NFL Report – Super Bowl LVI
With a total of 284 games in the books for this current NFL season, all that remains is two teams and one game. It has been an up-and-down year for the NFL with all kinds of on-field and off-field political issues. The NFL needed a hit of a game, kind of like the divisional playoff game between Buffalo and Kansas City. Unfortunately, that is just not going to be the case. Don’t get me wrong, both the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals have their share of superstars. But I’d argue most NFL fans don’t care about Los Angeles (this was a city with no NFL teams two years ago, and now it has two), and Cincinnati is a smaller market team. No Brady, No Mahomes, No Rodgers, and No Allan. Is Matthew Stafford a star? Absolutely! The problem is he played most of his career on a terrible football team and therefore does not draw the attention he deserves. Is Joe Burrow a star? He likes to think so!
The Los Angeles Rams
(A Super Team Story, Goliath)
From the perspective of pressure, it’s 110% all on the Rams for this game. They are at home (the 2nd Super Bowl in a row, where the stadiums home team is playing for the crown). They have the better coach, Shawn McVay. They have nine former first-round picks who are starting in this game. Think about that, 9 of their 22 starters are first-round picks! They made moves in the middle of the season to pick up veteran D-man Von Miller, a Super Bowl Champion. They traded for the turbulent but talented Odell Beckham Jr., so they would have a backup threat when sensational WR Cooper Kupp is defended. This was a team that almost won the Super Bowl three years ago, and it’s been able to keep some key players and, more importantly, the culture in place since that loss. This team traded for Matthew Stafford one year ago; they have sacrificed many draft picks to build a win-it-now team. In my mind, they beat, albeit, by the skin of their teeth, the two best teams in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers to get to this game, and those caliber victories make them battle-tested and ready for this game.
The Cincinnati Bengals
(The Nothing to Lose Underdog, David)
On the other side of the field, the Bengals won TWO games two seasons ago and FOUR games last year, improving that total to TEN games this year. That’s 16 victories in three seasons, if you are counting. Some teams win 16 games in a single season. They were honestly an afterthought for most of this past season, struggling to make the playoffs in a division where Baltimore and Pittsburgh rule. Even Cleveland, on paper, was more of a perceived contender when the season started. The Bengals had to beat the Chiefs 2 times on the road to get to this point, not an easy task. This team has cashed in their chips from the casino, and they are playing this game with house money. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and that makes them a matchup nightmare for the Rams.
The Big Bets
From a betting perspective, the bets are rolling in. I guess the American bettors are trying to battle the all-time high inflation by winning millions of dollars. Below is a list of the biggest bets recorded as of Wednesday (9). This could change by Sunday (13), and I suspect it will. However, I don’t foresee another gambler dropping 5 million dollars, but who knows. Yes, that is a $4.5 million bet on the Bengals to win the game outright. My mind is blown! This would net in profit about $7 million. What’s money but fun coupons in the end!
$4.5M / Bengals ML +170 / Caesars
$522,500 / Rams -4 / Caesars
$250,000 / Rams ML -200 / PointsBet
$200,000 / Bengals +4.5 / BetMGM
$180,000 / Rams ML -180 / Caesars
$110,000 /Bengals +4.5 / Caesars
$105,000 / Rams -4 / Caesars
Last Week ATS: (1 – 1) / SU: (1 – 1) Playoffs ATS: (8 – 4) / SU: (9 – 3)
On a personal note, I was able to duplicate my playoff success from last year, but I want to be right about this game to end the season. The Rams are at home, and they have the better, more experienced, and more aggressive coach. They have nine starters who are, as mentioned, former first-round picks, including the better Quarterback. The Bengals have had to fight for every yard to get to this point, and they have a quarterback who has the ego of Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allan combined. The key to this game is simple: Matthew Stafford can’t turn the ball over, especially when it counts!
Sunday (9) – 6:20 PM
I don’t foresee these teams settling for field goals.
#4 Cincinnati Bengals (10 – 7) @ #4 Los Angeles Rams -4.5 (12 – 5):
ATS: Los Angeles Rams / SU: Los Angeles Rams
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