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How Super Bowl 56 Officiating Crew Will Impact NFL Betting

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

Adam Thompson  | 5 mins

How Super Bowl 56 Officiating Crew Will Impact NFL Betting

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If you like a good, clean football game with few penalties, Super Bowl 56 might be your dream matchup. Not just in regards to the two teams, but the officiating crew keeping them in check.

First, the teams. None had fewer penalty yards than the Los Angeles Rams, whose 37.0 penalty yards per game average ranked as the third-lowest in the NFL since 2004. Not to be outdone, the Cincinnati Bengals had only 37.6 ypg in flags, ranking No. 2 this year and fourth-lowest in that span.

The teams keep it on the level, but it may not matter with a trigger-happy officiating crew.

Like many of the players on both sides, head official Ron Torbert will be making his first-ever Super Bowl appearance. The 12-year NFL official and Maryland attorney has created his own trends through the season. So what kind of referee is he? And what should bettors know to inform their wagering decisions?

Super Bowl 56 Referee Trends

In general, Torbert lets the players settle the game. His crew has consistently ranked among the lowest flag-throwers in 2021.

In terms of flags per game, including those declined, Torbert’s 12.2 total ranks 14th out of 17 crews. The 92.0 penalty yards per game ranks 13th.

Ron Torbert's NFL Officiating Crew Stats

TotalNFL Rank
Flags Per Game12.23rd Fewest
Penalty Yards Per Game92.24th Fewest

NFL rank out of 17 officiating crews in the 2021 season.


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Pass Interference Props

Some online betting sites and betting apps have included a pass interference prop. It isn’t as to whether there will be one, but which team will commit it first. The Bengals and Rams are posted at -115.

Let's take a look at how the two Super Bowl defenses compare regarding pass interference penalties.

PI Flags Called On Rams & Bengals In 2021-22

TeamPI Flags On DefenseNFL Rank

The Rams committed just five pass interference penalties all season, the fewest in the NFL. The Bengals’ nine calls ranked ninth. Torbert’s 18 interference calls ranked a middle-of-the-pack ninth among the 17 crews, but the 310 yards doled out on them were the fourth-most.

Of those 18 flags, 13 were called on the road team. Of course, which is the road team here: The team in the away jerseys (Rams) or the one not playing in its home stadium (Bengals)?


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Home Team Advantage

The Rams are the road team on the scoreboard but are playing in their home stadium, just the second team to ever do that. Home teams are just 44-62 straight-up when Torbert is the head ref. And yet, crews have called significantly fewer penalties on home teams, with the home team getting fewer flags in 15 of 18 instances.

That includes the Week 17 showdown between the Chiefs and host Bengals. Overall, 15 flags for 145 yards were doled out, but only five and 62 were for Cincy. The Bengals won that game 34-31 on a last-second FG.

The discrepancy comes on pass interference (see above) and unnecessary roughness calls, where 10 of the 13 flags we on the road team.


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Over/Under With Super Bowl Ref

Perhaps it’s the matchups, perhaps it’s the officiating, perhaps it’s a long season. For whatever reason, scoring increased dramatically as the year went on in games officiated by Torbert.

The first five weeks, no game totaled more than 43 points. Though his first 12 games, the average score was 40.3 ppg. The average NFL game this season was 46.0.

Since that span, scoring in his officiated games has gone wild. The final five weeks averaged a ridiculous 61.6 ppg. That run ended with the 23-point dud between the 49ers and Packers in the NFC Divisional Round.

Overall, the Under was 12-6 in Torbert-officiated games, but the Over hit in four of his final five.

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Moneyline-Total Parlay Trends

There is less of a trend when it comes to the point spread. The favorites are an even 9-9 in Torbert’s games. The underdog, however, has covered in four of the last five.

But add a total and trends emerge. In the nine times the favorite has won, the Under has hit seven times. Rams and Under might be a viable wager, more so than Rams and Over.

The underdog/under has hit five times, compared to four times for under/over.


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About the Author

Adam Thompson for Bookies.com
Adam Thompson
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He's long been estabilshed as one of the nation's premier NFL and MLB handicappers, and his horse racing and PGA picks have produced major winners over the last 12 months.
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