THE biggest event on the sporting calendar is almost here & whether it’s the on-field action or off-field recreation that catches your eye there’s plenty of betting opportunities for punters to sink their teeth in.
As the big day gets closer more markets have become available, and regardless of what you’re looking to back our Cheat Sheet will give you everything you need to know to help you make Your Best Bet on the game.
Let’s start with the main event.
The Rams opened as 3.5 point favourites and were quickly bet up to 4.5 by sharp money. Since then, we’ve seen some steady support come for the Cincinnati Bengals and seem to be set at current market.
Looking at how these teams match up we might be getting a cheap line on the Rams. Ultimately, there’s no real area that the Bengals hold an edge, whereas the possibility of LA’s pass rush being able to get to Joe Burrow at will is a scary prospect for Bengals fans to have to envision.
If more money comes in on Cincinnati and a 3.5 becomes available once more between now and kick-off I’d recommend snapping it up as it likely won’t last very long.
In terms of the total, it seems the market is pretty set here after a bit of sharp action again taking the Overs on market openers.
The game script for both sides trailing late will be to air it out and trust their QB’s to be able to make big plays down the field – something they’re certainly capable of when looking at the downfield weapons available to both men.
The biggest threat to this total is probably nerves; both from players and coaches alike!
There’s a saying in the sports world that coaches will always revert to the worst version of themselves in the big moments; if that’s the case and we get conservative play-calling with two teams looking to ‘not lose’ rather than trying to win it could set up for an incredibly frustrating game.
The reality is you can make arguments both ways on intangibles such as coaching, nerves etc. If you’re a numbers person than the Overs is where that path will lead you. If I’m making plays on the line & total it’s going to be with the Rams and the Overs.
Field Goal props
Back to talking about conservative play-calling for a moment; what’s one thing both coaches are going to want at any opportunity? Points.
If they can end a drive with points on the board – especially in the first half – that’s going to be considered a success. I’d be shocked to see either one of these teams going for it on 4th & short just past mid field in the early exchanges.
LA Rams kicker Matt Gay has been extremely reliable over the course of this season. He’s made 23 of his 24 field goal attempts and is a perfect 2/2 on attempts of 50+ yards on the season. Gay has also been consistently reliable from range, ranking 3rd in the NFL for accuracy on attempts of 40+ yards since the start of last season.
The Rams will undoubtedly have more trust in their defensive line being able to disrupt the Bengals offensive game plan so it makes sense to take them to make the longest field goal in this game.
Longest Completed Pass prop
If you’re asking which of these two QB’s is most likely to get the time in the pocket to connect on a deep pass, the answer is Matthew Stafford.
Couple that with the best wide receiver in the game, and the resurgence of Odell Beckham Jr and there’s a lot for Cincinnati’s secondary to deal with.
At some point, Sean McVay is going to set up for a big play and Stafford’s arm is certainly capable of chomping off some big yardage through the air.
So far these playoffs, Stafford has cleared this total in two of the three games – the exception being a game against a very good 49ers defence where his longest completion came in at just 29 yards.
Against the Cardinals and Bucks however, he recorded longest passing yardage of 41 and 70 yards respectively.
In games played at home this regular season, he has cleared this number in seven of his eight games played – with an average of 49.12 yards being the longest completed pass.
This might be my favourite prop bet on the board for in-game action and probably my strongest lean given it could cash with a multitude of different game scripts.