QBs Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford lead the Super Bowl MVP futures, but Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and Odell Beckham Jr. are also worthy of a wager.
New York Giants broadcaster Howard Cross tells MaximBet that the Bengals’ defense—not the Rams’—is key to Super Bowl LVI. If a defensive player wins MVP it will be lucrative for bettors, and MaximBet has the best odds.
Before you go wagering your paycheck on the Los Angeles Rams to cover the 4-point Super Bowl spread offered at MaximBet, a few words of caution: The Cincinnati Bengals have gone 13-7-0 against the spread this season and postseason, better than any team except the dearly departed Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.
The Rams are 4-point favorites for Sunday’s big game in Inglewood, Calif., and every RV owner in southern Ohio is currently on the road with as much Hu-Dey beer from the Hudepohl Brewery as their rigs can hold.
Those folks will be the ones wearing tiger stripes in the SoFi stadium parking lot all day Sunday looking as pale and out of place as Jen Psaki at a Coppertone convention.
Most of the action for the Super Bowl will be on the game itself. The over/under at MaximBet has been set at 48.5, and it is important to note that the Bengals have gone over only eight times in 20 games, while the Rams are 10-9-1 on over/unders.
The bet that gamblers seem to be having fun with this postseason is the Super Bowl MVP market, where Rams receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. are popular choices.
Beckham’s 27-1 odds look a lot more enticing than Kupp’s 11-2 odds – especially considering Beckham’s nine-reception outing in the NFC championship game was nearly a wash when compared to Kupp’s 11-reception game.
Should Matthew Stafford give more looks to the receiver who famously lifted his leg like a dog two teams ago when he played for the Giants, we may just have an MVP candidate worth touting.
“I like the chances of Kupp and (Ja’Marr) Chase better, but Beckham could have chance if the Bengals really target Cooper Kupp with their coverage,” says former New York Giants tight end Howard Cross.
“The bottom line is that Cincinnati’s defense has to show up. If Cincinnati can get to Matthew Stafford, we will have a game.”
The Bengals have been allowing 371 yards per game to their opponents this postseason compared to 274.7 by the Rams, which goes to Cross’ point about the defense showing up. Cincinnati was allowing 351 yards per game during the regular season compared to Los Angeles’ 345, showing just how much better the Rams’ defense has been in the postseason.
LA has won its playoff games by a field goal against the 49ers and Bucs and by 23 against the Cardinals, while the Bengals defeated the Raiders by a touchdown and the Titans and Chiefs by three.
The spread and the over/under are going to be the most popular bets, but are those the ones that offer the most value? Well, that depends on how the game goes.
“Who can hold who down? That is the question of the game,” Cross told me. “Jalen Ramsey and the Rams secondary are going to play well, but with Cincinnati’s defense you just don’t know what they are going to do.”
The leading Super Bowl MVP futures at MaximBet are the two quarterbacks, Stafford and Joe Burrow, followed by Kupp and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who tied for seventh in the NFL during the regular season with 12.5 sacks.
It is worth noting that four of the last five Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks, with wide receiver Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots the outlier three years ago. No defensive player has won since linebacker Von Miller of the Denver Broncos six years ago, and no running back has won since Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos was named Super Bowl MVP in 1998.
If you believe someone other than a quarterback from one of the offensive backfields is due, Joe Mixon of the Bengals rushed for 1,205 yards during the regular season and is listed at 40-1, while Rams rookie running back Cam Akers has 27-1 odds despite playing in just one regular season game and three postseason contests.
With so much focus on the importance of the defenses, especially that of the Rams, it should be noted that Los Angeles did not have a single defensive or special teams touchdown during the regular season (they have one in the playoffs, an interception return by cornerback David Long Jr).
Their kicker, Matt Gay, was 32-for-34 during the regular season. He is 7-for-9 in the postseason and listed at 200-1 to be Super Bowl MVP.
Cincinnati’s defense, which allowed 372 regular-season points to the Rams’ 376 points, had only one interception return and no kick returns for touchdowns during the regular season and playoffs. Their kicker, Evan McPherson, is 12-for-12 on field goals during the playoffs and is on the board at 100-1.
“If the Bengals win this game, I think it will be because Joe Burrow made the plays he needed to make with his feet and legs ad well as his arm, and because the Bengals’ offensive line did its job,” said Dave Lapham, who calls games as color commentator for the Bengals’ flagship station.
“The bottom line is… whichever quarterback is throwing the ball because ‘he has to’ is going to struggle.”
Look, the fact of the matter is that you are going to have some action on Sunday’s game, and if you want that action to be livelier tracking two scores, you need to get creative.
MaximBet has a bunch of cross-sport prop bets to keep things interesting, and among the most interesting is a wager on which will be higher: Akers’ TDs or the number of holes-in-one we see at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix. The event is not (but should be) named after the fans who crowd the 16th green every year and annually break the record for most beers consumed.
MaximBet also has 2-1 odds on Burrow’s first pass being an incompletion (Stafford is 3-2 to do the same thing), 5-1 odds on Burrow failing to throw a single TD pass (Stafford is 9-1 to go without a passing TD), and 4-1 on Kupp catching a TD reception of 50 or more yards.
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