Baltimore Ravens (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 10th, 2017 1:00 PM ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, OH
by Keith, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BAL +3/CIN -3
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The AFC North traditionally is known as one of the NFLs most physical and rugged divisions. However, as of late the North has taken a step back with most of it constituents being regarded as cupcake franchises in terms of oppositional proficiency. With the exception of the Pittsburgh Steelers who went on the win the division at 11-5 in 2016, no other team in the division finished with a record greater than .500. The Baltimore Ravens were that aforementioned team. The Cincinnati Bengals looked to be on their way to a more severe outcome than how they finished. Despite boding an anemic offense in 2016, the Bengals would win two of their last three games to finish 6-9-1 on the year. Between these two AFC North foes, both team won one game a piece in the 2016 series. Home field played a significant role in this feud as the home team in this contest went 2-0 last season. Overall, the team curating hosting duties has gone 8-2 in the previous ten meetings and Cincinnati has won seven of those games. In the previous seven contests, Cincy has gone 6-1 against the Birds.
Out of the gate we have seen the public jump aboard the Bengals, likely as a reaction to the superlatives surrounding this rivalry as of late. Despite Cincinnati having their own woes, they have an uncanny ability to defeat the Ravens. At Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals have in the been in the driver seat for years. As a result, Baltimore victory may seem improbable to come by. However, in spite of the historical anecdotes the market has priced this fixture as a virtual toss-up with Cincinnati spotting three points as a result of location. Had this contest transpired on a neutral site, it could be fathomed that perhaps the Birds would be favored or we would be looking at a Pick-Em situation. The Baltimore defense kept the Ravens afloat in 2016 be that their offense also dealt with many troubles and tumults, particularly at the running back position.
Baltimore rattled off four straight wins in 2016 to finish at .500. The Ravens owned wins over post-season contenders in Buffalo, Washington, and a playoff qualifier in Miami. Additionally, the Ravens held the Saints to just 13 points in the Superdome in New Orleans. Such a feat has garnered recognition as Baltimores defense was pivotal in the Ravens climbing back to a nominal finish in 2016. The Ravens are looking to take a step forward again in 2017. Traditionally, Baltimore regards itself as a playoff team and to not make an appearance in 2016 was a sobering concept for the Birds. The Ravens own the components to get their offensive operations up and running. In the off-season, Baltimore welcomed Jeremy Maclin to join Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman at wide receiver. The big question surrounding the Ravens is their offensive line. If quarterback Joe Flacco could be afforded the time he needs to make good throws, the vertical possibilities on this team are endless.
Despite, all inclinations to do otherwise we will go ahead and fade the public here and take the points. The Bengals offense remains more of a mystery than the Ravens, even if Cincy owns arguably the best receiver in the game in A.J. Green. Additionally, the running back situation in Cincinnati is hard to decipher. While the Bengals picked up Joe Mixon in the draft to complement Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, it is to be seen how the carries are distributed and how the touches are delegated. Against an already proven Baltimore defense, the edge should actually lie with the Ravens here heading into the Week 1 meeting. What we have here is a prime opportunity to get the better team at a better price. We will go ahead and step in on the Ravens in what could be one of the better value plays of opening weekend. It wont be a shocker by any means if the Birds end Cincys reign of supremacy at both Paul Brown Stadium and in this divisional rivalry series.
KEITHs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: BALTIMORE +3. Bet your pick for this game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for deposits and where you’ll receive a generous 100% signup bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $250! (Example: Deposit $250 and they’ll give you an extra $250 FREE!) Find this great offer at Bovada Sportsbook.