Denver Broncos (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 25th, 2016 at 1 PM EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: Den +3/Cinn -3
Over/Under Total: 41
The defending Super Bowl Champions look to remain undefeated when they travel East to play the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The host is coming off a division loss as the Steelers defeated Cincinnati 24-16 and easily covered the 3-point spread. The Bengals outgained Pittsburgh by 38 yards and are 2-1 ITS (in the stats) this season. After struggling early, the Broncos went on to cruise past the Colts 34-20 as 6-point home chalk. Denver outgained the Colts by 147 yards, but sit 1-2 ITS this season.
I see some key injuries on the NFL injury report and it's affecting both teams. DeMarcus Ware is OUT until late October while QB Andy Dalton is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. The Broncos don't have as much depth on their defensive line like last season. It might not matter as the Bengals have not been able to generate much of a running game so far this season. Denver is allowing just 173 passing yards through the air. This will be the best pass defense that the Bengals have seen so far. The Bengals are averaging 345 passing yards through the first two games. Small sample size so take it all with a grain of salt. However, this matchup favors the Broncos but without Ware the Bengals could enjoy more success, especially if they go up-tempo.
The Bengals will be playing its home opener after splitting their first two road games. They went 6-3 SU and 5-3-1 ATS at home including their playoff loss to Pittsburgh last season. The Broncos are going to test the Bengals and their leaky run defense. Cincinnati has allowed the most rushing yards (276) through the first two games. Denver has focused on the run in their first two games so I would expect more of the same early and often. Denver has averaged 30 rush attempts per game, which has yielded 141 yards per game, fourth-best in the entire league. This has led to some big play-action gains through the air. If Denver struggles running the ball it could be a long day for the road dog.
The Bengals are coming off a physical game against the Steelers while the Broncos had a relatively easy win against the Colts. Including last year's playoffs, the Broncos have won seven straight games, but they have covered just once in their past fives games outside of Denver. Pittsburgh is very physical and most teams have a hard time preparing for its next opponent. NFL home favorites (Bengals) are 19-23 SU and just 12-30 ATS in games after facing Mike Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers.
Last season, the Broncos defeated Cincinnati 20-17 as 4-point home favorites. Denver outgained Cincinnati 390-294. The Bengals are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games in Week three. The Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against teams with a winning record. The Broncos are 1-3 ATS in their last four games against the Bengals. I think this line should be closer to Bengals minus -1. If Andy Dalton is ruled OUT later in the week, than this line will probably go down at least one point, maybe two.
Jeff's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Denver Broncos +3
Not a big fan of this matchup. I won't be using this game for my customers or the NFL Wise Guy contest. There are better games to bet this week. Slight lean to the road underdog. I can see the Bengals winning by a score of 21-20.
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