February 9, 2022

Super Bowl LVI: Which Prop Bets to Fade in Rams-Bengals Matchup

The Super Bowl is an amazing opportunity for bettors to get in on the action in ways that aren't available throughout the NFL's regular season.

There's unprecedented coverage for the event, which can be a bad thing for more judicious bettors. After studying the trends and likely outcomes for this game, we have several Super Bowl LVI fades for the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams tilt. 

Fading prop bets can be a tough decision because of the attractive odds. We love to have skin on some longshot plays but they have to be the right ones. Most bettors can only afford to bet on one longshot play, so we're going to rule out some longshots and fade the hype around the expectations of this game.

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings.

Defensive or Special Teams TD

Defensive and special teams touchdowns are incredibly rare.

In 2021, just three teams had two or more all season long. For as well as the Rams and Bengals defenses played this season, the Bengals scored the lone defensive touchdown between these two teams. 

Both teams were able to force turnovers at an average or better rate throughout the season, but each specialized more in interceptions than fumbles. Even though these defenses have terrific individual talents in Jalen Ramsey and Jessie Bates, neither has a history of turning interceptions into touchdowns. 

It's far more likely for a strip sack that turns into a touchdown to happen. Even that's unlikely, though, since big bodies rarely have the scoop and score opportunity. With this payoff only at +200, you'd have to be convinced that these quarterbacks would be unusually risky with the ball, and a defender would get their second chance to score in almost 40 games played between these two teams.

Pick: No (-270)

Rushing Props

Neither the Bengals nor the Rams have an efficient, effective running game. Both have offenses that simply utilize the rushing game for their offensive unit to have balance. This is despite both teams having quality talent at the running back position. 

With so much on the line, I expect both units to rely heavily on the passing game in favor of the running game. For each offense to rely on their weakness, the run game would play into the strength of each defense. Instead, they could maximize their strengths against their foes' weaknesses. The reasonable passing props incentivize us to work with this strategy and fade the rushing props.

Stafford has thrown 35 or more attempts in four of his last six games, including 38 and 45 over his last two weeks, respectively. The Rams transitioned to a heavier passing attack with the big-armed quarterback, and the emergence of Odell Beckham has only enhanced their efforts. Beckham has been an upgrade on Robert Woods since his arrival.

Burrow has a similar trend of throwing the ball a ton. He's thrown for 34 or more attempts in each of his last five games, and in seven of eight overall. The Rams give up a significant amount of yards this year through the air, and the Bengals will emulate their strategy of the last two playoff games of throwing often.

Picks: Matthew Stafford: Over 35.5 pass attempts (-125) and Joe Burrow: Over 36.5 pass attempts (-135)

Multi-Scoring Props

There's always hope for an offensive shootout in the Super Bowl but the over rarely works out. Tensions are high and the level of execution by offenses early in games is often lacking. I expect that again between two inexperienced rosters.

All multi-scoring props must be carefully examined. Outside of Ja'Marr Chase and Cooper Kupp, the odds of any individual scoring multiple times must bring back a significant return. Currently, there's little value with Kupp at -200 and Chase at +100 to score more than once. 

Joe Mixon (+100), Beckham (+120) and Tee Higgins (+150) are not tempting enough, so we'll fade this prop bet. C.J. Uzomah (+300), despite the knee injury, is an interesting play along with Rams running back Sony Michel (+350). Both are specific role players who may be overlooked by their opponent in the red zone. Neither has phenomenal value, but it makes more sense to roll the dice here more than the favorites. 

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