We continue our Super Bowl 56 preview between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals with a look at some player props with picks.
The Los Angeles Rams aren’t in Super Bowl 56 if they didn’t make a trade for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in January 2021. Stafford had one of the best regular-season resumes of any QB in history to never play in a Super Bowl. He’s probably a future Hall of Famer. The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t in Super Bowl 56 if they didn’t select Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow can become the first-ever quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, a national championship and a Super Bowl.
Both Super Bowl QBs Take Risks
That said, perhaps the smartest wager(s) Sunday is Over 0.5 interceptions for each, both priced at -150. Rams coach Sean McVay is going to take downfield shots – that’s why he traded for the big-armed Stafford. Downfield shots are more likely to be intercepted, and Stafford has a tendency to force a bad throw or two per game. The Rams might not be in Super Bowl 56 if 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt doesn’t drop a sure interception in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game with San Francisco leading Los Angeles by 10 points. The game swung on that drop.
Stafford tied for the NFL lead with 17 interceptions during the regular season and has one in these playoffs. Burrow sat one meaningless game in the regular season but tied for the third-most picks with 14 and has two in these playoffs. That the first pass of the game for both Stafford and Burrow is an interception is priced +2500 for each. Stafford is the -125 favourite vs. Burrow (-115) to throw the first pick. The favourite for the game’s first interception – obviously void if there are none – is not a star cornerback like the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey (+850) but Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson at +700. He had four picks in the regular season and one in these playoffs. Pretty rare for a linebacker.
Sticking with defence, Rams tackle and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and linebacker teammate Von Miller are both +350 to have the first sack of Sunday’s game followed by top Bengals pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson at +475.
The reason two Rams are favoured is that no quarterback has been sacked more this season than Cincinnati’s Burrow, including a record nine times in the Divisional Round win over Tennessee. Many believe that Rams pass rush vs. the Cincy O-Line will be the deciding factor Sunday. If Miller has a big game, he could become the first defensive player with two Super Bowl MVPs, also winning it in SB 50 while with the Denver Broncos.
Kupp vs. Chase and Stafford vs. Burrow
On the offensive side, the game features two of the NFL’s best receivers in the Rams’ Cooper Kupp and the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase. Kupp is having maybe the greatest receiving season in league history, won the regular-season Triple Crown and probably will be named NFL Offensive Player of the Year this weekend. Chase had one of the great rookie receiving seasons ever and will be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year this weekend.
Kupp is -225 to have more receiving yards than Chase (+160) and there are a few reasons for that. First off, Kupp had a lot more yardage this season as he’s the clear No. 1 on the Rams. The Bengals have two other very good wideout options for Burrow in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Second, the Bengals don’t have a true shutdown cornerback to stick on Kupp like the Rams do with All-Pro Jalen Ramsey.
Kupp is set at Over/Under 106.5 receiving yards, which might be the highest total I’ve seen in a Super Bowl. The Over is a -140 favourite. Including playoffs, Kupp has topped that total 13 times. Chase is set at Over/Under 78.5 receiving yards, with the Over at -135 favourite. Including playoffs, he has topped that number eight times.
Both run defences have been excellent this season, so it could be a pass-happy game. Matthew Stafford is set at Over/Under 279.5 passing yards with the Over a -130 favourite. Joe Burrow is set at O/U 275.5 passing yards, with the Over at -135. Stafford is -130 to have more yards and -175 for more TD passes.
Super Bowl 56 Player Top Picks
Stafford Over 0.5 interceptions (-150); Burrow Over 0.5 interceptions (-150); Stafford most passing yards (-130); Kupp Under 106.5 yards (+100); Chase Under 78.5 receiving yards (-105); Rams’ Leonard Floyd (+550) with first sack.