In the Bengals’ previous two Super Bowl trips, they lost to Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers.
Cincinnati will have its own Joe Cool in Super Bowl LVI against the Rams in second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, who will try to engineer the Bengals’ third straight playoff upset over Los Angeles.
The Rams are consensus 4-point favorites over Cincinnati at Las Vegas sportsbooks in the NFL championship game scheduled for Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The consensus total is 49½.
The SuperBook, Circa Sports and Caesars Sportsbook opened the Rams -3½ before quickly moving to -4. Caesars took a $180,000 bet to win $100,000 on LA on the money line (-180) within minutes of the line going up.
The Rams are playing in their second Super Bowl in four years after losing 13-3 to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
“The biggest factor is the Rams have been there recently. Sean McVay has been there before,” Caesars vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “They are all-in this year as they proved by the trades that they made. Although we wrote off Joe Burrow against the Chiefs, we are not going to write him off again because that kid is unfazed by anything that happens.
“But the Rams’ experience and their defense puts the line at 4.”
BetMGM is the only book still at -3½, though MGM Resorts director of trading Jeff Stoneback said the early action was on the Rams.
Matchup doesn’t matter
Sportsbook executives expect the matchup to approach the Nevada record wagering handle of $158.6 million set in the Eagles’ 41-33 upset win over New England in Super Bowl LII in 2018.
Last year’s handle of $136.1 million was intercepted by COVID-19 restrictions.
“Some people have asked me, ‘Does the matchup matter?’” Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay said. “No. The Super Bowl sells itself. It doesn’t matter who’s in the game. We’re going to get a tremendous amount of action on it.”
“A lot of operators reported record handles in 2021 and I wouldn’t be surprised if that continues for the Super Bowl and we get close to a record handle.”
LA is the second team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium after the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs 31-9 in last year’s title game at Tampa Bay.
“There’s a slight advantage to that when you get to sleep in your own bed and eat the food you’re used to eating and you’re familiar with your surroundings,” Kornegay said.
‘Reason to believe’
A Bengals fan bet $13,000 to win $455,000 at Caesars on Cincinnati to win the Super Bowl at 35-1 odds on Oct. 28.
“He actually told us he ‘needed a reason to believe,’” Mucklow said.
It was hard to believe the Bengals, who were as high as 200-1 long shots this season to win the Super Bowl, would beat the Chiefs on Sunday when they trailed 21-3 in the first half of the AFC title game at Kansas City.
But Cincinnati, which was as high as 18-1 on the in-play money line at Circa, held the high-powered Chiefs to three points in the second half and overtime en route to a 27-24 overtime win as 7-point underdogs. It matched the largest comeback in conference championship game history.
Books win again
The game also stayed under the total of 54½ as sportsbooks won big on the game and the day.
“Overall, it was a really good day,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “The first game was really the key, having Cincinnati win but really keeping that game under was the big piece for us.”
The Rams overcame a 17-7 fourth-quarter deficit to the 49ers in their 20-17 victory over San Francisco in Sunday’s NFC championship as 3½-point favorites.
A Caesars bettor lost a $500,000 bet on the 49ers on the money line (+155) while another pushed on a $540,000 wager on the Rams -3 (-120).
The betting public won big on the under, which closed at 45½, but lost big on San Francisco on the money line.
“We clearly did not want San Francisco to win outright,” Esposito said. “Having the Rams win by 1, 2 or 3 was much better than having them win by more than that.”