Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts Betting Odds and Pick to Cover the Point Spread

Cincinnati Bengals (2-6 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Indianapolis Colts (5-3 SU,
5-2-1 ATS), Week 10 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 14, 2010,
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind., TV: CBS

by Badger of

Betting Odds: Cin +7/Indy -7
Over/Under Total: 47

With their season quickly becoming irrelevant the Cincinnati Bengals
will try and play the role of spoiler this Sunday when they travel to
Lucas Oil Stadium for a key AFC battle with Peyton Manning and the
Indianapolis Colts.

So much more was expected of the Bengals this season following last
years breakthrough 10-6 campaign and the highly publicized addition
of Terrell Owens, but thanks in part to their 27-21 loss at home to
rival Pittsburgh on Monday Night they are now four games back in the
standings and find themselves in the cellar looking up at the
Cleveland Browns in the AFC North.

With nothing left to really motivate the Bengals this week, maybe
theyll relish the chance to keep Manning and the Colts on the slide
since the Cots lost on the road last week to Michael Vick and the
Philadelphia Eagles, 26-24. With a cast of third-stringers and
practice players Manning almost rallied the Colts in come-from-behind
fashion last week, getting to within two points in the final minutes,
but in the end a lack of playmakers killed the Colts chances down the

Oddsmaker opened the game with the Colts as a touchdown favorite for Sundays matchup, setting the point spread at 7-points in favor of
the home team. So far everyone must be writing the Bengals and their
me-myself-and-I personalities off for the rest of the year, because
the early action at the betting window has been in favor of the
injury-depleted Colts enough that most sportsbooks have moved the
number up to 7.5. Theres even an 8.5 on the board (5Dimes) and a 9
(Legends), so the early money in heavy on the Colts in this game.

The over/under total hasnt seen as much line movement as the point
spread, hanging right at the 47 number it opened at through early
wagering. There are a few scattered 47.5s listed on the Web, but just
about every offshore sportsbook is sitting right at 47 so far.

What I find most interesting about the Bengals fall from the top of
the AFC North is how it has coincided with their decision to abandon
the running game on offense. Cedric Benson has gone from fantasy
league stud to afterthought in the span of a few games and the
Bengals 95.1 yards per game average is back down in the lower half of
the league (22nd).

All of this has put more pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer to throw to win games, and that approach has backfired miserably (59.8
comp. %, 8 INT, 83.6 QB Rating). Its worked in piling up the passing
yardage (249.9 ypg 6th), but when the Bengals get into the red zone
and the pass coverage gets tighter with less space, the lack of a
running game is crushing their scoring chances and forcing them to
kick filed goals (20.9 ppg 17th).

But they might be able to get Benson and the running game going this
week against the Colts run defense, a defense that is ranked 29th
against the run (140.9 ypg) and one that just gave up 195 yards last
week to Philly on 31 carries (6.2 yards per carry). The Bengals must
establish the run if they want to keep Dwight Freeney and Robert
Mathis from turning the corner on that fast Lucas Oil Stadium turf
and decapitating Palmer in the pocket.

Even though the Colts are ridiculously banged up at the offensive
skill positions, Manning and the crew have still managed to average
26 points per game the past two weeks. With Austin Collie out with a
concussion and Joseph Addai still nursing a shoulder injury, the
Colts are literally using practice players Javarris James and Blair
White in key positions on the offense.

It should be interesting to see Manning go to work with a crew of no-
names against the Bengals and their 17th-ranked pass defense (217.8
ypg). There is potential for the big play too, since the Bengals are
giving up big plays and are allowing teams to score over 23 points
per game against them (25th).

The last time these two teams met on the gridiron was back in 2008,
in a 35-3 route by the Colts in the old RCA Dome. Favored by 13.5
points going into the game, Manning threw for three touchdowns and
the Colts defense returned a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception for a late
touchdown to put the icing on the cake.

The Colts have won three straight on the field against the Bengals,
covering in all three to go 3-0 SU and 3-0 ATS since 2005 against
Cincinnati. Two of those victories were in Indy too, where the
Bengals are just 1-4 ATS in their last five visits.

The trends for betting on the total are scattered, but the under has
cashed in both of last two games played in Indy.

Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Colts are a different team, especially on
defense, when theyre playing on the carpet in Lucas Oil Stadium. But
I dont like laying over a touchdown here, especially with as many
injuries as they have on offense. The Colts may cover, but Im
staying away. If I wager on anything Ill put a small one on the
over, hoping that the Bengals can put up at least 20 points and force
Manning and the Colts to air it out to win. Take the over of 47.