Feb 7, 2022
Feb 7, 2022

NFL Game of the Week: LA Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals

NFL 2022 Super Bowl LVI

Who will win Super Bowl LVI?

LA Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals projections

NFL Super Bowl LVI odds and predictions

NFL Game of the Week: LA Rams vs Cincinnati Bengals

Inform your NFL predictions ahead of the biggest matches this season with Mark Taylor's Game of the Week. This week, the season culminates with Super Bowl LVI, which will be contested by the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. 

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Rams vs Bengals: Odds at a glance

Market

Cincinnati Bengals

Los Angeles Rams

Money Line

2.800*

1.492*

Handicap

+4.0 - 2.000-*

-4.0 - 1.909*

Total Team Points

Over 21.5 - 1.943*

Over 26.5 - 1.781*

Total Game Points

Over 48.5 - 1.934*
Under 48.5 - 1.961*

For the second year running, we will have the NFC representative playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium. In Super Bowl LV, Tampa made the most of home advantage to upset the favoured Chiefs and on February 13, SoFi Stadium hosts the AFC’s fourth-seeded Cincinnati Bengals against the home town and similarly fourth-seeded LA Rams.

The Rams were at 13.000 to lift the Super Bowl during preseason

The Rams were our preseason favourites to take the NFC title and then go on to lift the Super Bowl at 13.000. They’ve already achieved half of that and face a Bengals team who were unconsidered at 151.00 to be crowned world champions.

Cincinnati, who were also outsiders to win their four-team division and weren’t even predicted to have a winning season, will be aiming to emulate Kurt Warner’s St. Louis Rams, who won Super Bowl XXXIV with the same tiny preseason expectation.

Rams vs. Bengals: The route to Super Bowl LVI

Both teams entered the playoffs in the opening Wild Card round, with Cincinnati easing past the Raiders 26-19 and the Los Angeles Rams cruising to a 34-11 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Bengals then went on a two-game road trip, where they upset the top-seeded Tennessee Titans and then, most impressively, the second-seeded Kansas City Chiefs. They shut Patrick Mahomes down on his first two overtime pass attempts, intercepted him on the third down, and then marched down the field for the game-deciding field goal in the AFC championship game.

Over the course of the regular season and postseason, Cincinnati have scored 532 and allowed 435 points, which equates to 12.4 Pythagorean wins, broadly in line with their 13 actual victories. They had a net-zero regular season turnover differential but were helped by a plus five count in their three postseason contests.

The Rams have a similar points record, 544 against 427 allowed, the equivalent of 12.8 Pythagorean wins. That flatters their actual 15 wins but they’ve won six close matches, losing just one by seven or fewer points. They’ve been fortunate to turn these closely contested games into a 6-1 record.

In keeping with all the postseason games from the Divisional round onwards, the Rams also had to fight tooth and nail for their wins. They beat the defending champions Tampa Bay on the road, after nearly blowing a big lead. They then hosted the San Francisco 49ers but needed three 4th-quarter scoring drives to overturn the deficit. They won both matches by just a field goal margin.

Rams vs. Bengals: Will this be the Rams' year?

Los Angeles have stacked their roster with top-quality players to try to win this year's Super Bowl, and they are at 1.492* with Pinnacle to make it happen. Draft picks have been traded for peak performers on both sides of the ball, most notably quarterback Matt Stafford. But they are also stacked with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., an increasingly targeted receiver in the postseason, and outside linebacker Von Miller.

They pass on 60% of the snaps against postseason teams with Stafford being amongst the most efficient of passers, helping the Rams score 3.5 points per game more than the defense-adjusted average. He’s dispelled the narrative that he’s weak in the postseason by finally finding a way past their NFC West nemesis the San Francisco 49ers, but he still occasionally floats a deep ball up for grabs when the game is on the line.

Cincinnati (2.800*) don’t pass as frequently - just 55% of the time against playoff-calibre teams - but Joe Burrow is as efficient as Stafford and adds value with his willingness to run. The Bengals have an effective ground offense and like the Rams, they outscore playoff-quality opposition by 3.5 points.

But while Burrow is as efficient as Stafford, he also has his demons. He was sacked on 10% of his dropbacks in the regular season and 11 times in the Wild Card and Divisional rounds. But the Bengals fixed that vulnerability in the Championship game, with Burrow hitting the deck just once, despite nearly 40 passing attempts and facing a fired-up Chiefs pass-rush in a noisy Arrowhead Stadium.

Rams vs. Bengals: Game projections

Both teams have defenses that have been above average against sides who made the postseason. The Bengals have struggled to defend the pass overall, but have fared much better against playoff-quality teams, whereas the Rams have been excellent against the run.

Cincinnati have allowed 3.5 fewer points per game than the average.

The Bengals have been difficult to score against when facing the best teams, allowing 3.5 fewer points per game than the average, while the Rams haven’t been as successful at keeping points off the scoreboard. They’ve allowed nearly three points per game more than their elite opponents have typically scored.

Scoring rates in elite matchups favour the Cincinnati Bengals by three points at a neutral venue, but the Rams’ home field advantage will rein that in by a couple of points, making the “visiting” Bengals team the slight one-point favourites in the NFL’s final game of the season.

The Los Angeles Rams are currently being asked to give a four-point handicap, but the numbers suggest the Bengals will cause an upset by winning 27-26, so take Cincinnati and the points.

Get great NFL odds on numerous markets for every game this season with Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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