Bengals vs. Ravens Odds Value Play 10/24/21
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 24, 1:00 PM EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Point Spread: Cin +6.5 / Balt -6.5 (GTBets - Offers Predictem readers a special 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500!)
Over/Under Total: 47
Get ready for a clash for the pole position in the AFC North in Baltimore between the Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. You read that right, not the Steelers or even the Browns, but the Bengals will make a run at leading this very tough division as we approach the season midway mark. BOOKMAKER has made the hometown Ravens 6.5 point favorites and set the game total at 47. Let’s ride with Joe Burrow and look for the Bengals to cover the near touchdown spread. Here is the handicap.
Cincy’s Offense Is Evolving
Zac Taylor appears to have taken a big step this year. Taylor is in his 3rd season running the Bengals and appeared to be in over his head as he accumulated only six wins over the first two campaigns, but he has made some fundamental changes to his offense that has propelled the Bengals to a 4-2 record. The 2021 Bengals are relying on Joe Mixon and the running game to set the table for his 2nd-year quarterback and his top-shelf receiving corps. Mixon is 4th in the league with 480 rushing yards, which has kept the Bengal offense on schedule and given Burrow reasonable 3rd downs to convert. Burrow, meanwhile, has filled the highlight reels with 14 passing touchdowns, 5 of which went to his former college running mate Ja’marr Chase. Chase has proven to be worthy of the 5th overall pick in last year’s draft, and along with Tee Higgens, Tyler Boyd, and Mixon out of the backfield, are one of the best receiving groups in the NFL and will be more than the Ravens can handle this week. Burrow is only throwing 20 times per game but is averaging just under 9 yards per attempt. His offensive line is middle of the pack at best, so when the Bengals have played strong defensive lines, Burrow has been under pressure, but he should have time to throw this week, so there is every reason to expect Cincy to be able to find the endzone.
The is not your father’s Raven defense. When we think of Baltimore’s defense, we automatically think they are a top 5 stop unit. We watched last week as the Ravens shut down the high-flying Chargers, but even after that performance, they are ranked 20th in the league in yards allowed and have only recorded 14 sacks. Since losing All-Pro corner Marcus Peters to a pre-season knee injury, the secondary has not been the same. The Colts and the Raiders both moved the ball with ease through the air, so the Bengals should have success throwing the ball. The performance against the Chargers could have been a turning point, but it’s more likely that it was just a dud by Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense that had been due for a letdown. Cincy won’t score 40 in this contest, but don’t look for a repeat of Baltimore only allowing single-digit points.
Cincy’s Defense Can Be Stingy
Who has the best defense in the NFC North? You probably are not responding to that question with the Bengals, and though I would agree, the Bengals do have the best defensive stats. They are 5th in the league in both points allowed and yards per play against. They have played some weak offenses, so these stats will regress, but Cincy is not the pushover they were just last year. Cincy has a balanced defense that can both shut down the run – 8th in the league in opponents yards per attempt- and can also defend the pass – 3rd in the league in opponents yards per attempt. This will be the toughest challenge to date for Cincy’s D, so we shouldn’t be expecting the ’85 Bears, but 25 is the most points they have allowed this year, so we also shouldn’t expect Baltimore to put a 40 burger on them.
Cincy will have their hands full with All-World QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson appears to have rounded out his game to be a better pocket passer than in previous years. Baltimore is 10th in the league in passing yards and 5th in yards per attempt. The rushing stats are equally impressive at 5th in the league in yards per attempt, but the rushing stats include contests with the NFL’s two worst run defenses – the Chiefs and the Chargers. From weeks 3 through 5 against the Lions, Broncos, and Colts, Baltimore only averaged 100 yards per game, so their running game is not what it was since Jackson arrived. Baltimore’s backfield may be the worst in the league, a group of journeymen that are propped up by defenses focusing on stopping Jackson. Latavius Murray is the lead back and averaging 3.6 yards per carry, which is a considerable step down from J.K. Dobbins’ average of 6.0 yards per carry last year. Look for the Baltimore rushing attack to be shut down again this week, forcing Jackson to throw or scramble. Jackson is a better passer this year, but not as good when he becomes one-dimensional.
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The Line Is Too High
It’s hard for people that have watched football the last ten years to think the Ravens and Bengals are close to even, but that is the case in 2021. Baltimore could have easily lost to the Lions and Colts and be sitting at 3-3. Both teams cruised to lopsided victories in week 5, but the Ravens domination of the Chargers certainly is more impressive than the Bengals taking apart the lowly Lions. Bettors will have that Raven win in the front of their minds and will probably drive this line to 7 as we get close to kickoff. But stat-wise, Cincinnati is the better team. Even if we give Baltimore the benefit of the doubt that they are working out issues from a slew of early-season injuries, the line should only be four if we give Baltimore two points for home-field advantage. Cincy will be able to pass against Baltimore if the Bengals get behind, so the back door will be open for a cover if the Ravens do build up a lead. There is a lot of value on Cincy this week, and if they battle Baltimore down to the wire, this will be the last week to cash in on that value.
Play Cincy and the Points
The Bengals +6.5 is definitely the play in this AFC North battle. We should also look under the 47 total in a division battle that both teams will play a little more conservatively. Question: Are you still laying -110 odds on your bets? Please get educated about wagering at reduced juice so you can save money! It’s one of the most important facets of sports betting!