The season finale is upon us. The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will square off Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, for Super Bowl LVI.
Many questions will be answered. Can the Rams capitalize on playing in their home stadium, something few teams get to experience? Will 2020 No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and 2021 first-round pick Ja’Marr Chase cap off a dream season with the ultimate win? Will Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp put on a show and then rely on Aaron Donald to hold it down on defense? Will Bengals kicker Evan McPherson win another game on a last-second field goal? Can Odell Beckham Jr. shine on the big stage and solidify his comeback? The possibilities with this game are endless. And if these two teams show off what made them great the entire season, we should be in for a treat Sunday.
Ahead of the 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff, we asked ESPN’s analysts, writers, commentators, columnists and pundits to make their predictions for the big game. More than 50 experts so far have weighed in on the winner of Rams-Bengals, the final score of the game and who will earn the MVP award. We’ll add more predictions leading up to the game.
Here is how they picked, along with some breakdown of the numbers. And be sure to check out all of our Super Bowl preview content.
Rams have the advantage, 29-23
Of 52 experts who weighed in, the Rams were favored by 29 of them (55.8%), while the Bengals claimed 23 votes (44.2%).
The most common predicted final scores were 27-24, picked by five of our experts. The lowest combined total was 34 (18-16). The highest combined score was 66 (35-31). The largest margin of victory predicted was 22 points (43-21). Thirty-seven of the experts said this game will be decided by a touchdown or less.
Betting context: Caesars Sportsbook currently favors Los Angeles by 4.5 points. Nineteen of the 52 experts have the Rams covering that spread, while 33 say the Bengals will cover. The over/under is 48.5 at Caesars Sportsbook. Thirty-one of the experts in this pool have the game going over that total, while 21 like the under.
ESPN’s Football Power Index: FPI likes the Rams (66.3%) by an average of 4.4 points.
Predicting a Rams win (29)
Aaron Schatz, EIC at Football Outsiders: 31-20
Adam Teicher, Chiefs reporter: 27-19
Alaina Getzenberg, Bills reporter: 31-27
Alden Gonzalez, reporter: 31-20
Brady Henderson, Seahawks reporter: 26-21
Courtney Cronin, Vikings reporter: 30-21
Dan Orlovsky, NFL analyst: 27-23
David Newton, Panthers reporter: 23-20
Doug Kezirian, ESPN Chalk: 24-20
Ed Werder, NFL reporter: 34-28
Eric Woodyard, Lions reporter: 26-20
Jamison Hensley, Ravens reporter: 31-17
Jeff Saturday, NFL analyst: 31-28
John Keim, Commanders reporter: 23-16
Jordan Raanan, Giants reporter: 26-17
Mel Kiper Jr., NFL draft analyst: 31-21
Michael DiRocco, Jaguars reporter: 31-27
Michael Rothstein, Falcons reporter: 34-30
Michelle Beisner-Buck, NFL reporter: 24-21
Mike Reiss, Patriots reporter: 31-23
Mike Tannenbaum, NFL analyst: 37-21
Mike Triplett, Saints reporter: 29-20
Mike Wells, Colts reporter 27-21
Mina Kimes, NFL analyst: 31-28
Rob Demovsky, Packers reporter: 27-23
Seth Walder, analytics writer: 27-13
Seth Wickersham, NFL writer: 23-20
Tim Hasselbeck, NFL analyst: 24-17
Tim Keown, writer: 31-14
Tim McManus, Eagles reporter: 34-20
Predicting a Bengals win (23)
Ben Baby, Bengals reporter: 28-24
Brooke Pryor, Steelers reporter: 21-17
Dan Graziano, national NFL reporter: 27-24
David Fleming, writer: 26-24
Elizabeth Merrill, writer: 21-20
Field Yates, NFL analyst: 30-26
Jake Trotter, Browns reporter: 21-20
Jeremy Fowler, national NFL reporter: 27-24
Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: 34-31
John Buccigross, SportsCenter anchor: 18-16
Josh Weinfuss, Cardinals reporter: 27-21
Kevin Seifert, national NFL reporter: 35-31
Marcel Louis-Jacques, Dolphins reporter: 28-27
Nick Wagoner, 49ers reporter: 27-24
Paul Gutierrez, Raiders reporter: 24-23
Rich Cimini, Jets reporter: 27-24
Rob Ninkovich, NFL analyst: 28-17
Sarah Barshop, Texans reporter: 30-24
Shelley Smith, Chargers reporter: 43-21
Todd Archer, Cowboys reporter: 27-23
Todd McShay, NFL draft analyst: 27-23
Turron Davenport, Titans reporter: 27-24
Super Bowl MVP
Burrow was the most common pick to win Super Bowl MVP. A little bit surprising, because he’s the quarterback of the team most of our experts picked to lose the Super Bowl. Nineteen of the 52 experts who weighed in on MVP picked Burrow, 36.5% of the vote. Seven of the past 10 Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks.
Kupp was the next-most-common pick by a slim margin, earning 10 votes (19.2%). Stafford and Donald were close behind with nine votes (17.3%) each. Odds below are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals (+220): Ben Baby, Brooke Pryor, Dan Graziano, David Fleming, Elizabeth Merrill, Field Yates, Jake Trotter, Jordan Reid, Josh Weinfuss, Kevin Seifert, Nick Wagoner, Paul Gutierrez, Rich Cimini, Sarah Barshop, Shelley Smith, Todd Archer, Todd McShay, Jeremy Fowler, Rob Ninkovich
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams (+700): Alden Gonzalez, Brady Henderson, Courtney Cronin, David Newton, Doug Kezirian, Mike Triplett, Mike Wells, Mina Kimes, Seth Wickersham, Tim McManus, Jeff Saturday
Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams (+120): Aaron Schatz, Adam Teicher, Alaina Getzenberg, Dan Orlovsky, Eric Woodyard, Mel Kiper Jr., Michael Rothstein, Michelle Beisner-Buck, Rob Demovsky
Aaron Donald, DT, Rams (+1800): Ed Werder, Jamison Hensley, John Keim, Jordan Raanan, Mike Reiss, Mike Tannenbaum, Seth Walder, Tim Hasselbeck, Tim Keown
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals (+1200): John Buccigross, Turron Davenport
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Rams (+1600): Michael DiRocco
Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals (+4000): Marcel Louis-Jacques