Well, we’re only 64 days away from opening day of the USFL, so that’s nice.
In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for a pair of 4-seeds in what is shaping up to be — if you’re listening to the daily fantasy sharps, like I am — kind of an ugly game.
Which, honestly, makes this Super Bowl a little more interesting than it might appear on paper.
Here’s the thing: Virtually every daily fantasy analyst I follow — which is a lot — all think more or less the same way about this game: Both teams are going to try and control the ball, control the clock, and be happy to grind out a win. Furthermore, everyone is seemingly on the same page as to who’s going to be successful at this: the Rams.
I happen to agree with this take, although I also think Sean McVay and Zac Taylor — combined age 26 or so — would be wise to come out of the gate firing in an effort to put their opponent immediately on the ropes. And both teams clearly have the offensive weapons to do just that.
The X factor everyone is pointing to is the Rams defensive front against the Bengals offensive (dotted) line. Joe Burrow will be under pressure, as usual.
The Bengals offensive line looking to see who is gonna block Aaron Donald pic.twitter.com/0WdVG84JQx
— #RingerNFL (@ringernfl) January 31, 2022
Add it all together, and my analysts (I like to think of them as mine) all have the Rams winning, either by a small, grind-it-out margin or by a blowout. It is the consensus.
It’s clearly not the consensus of the masses, otherwise the line — which went from -3.5 Rams to -4 Rams almost immediately — would have kept creeping up. Fact is, the Bengals are the much better story, and America’s rooting interest is definitely on the team from Cincinnati.
In short: I think the Rams at -4 (Unibet -110) is the bargain of the year. Of course, one game, any given Sunday, all that, but if this were a regular season game — played in Los Angeles, by the way — the Rams would be touchdown favorites.
Let’s look at a few other items for this last (sniff) football game (I’m not crying you’re crying) of the season … until the USFL kicks off, and while you wait for that, here’s Jeff Fisher modeling the duds for the Michigan Panthers. You’re welcome.
— Michigan Panthers (@USFLPanthers) February 8, 2022
The +1000, er, +500 parlay of the week
Let’s go to FanDuel for my SGP, and I’m just going to use the narrative I laid out above. Bump the spread to Rams -6.5 (+120), under 48.5 total points (-110), and a Cooper Kupp anytime touchdown for -165, and that’s a +529 parlay. If you want to get friskier, add a Cam Akers anytime TD to boost it to +1338, or a Sony Michel anytime TD to get it over +2400.
DraftKings DFS play(s) of the week
This Showdown slate is … terrible. Cooper Kupp is too cheap, and there are zero bargain players. So what’s going to happen? People are going to be rostering kickers and the Rams defense to be able to fit in Kupp and another high-priced option, and Ben Skowronek at $600 — with his .2-point projection — will be jammed in as well.
So is there anything sneaky to do? Well, playing both kickers I think will be sneaky, as will playing the Rams defense with Burrow. You could also double down on the Rams backfield with Cam Akers and Sony Michel.
And then you could … fade Kupp. He’ll probably be north of 50% owned in GPPs, so if he fails, you’re cooking. But he’s not going to fail. Right?
Player props I like
After two weeks of hearing about how terrible the Bengals O-line is, I finally capitulated and bet the over 3.5 sacks prop on DraftKings at +105. And I’m glad I did, as the under 3.5 prop is also set at 3.5 and +105 on Barstool, so I can bail on this if I get cold feet.
Some other stuff I’m playing around with on DraftKings includes Kendall Blanton first touchdown at +1600, Samaje Perine over 8.5 receiving yards at -130 (he’s done it 11 out of 19 games this year), Joe Mixon over 16.5 rushing attempts at -105 (he’s done that 66% of the time this season), and, of course, blue as the Gatorade bath at +400.
My mortal lock five-star only for my best customers can’t lose guaranteed best bet of the week
Rams -4. Simple as that. Again: If this were a regular season game, it would be a touchdown. I’m convinced of it.
Officially official then: Rams 27 Bengals 17.