NFL Pick Super Bowl LVI (2021 regular season)
NFL PICK (SUPER BOWL LVI)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Tuesday February 1, 2022 at 10 AM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
Super Bowl LVI is finally upon us! This article will unveil my pick against the spread for the big game.
Very few people predicted a Bengals versus Rams matchup before the season began. We have been blessed with four incredible games during the Divisional Round, followed by a couple of other thrillers in the AFC and NFC Championship games. Hopefully, the trend continues on February 13!
From a betting perspective, I often claim that the Super Bowl is like Christmas to me. The very large number of proposition bets offered brings a TON of good opportunities since sportsbooks cannot have accurate lines on each of them.
Astute gamblers find the best bargains and take advantage of them. I will discuss this vital topic right after presenting which team I am taking against the spread.
Are you ready to roll? Let’s go!!!
SUPER BOWL LVI: CINCINNATI BENGALS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (-4)
Let me get straight to the point: I am taking the Rams as four-point favorites.
The main reason backing this prediction is the battle of the trenches, which favors Los Angeles in a big way.
I was stunned when I realized the Rams led the entire NFL in each of the following three categories:
- Pass block win rate;
- Pass rush win rate;
- Run stop win rate.
Let the information sink in. The Rams did not simply perform well in those categories: they were the best team in the whole league!
Guys like Aaron Donald and Von Miller are huge mismatches against the Bengals’ offensive line. Indeed, the Rams racked up the third-most sacks in the NFL during the regular season, while Cincinnati allowed the third-most sacks. That spells trouble for Zac Taylor’s squad.
I’m not even done yet discussing this underrated topic.
You are certainly already aware that the Bengals allowed nine sacks to the Titans in the Divisional Round. The offensive line did better against the Chiefs during the AFC Championship game, but it was still dicey and Joe Burrow had to escape on several occasions.
However, Kansas City finished the regular season in 29th place in terms of the number of sacks generated by their defense, so it was nothing compared to what the Rams have to offer.
Keep in mind that many Super Bowls have been won by dominant pass rushes, including last year where Tampa harassed Patrick Mahomes all game long.
Both offenses are pretty similar. As a matter of fact, they each scored exactly 460 points during the regular season!
Their passing game is very good with many reliable receiving targets. And both teams had a below-average running game by finishing around the 25th place, both in rushing yards per game and rushing yards per attempt.
The main difference between the two clubs lies on the defensive side of the ball. Both teams are equally good defending the run, but the Rams finished 5th in terms of passer rating allowed versus 18th for the Bengals. Considering both offenses prefer to throw the ball, that gives a significant edge to L.A.
In 2018, the Rams averaged 33 points scored per game during the season and 28 in the playoffs before falling flat on their face via a 13-to-3 defeat against the Patriots. Will they flop again, or did Sean McVay learn from the experience?
I am betting on the latter scenario. He has been there before, so the game won’t look as big to him. And this time around, he won’t be facing Bill Belichick.
Speaking of experience, I also find it more comforting to bet on Matthew Stafford, a 13-year veteran, as opposed to a guy playing just his second season. Joe Cool has played well in nerve-wracking games before, but he still lacks some experience. Two of his top targets also have very limited NFL experience since Ja’Marr Chase is a rookie, while Tee Higgins is playing his sophomore season.
I really tip my hat off to the Bengals for making the quickest turnaround in league history from posting the worst record in the league to reaching the Super Bowl. They accomplished that feat in just two years, after posting an abysmal 2-14 record in 2019.
With many young stars on offense, Cincinnati will probably have another shot at winning a Super Bowl in the near future, but I believe it won’t happen this year. Even though the Bengals have beaten the spread in each of their past seven games, which is super impressive, I am banking on the Rams to win this game by a margin of at least four points.
Pick: Rams -4
SUPER BOWL PROP BETS
After receiving LOTS of emails about this topic over the weekend, I wanted to give you the opportunity to join the numerous savvy sports bettors who jump every year on my famous "Super Bowl Prop Bets" package.
If someone wanted to buy just ONE thing from me during a whole year, THAT would be my top suggestion.
Remember that last year we posted a very nice 24-10 record on such plays (see the full list of prop bets here).
The year before, I went to Vegas and came back home with $8,330 USD in profit.
Every year, I spend around 100 hours on this, tracking lines from many sportsbooks, and using my special Excel spreadsheet in order to find as many good value wagers as possible. It is well worth the time!
If you are interested, the price is the same as last year: $100 USD.
Covid-19 and an appenticitis prevented me from finding more bargains on the Saturday and Sunday last year, so I would have probably found more than 34 bets.
I cannot promise anything related to the number of betting picks, though. I am not going to force any bets, just for the sake of it. Only the ones that provide a positive expected value. But obviously, I am hoping to find at least 30 again this year.
I do not recommend waiting before grabbing this special package. By getting it now, you are maximizing your value.
Why? The reason is simple. If you wait until next week, then many bets will have already been sent, and the lines might have changed by the time you sign up.
Don't miss out on this great opportunity by signing up here (you will also see the specific sportsbooks whose odds I am going to track - feel free to recommend more to me)!
Thank you so much for reading my NFL picks throughout the season! I am so grateful to have such a bunch of loyal smart sports bettors following my hard work. Even though I don’t know you personally, I consider you as good friends. Enjoy the Super Bowl!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)