super bowl

Super Bowl LVI: 10:30am (Australian Eastern), Monday 14th February

LA Rams v Cincinnati Bengals

It’s time for the big one.

Super Bowl LVI kicks off on Monday morning when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFri Stadium.

LA Rams (-4 favourites)

The Rams had just three teams ahead of them in Super Bowl betting prior to this season. They got off to a 7-1 start before finishing the regular season at 12-5. Along the way, they’ve basically gone all-in to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium in 2022. A lot of their draft capital for the next few years has been traded away to acquire big-name veteran players including quarterback Matthew Stafford. Now in his 13th season, Stafford is heading to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career. He’s had issues giving the ball away at times, but the Rams are a perfect 8-0 in games where he hasn’t thrown an interception.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass rusher Von Miller are other in-season win-now additions who have played crucial roles in the Rams playoff run.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a 130kg wrecking ball and an all-time great defensive player. He will be hunting Joe Burrow like a madman, the same way he made life miserable for Jimmy Garoppolo in the NFL Conference Championship.

Rams Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp recorded the most catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in the NFL this season. Speed, smarts and a high level of competitiveness enabled him to become the first new member of the Triple Crown club in 16 years. He caught 11 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the NFC Championship game. Kupp will be desperate for a big game here after a torn ACL forced him to miss the Rams 2019 Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.

Expect a strong game plan from head coach Sean McVay in his second Super Bowl. He will have learned a lot from three seasons ago when the Patriots won 13-3 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.

Cincinnati Bengals (+4 underdogs)

Just two years removed from a 2-14 season, the Bengals have built through the draft and shocked the football world to make the 2022 Super Bowl. Heading into this season just two other teams (Texans and Lions) were considered less likely to make it to the biggest game of all. Houston won four games this season and Detroit just three, yet here we are with Cincinnati taking on the star-studded LA Rams. It’s a pinch-yourself moment for long-suffering ‘Bungles’ fans.

Cincinnati has covered the betting line in seven straight games.

The Bengals won 10 games in the regular season to claim the AFC North. Then the fairytale run started with a wild-card round win over the Raiders for their first playoff victory in 31 years. That earned them the right to take on the number-one seed Tennessee Titans who had the advantage of an extra week to refresh and prepare. Cincinnati won that game on a last-second field goal from a rookie kicker who appears to thrive on the big stage. Evan Mcpherson told team-mates that “It looks like we’re going to the AFC Championship” before he’d even stepped on the field to make the 52-yard game-winning field goal. He’s a perfect 12-12 on field goals in the playoffs including two game-winners.

Quarterback Joe Burrow has a similar swagger. He’s a winner and a leader who has helped turn the franchise around. There will never be another Tom Brady but Burrow has actually drawn some comparisons to the GOAT with a similarly fearless approach and unwavering confidence.

Big games don’t faze Burrow. He’s shown an incredible ability to stay calm and make good decisions despite an offensive line that is often under siege. Burrow is trying to follow legendary quarterbacks Joe Namath and Joe Montana in becoming just the third starter to win both a National Championship and a Super Bowl.

His challenge will be that Cincinnati’s offensive line is one of the league’s worst in protecting the quarterback. Burrow has been sacked more than any other QB in the NFL this season and LA has a ferocious defence. The Rams harassed Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo to the point where each of them faced a pressure rate that was in the top three of any game in their career.

The Bengals AFC Championship assignment was one of the biggest challenges in football – taking on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Many wrote them off after falling behind 21-3 but Joe Burrow and the Bengals mounted an all-time great comeback to force overtime and win their way to Super Bowl 56. They’re just one win away from their first-ever Lombardi Trophy.

Super Bowl LVI: Recommended bet

Rams -4: $1.92 with TopSport (or take TopSport’s $2 line for up to $200!)

LA has the higher-ranked defence, offence and special teams. They also have an edge in experience and the advantage of hosting this game so the Rams are a good bet to vindicate their all-in gamble and claim Super Bowl LV1.

Recommended same game multi

Rams-Rams HT-FT / Bengals Over 1.5 FG / Rams 3+ Sacks at $6.50 with TopSport

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