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Well, we’ve plowed through the props on the game. Now we are on to the actual matchup itself. I’m excited about the opportunity we have to close this season strong and will put my favorite bets of the game below.
The Rams got here after beating two divisional rivals – the 49ers and the Cardinals. Neither one of those games was much of a competition. At least to me, I didn’t feel like there was a real risk in the game of the Rams losing. Maybe slightly more in the 49ers than the Cardinals game. The other game they played, on the road, against the Buccaneers, was a nailbiter. They missed a big field goal, allowed Brady to march downfield and score. Then, the Bucs somehow forgot that Cooper Kupp was the best receiver in football this year and allowed him to get a huge gain. Game over. The Rams are playing some very good football at the right time. They’ve won eight of their last nine games and the one loss was an overtime loss to the 49ers.
The Bengals are a huge surprise. Well, not exactly huge – I did give out a ton of plays on them for them to get to this game. Luckily for us, and our wallets, they did. But, The Bengals have been somewhat lucky. They played a Raiders team that has suffered through all sorts of craziness this season. Then they beat the Titans in Tennessee in a game that saw Derrick Henry come back after absence – something that doesn’t always boost a team. Finally, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs had a ridiculous meltdown. Sure, a lot of that needs to be attributed to the Bengals – not taking anything away from them at all. All teams need a bit of luck to get there.
Seems odd for me to back off of the Bengals now, but I am. I’m taking the Rams -4 at -112. The Rams defense is better than every team the Bengals have played so far, and offensively, the Rams are just as good as the other teams the Bengals have faced. I am not thinking this will be an easy game for the Rams, but they should be able to cover. They will be at home, but that isn’t much of a home-field advantage. I think what sets them apart is the defense and Sean McVay. This is the Rams second Super Bowl appearance under McVay and I think he will learn his lessons from the first.
I don’t think there is much value on the total, but my play on it would be the under if I had to. Are unders fun to root for? Not really, but the Bengals will need to rely on their defense and that Rams defense is hard to root against. I expect the first quarter to be scoreless, and while that doesn’t mean the game goes under, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Another one I don’t see much value on is Super Bowl MVP. If the Bengals win, it will either be some big play from a defender which is unpredictable, or Burrow. If the Rams win, Kupp has a possibility, but how do you distinguish his performance from Stafford’s? I could see Jalen Ramsey getting a couple interceptions and maybe returning one for a touchdown if they want to challenge him. So maybe he’s worth the smallest of sprinkles at +8000, but I’m going to put my money on Stafford at +125. I expect them to win, and think he will be the reason. If you’re on the opposite side of me, Burrow is a fine bet at +230.