Before we dive in too deep, let's take a quick glance at how the best online sportsbooks are pegging the Super Bowl odds. Surprise, surprise (not!), the Rams are favored leading up to the big game. Here's where the betting lines stand:
|Los Angeles spread (-4)||-110||-110|
|Cincinnati spread (+4)||-110||-110|
2022 Super Bowl Preview
Long playoff streaks had to end to set up this "unconventional" championship battle between Cincinnati and Los Angeles. For the former, they ended a 31-year playoff win drought, which included an 18-point comeback against long-time Super Bowl favorites, Kansas City. For the Rams, they were led to the dance by Matt Stafford, who had zero playoff wins until three weeks ago despite a 12-year NFL career before. Speaking of Stafford, let's begin our 2022 Super Bowl preview with a look at each team's quarterback.
The pressure is inevitably more on Stafford, who the Rams went "all in" on to acquire last offseason to win this very game. So far, Stafford has delivered, specifically in the postseason where he's accumulated 905 yards, six touchdowns, one interception, and a QB rating of 115.6. Less pressure exists for second-year Joe Burrow, who has exceeded expectations for a franchise that's long been tortured. In the postseason, Burrow has tossed for 842 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions, and a QB rating of 96.2.
After the quarterbacks, the two most important men that'll decide the Super Bowl are the head coaches — Sean McVay for LA and Zac Taylor for Cincy. The two are extremely familiar with one another. Taylor was the quarterback's coach for McVay in 2018 — the last time the Rams went to the Super Bowl (in a losing effort to the Patriots) — before taking the Bengals job. Expect Taylor to know McVay's offensive tendencies in and out.
2022 Super Bowl Betting Picks
There's an infinite amount of 2022 Super Bowl betting picks we could make here, given the prop market is jam-packed with wagers. However, we're sticking with the two "traditional" bets — the spread and over/under. Here's what side to bet on each one:
Over/Under 48.5 Points
|Over 48.5 Points||-110||-110|
|Under 48.5 Points||-110||-110|
The under is on a bit of a "hot streak" heading into this game. That's because the under has hit three straight times at the most popular Super Bowl sportsbooks (beginning with the aforementioned LA-NE matchup). Does the streak snap or move to four? Our money says the streak lives on.
Here's why: the matchup that will define this game is the Bengals' offensive line vs. the Rams' defensive line, plain and simple. That matchup should be won by Los Angeles. Why? Well, Cincinnati allowed Burrow to be sacked an NFL-high 51 times during the regular season. On the flip side, the Rams finished third-best with 50 sacks. They have three pass-rushers — Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and Von Miller — that can get to the quarterback.
The fact that Burrow has been so productive in spite of that awful o-line play is a small miracle. Sure, it hasn't stopped them from reaching this far, but this is where the buck stops because LA will be the best defense that Cincy plays all-year long. Up until this point, the Bengals have played one team (Tennessee) that ranked alongside the Rams in the top-10 (based on points scored). Titans sacked Burrow nine times that game and held the Bengals to 19 points, an outcome we very much see LA replicating. If so, this game should trend toward an under.
Against The Spread
There's one more thing we neglected to mention about the X-factor matchup between the team's opposing lines upfront. It's not just about pressuring the quarterback — it's also about stifling the run. Los Angeles has consistently done that, as they rank No. 5 in rushing yards allowed. That should remain the case against Joe Mixon, who despite being the league's No. 3 rusher, hasn't hit 100 yards on the ground since the end of November. If Mixon is shut down and the Bengals become one-dimensional with passes, that will only embolden Donald and Miller to bring the pressure.
As you can sense, we're not optimistic about Cinicnatti's scoring potential. The question is, though, can Stafford score enough to win the game? We think so. Look, Cooper Kupp is the most unguardable receiver in the NFL — and if you trust the history books, one of the most unstoppable ever. Kupp is the only receiver to have more than 2,000 yards catching in a single season (including the postseason).
Kupp, alongside the re-energized Odell Beckham Jr., should be able to open the passing game, especially against a Bengals team that allowed the seventh-most passing yards during the regular season (almost 250 per game). We're taking the Rams to win the Super Bowl AND cover the spread in the process.
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