cam Akers, who got a bit of a shoulder knock that sidelined him momentarily. On the other side, the Bengals are hoping tight end C.J. Uzomah makes a swift and full recovery after an MCL strain in the first quarter of the AFC championship game.
If you would have told most analysts that this would be the menu for Super Bowl LVI at midseason or even at the start of the playoffs, you would have received some funny looks. With Tom Brady still firing (though now retired), the Packers looking strong, and the Chiefs and Bills led by two of the best young quarterbacks in the league, it would have been easy to have one of the above down as a favorite. But that was then, and here we are now.
These odds can and likely will change during the lead-up to the Super Bowl, at least a bit. Players can get injured and, this season especially, rosters can change suddenly because of COVID. Regardless of what happens, it should be a fun one to watch, with two very hungry teams playing on the biggest stage in football. Whether you’re betting among friends or through your favorite online app or Vegas-approved app, the 56th installment of the Super Bowl will likely go down to the wire.
So, as we await the kickoff, you can crunch the numbers and watch old game footage and look to make a fortune. Or, you can flip a coin and place a friendly wager on what will almost surely be a competitive affair. Either way, we should be entertained.
- Here are the 8 longest field goals in NFL history
- Green Rockers: Music Artists Supporting Sustainable Causes
- Upstart Bengals Take On L.A.’s Big Names in Super Bowl LVI
- How Much Are Super Bowl Tickets in 2022?
- What to Know About the Winter Olympic Figure Skating Events