05Feb7:16 amEST

Super Bowl LVI Sports Betting Analysis

Last year around this time we discussed in a video here the reasons why the sharp bet was probably to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the spread. The opening line versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV was Tampa +3.5 (meaning they were "getting" 3.5 points as the underdog), and then the first move was down to +3. 

As I discuss in my book about sports betting strategy, the first move the Super Bowl betting line makes is often overlooked--After all, it occurs usually two full weeks before the actual game is played!

However, over the last fifteen years or so that first move shows an overwhelmingly high win percentage in terms of going with the move versus the spread. In other words, you want to go with the move as it reflects the early sharp money which was prepared to pounce on the line as soon as the sports books released it after the Conference Championship games. 

And that brings us to the present.

With a little over a week away until the biggest of games is played (and that goes triple for the sports books and the amount of money they have at stake, too), most sports books opened the Los Angeles Rams as a 4-point chalk (favorite) versus the Cincinnati Bengals and moved to -4.5 multiple times during the last week. So, the Rams won the first move test, if you will, even if the line has since moved back to -4. 

Similar comments apply to the total on the game, with the number opening at 49.5 in most books and initially falling to 48.5. 

So, what is the sharp bet here?

Over the coming days, we expect a flood of public money and interest to come in. And, especially after a whacky Divisional and Conference Championship set of games, I think the public will be enamored with the Bengals as a great cinderella underdog story.

If the books do not move the line down to -3.5 before kickoff, I view that as a "tell" that they favor the Rams to not only win but handily cover the spread, especially given the first move test was to the Rams. 

Personally, I bet the heaviest on college football as I simply find the NFL edges to be too narrow in most spots. This postseason has been an outlier in terms of the manner in which the higher seeds like the Packers, Chiefs, Titans all had epic meltdowns in their respective final games. But that is bound to happen in sports. from time to time. And I do think the Super Bowl has better edges at times. 

Hence, while many bettors change their minds, overthink themselves to death and even become oddly superstitious headed into the Super Bowl in light of recent games, the sharp play is to refocus oneself on the game at hand. 

The Rams' centerpiece is their dominant defensive line, anchored by the best overall player in professional football: Aaron Donald. The rest of the Rams' defensive line is seasoned, talented, and stout. They face the weakest unit of both teams in the Bengals' offensive line. The game will be a home game for the Rams, an anomaly which the Bucs actually enjoyed last year. The Rams' offense has the ability to move the ball handily against any team in football, they just need to avoid untimely turnovers and they must finish their drives with points. 

The Bengals are dangerous on offense but, again, against this Rams' defensive line it will be a tall task. The Rams' secondary features a top three cornerback in the league in Jalen Ramsey, who will likely neutralize Bengals' star wideout Jamar Chase. Also note that the Bengals have only scored three touchdowns dating back to the second half of their wildcard round game, which is likely a function of their weak offensive line play coupled with teams taking Chase out out of the game for the most part. 

I want to see the line movement this week, but as of now the Rams versus the spread and the Under are the two sharp bets based on prior Super Bowl analysis, as well as analysis of the current matchup.  

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