The Cincinnati Bengals likely aren’t in Super Bowl 56 without rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Let’s break down his impact on the Bengals this season and some props for Sunday’s game vs. the Rams.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, February 13, 2022 – 06:30 PM EST at SoFi Stadium
While Tom Brady and Kurt Warner won Super Bowl MVP honors in their first season as starting quarterbacks with the Patriots and Rams, respectively, no rookie from any position has won SB MVP. That might change Sunday with Bengals first-year receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who is a +2000 fifth favorite for the award at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Chase is a lock to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors from the regular season. Remember, the Bengals were somewhat criticized for taking him at No. 5 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s not that Chase didn’t have the credentials to go that high, but the Bengals already had two good receivers in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins and it was thought they needed an offensive lineman – specifically, Oregon’s Penei Sewell, who went No. 7 to Detroit – more.
However, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow pushed for the team to select his former LSU record-setting teammate and there’s no way Cincinnati is in Super Bowl 56 on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Rams without Chase.
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Chase and Burrow Already Have One Title
Chase went to high school in the New Orleans area and committed to nearby LSU as the No. 15 overall recruit nationally in the Class of 2018. Of course, current Bengals QB Joe Burrow transferred to LSU for the 2018 season from Ohio State. He and Chase had a solid connection that first year as Chase played in all 13 games (seven starts) and finished tied for second on the team in receptions (23) and was third on the squad in receiving yards (313) with three TD passes.
In 2019, the LSU offense might have been the best in history on the way to the national champion as Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and Chase the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver as well as a unanimous All-American. Chase had nine catches for 221 yards and a pair of TDs in the win over Clemson in the national title game and led the country overall within receiving TDs (20) and yards (1,780) and finished No. 2 nationally in yards per game (127.1).
Alas, Chase wasn’t eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft and he opted not to play that year for LSU, which had lost Burrow and numerous other stars and had a limited schedule due to the pandemic. Chase simply worked out on his own and it didn’t much hurt his 2021 draft status in going fifth overall, the first wideout off the board.
In Week 17 against Kansas City this season, Chase had an NFL rookie-record 266 yards receiving along with three TDs on 11 catches. Overall, he finished with 81 catches for 1,455 yards (franchise record and fourth in the NFL) with 13 TDs (third in NFL and second in Bengals history). The yards were No. 2 all-time for an NFL rookie (Bill Groman with 1,473 in 1960) and the TDs tied for second (Randy Moss had 17 in 1998). Chase’s eight TDs on 20-plus-yard throws were first in the entire league.
Chase was named to the Pro Bowl – although obviously didn’t play in it – and second-team All-Pro. He’ll officially be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year this weekend ahead of the game. In the playoffs, he has 20 catches for 279 yards (NFL rookie postseason record) and a TD.
If you are wondering, no Bengals player has ever won Super Bowl MVP because the Bengals are 0-2 in the big game. Chase is set at Over/Under 80.5 receiving yards and 5.5 receptions on the Super Bowl props. He is +800 to be the game’s first TD scorer and +100 for an anytime TD.
The lone cross-sport prop thus far we have seen is Chase at +1.0 receptions at -105 vs. number of made three-pointers by the LSU men’s basketball team at -1.0 (-125) for the Tigers’ game Saturday vs. Mississippi State. LSU averages about 6.5 made three-pointers per game this season.
Perhaps the most fascinating matchup Sunday will be if the Rams stick All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey solely on Chase, which I’d think they would. Ramsey has been lobbying to do so, but that could also mean big games for Tyler Boyd and/or Tee Higgins, the other Bengals’ starting wideouts.
Super Bowl 56 Pick: Chase Under 80.5 Receiving Yards (-120) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
Cross-Sport Pick: LSU Made Three-Pointers Saturday -1.0 (-125) vs. Chase Receptions +1.0 (-105) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.