Cincinnati Bengals (6-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (4-7 SU, 4-6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 2, 4:25 p.m. EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
TV: CBS/DTV 716
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cin -1.5/SD +1.5
Over/Under Total: 46
Don't look now, but the Cincinnati Bengals are 6-5 and contending for the Playoffs. The 9-2 Baltimore Ravens will likely win the AFC North, but with the Pittsburgh Steelers struggling, the Bengals are primed to make a run at a Wildcard spot. This week they'll travel to the Southwest to take on the 4-7 San Diego Chargers, who lost a heartbreaker in overtime last week to the aforementioned Ravens.
How've the Bengals flown under the radar for so long? Right now they have the 13th-best offense after averaging 358.5 total yards per game (YPG). That includes the 12th-ranked passing game and 14th-ranked rushing game, averaging 244.5 YPG and 113.9 YPG respectively. Those are better than average numbers.
Second-year quarterback Andy Dalton sits just outside the top ten quarterbacks at #11 with a 94 rating. He has completed 63.4% of his passes, going 237 of 374 for 2,769 yards and 23 touchdowns; although, he has thrown 11 interceptions and has been sacked 26 times. Helping him out are wide receivers A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. The former is already over 1,000 years on the season (1,022 to be exact), averages 15.3 yards per catch after hauling in 67 receptions, and has ten touchdowns, while Gresham has 47 catches for 558 yards (11.9 AVG) and four touchdowns.
Former New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, often called the "Lawfirm", has been shouldering the load on the ground, carrying 201 times for 767 yards (3.8 AVG) and five touchdowns. Complimenting him is Cedric Peerman, who has carried 29 times for an impressive 240 yards (8.3 AVG) and a touchdown.
The Bengals are pretty good on the defensive side of the ball too, allowing 334.5 total YPG, including 218.4 passing YPG and 116.1 YPG-good enough to be ranked ninth in the NFL. However, the Chargers are no slouches themselves in that department, coming in right behind at #10, allowing 334.7 YPG (243.3 passing YPG and 91.5 rushing YPG).
With that said, the Chargers trail the Bengals in every offensive department. They're ranked a lowly 25th overall, which includes the 18th-ranked and 25th-ranked passing and rushing offenses respectively. The Chargers average a total of 324.4 YPG, including 224.9 passing YPG. Quarterback Philip Rivers has been having an satisfactory year, completing 251 of 376 passes for 2,689 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions-good enough for a 13th-best 88.0 QB rating-though he has been sacked 32 times. When he does get the ball out, it tends to go to either wide receiver Malcolm Floyd or tight end Antonio Gates. The former with 47 catches for 704 yards (15 AVG) and four scores, and the latter with 32 receptions for 368 yards (11.5 AVG) and four scores of his own.
The Chargers' passing game is mediocre at best, but their ground game is dreadful as they average just 99.5 YPG. Their leading rusher is Ryan Matthews, who has carried 146 times for 594 yards (4.1 AVG) and a touchdown, while Jackie Battle has carried 52 times for 222 yards (4.3 AVG) and three touchdowns.
Vesper Abadon's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Going on the road, especially across the country, is never easy. With that said, the Bengals are 3-2 when visiting opponents, and they just walloped the Oakland Raiders at home. Simply put, they're confident and have something to play for-the Playoffs.
The same can't be said of the Chargers, who just lost a heartbreak in overtime. Say what you will, that's demoralizing. They're essentially out of Playoff contention, and the future of their head coach, Norv Turner, is up in the air. Big things were expected from the Chargers this year, but all they've managed to do is disappoint.
The Chargers have the capability of playing tough, so by no means will this be a blowout; in fact, it has the making of shootout. I expect the Chargers' front seven to hold the "Lawfirm" in check, which will force Dalton to take to the air, and Rivers will be forced to do the same for the Chargers. It's a thin line, but I think the Bengals will pull out a win and come one step closer to the post season.
Need some help with your handicapping? Our NFL betting tips will help the begineer to novice bettor improve their bottom line.
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2016 NFL Predictions - Badger breaks down each division and gives his picks on which teams he thinks will win the AFC and NFC Conferneces (plus Super Bowl winner prediction).
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 50. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.