Cincinnati Bengals (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 27, 1:00pm
Where: M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CIN +3 / BAL -3
Over/Under Total: 44.5
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This Sunday on CBS at 1:00pm, there is an AFC North showdown between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. Currently, the Bengals are 2-0 and sit atop the division as the Ravens have yet to find a win and are in last place. Of course, we are just two game into the 2015 season and this can all shift within just a week or so, so no time to panic. With that said, an 0-3 for Baltimore could sting, and a 3-0 start for the Bengals would be a huge start for their run towards an AFC title run. Cincinnati has won the last three games with the Ravens heads up, and not just have they won them straight up, they have covered the spread as well.
The line opens with the Ravens as a three point home favorite, which is typical in the NFL. The over under stands at 44.5 combined points today. The betting is pretty even. The Bengals have a slight edge in public wagers, but it is only a 53/47% split among those who have already made their bets. Like I mentioned earlier, the Bengals have won and covered their last three games against the Baltimore Ravens. Taking a deeper look, the favorite in this game has officially covered six of the last seven showdowns. The only non cover was in September of last season when the Bengals ended up as 1 point dogs and they won by a 23-16 final. Many books however had that game as an even pick, so depending where you place your wagers, you could be on a 7-0 run betting the favorite in this game.
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The Bengals have been one of the better teams in the AFC over the last few seasons. Quarterback, Andy Dalton, takes a lot of heat and many of the postseason shortcomings are blamed solely on him, and well, yeah there may be a little something to that, but the kid can still play. Pro Bowl wide out, AJ Green, stated that he would not want to play for another QB in the league and he believes Dalton has what it takes to lead them to the promise land. Of course, that could just be a teammate sticking up for a teammate, but that is a pretty strong endorsement from Green. So far this season, the Bengals are right back on top. They are 2-0 after wins over the Raiders and Chargers. The Ravens lost a heartbreaker in week one to the Broncos after throwing a pick late in the game in the endzone sealing the defeat. Everyone pretty much just penciled in a 1-1 start for the Ravens at that pointehhhh. Well, now they sit at 0-2 after going on the road and losing to the Oakland Raiders. But here we are, their first game back home so maybe the home crowd can make a differencemaybe. Bottom line for the Ravens is that they just need to get it together. Their defense looked great against the Broncos, they could not find the endzone themselves. Then this past weekend, they put up 33 points, only to let the Raiders score 37. If they get it all together, things will be okay in Baltimore. So that is my key to winning this game and covering. Play a complete game. Joe Flacco and the offense need to play mistake free football, while the defense needs to stop the Bengals run game whether it be Giovani Bernard or Jeremy Hill. They will also need to make sure AJ Green doesnt run free down field, Dalton WILL find him and the Ravens will pay.
The Bengals come in as underdogs. I cannot really see why, but they have. I know home field in the NFL is huge, especially in division rivalry games, but the Ravens have not shown any signs of gelling as a team and making things right. The Bengals do not have too many question marks as of right now. The defense is pretty solid, Dalton and Green are a deadly combo, and they are 2-0. The only minor question is the running back position. Jeremy Hill was the starter, but for some reason cannot hold on to the ball. Giovani Bernard has taken over the reigns and has done a solid jobthank goodness, he is on my fantasy team. Bernard has yet to reach the endzone, but last week against the Chargers he averaged over 6 yards a carry on 20 carries, not too shabby. I really like this Cincy team. Do I trust them in January? Not yet, but they are very talented and well coached. I could see this game going either way.
All signs in this one point to the Ravens covering the spread. As much as I like the Bengals here, I simply have to play the odds. A semi public fade, a home opener for Baltimore, and a team that is absolutely desperate for a win. That tells me that this ends up being one of those weird games where Baltimore just puts it on Cincinnati. Not that I think the Ravens are a better team top to bottom, it is just the NFL and how things usually play out. I think Baltimore wins this game 27-23 on a late score.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE RAVENS -3
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