Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview

Cincinnati Bengals (8-5) +3, o/u 54 at Indianapolis Colts (10-3), 8:30 p.m. Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Predictem.com Staff

Bettors and bookmakers alike are expecting a shootout when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Indianapolis Colts on ESPN’s Monday Night Football tonight at the RCA Dome.

Indianapolis opened up as three-point home favorites for Monday night’s game, with a total of right around 51. But while the line has remained basically the same, the total has been bet up to 54 and more at some sportsbooks.

Cincinnati started this season by winning its first three games, but then lost five of six and sat at 4-5 overall just a month ago. Since then, the Bengals have won four straight, including a 27-10 decision over the Oakland Raiders last week.

Cincy sits in second place in the AFC North, 2 games back of the division-leading Baltimore Ravens. If the playoffs started today, the Bengals would be the #5 seed in the AFC, but they haven’t clinched anything yet.

Indianapolis won its first nine games this year, but has lost three of its last four, including a 44-17 drubbing at the hands of the Jaguars in Jacksonville last week. Nonetheless, Indy backed into its fourth straight AFC South title when the Jags lost to the Tennessee Titans Sunday. The Colts would be the #3 seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today.

Cincinnati has allowed just 33 points over its last four games, but those wins came over the New Orleans Saints, the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore (in the rain) and the Oakland Raiders, three of which aren’t exactly known for their offensive prowess.

Indianapolis allowed a staggering 375 yards rushing to Jacksonville last week, and 219 to Tennessee the previous week. On the season, the Colts rank dead last by allowing an average of 176.5 rushing yards per game.

Cincinnati is 7-5-1 against the spread this season, and 4-2 both straight up and ATS on the road.

Indianapolis is 7-6 against the spread this season, and 6-0 straight up and 4-2 ATS at home.

Last season, Indy outgunned the Bengals 45-37 in Cincinnati. Peyton Manning and the Colts passing attack cranked up 359 air yards and three TDs, and the game topped its posted total of 48 when Indy scored to take a 35-17 lead with four minutes remaining before halftime.

These two teams have played just one common opponent this season. Cincy got run over by New England 38-13 in Week 4, while the Colts beat the Patriots in Foxboro 27-20 in Week 9.

The Bengals offense ranks 7th in the NFL by averaging 350 yards per game, while the Colts defense ranks 17th at 331 yards allowed PG. The Indy offense ranks 2nd at 381 total yards PG, while the Cincy defense ranks 29th by allowing 348 yards PG.

The Bengals are getting outrushed by a 109-101 yards-per-game average this season, while the Colts, thanks to their 32nd-ranked run defense, are getting outgrounded by a 176.5-109 YPG margin.

Cincy QB Carson Palmer has hit on 65% of his passes this season and owns a 24/11 TD/INT ratio and a 98.7 passing rating.

Manning has completed 63.5% of his passes this season for a 22/9 TD/INT ratio and a 95.9 passing rating.

Indy ranks 20th in average time-of-possession at 29:35, while the Bengals rank 22nd at 29:13.

The Colts rank 5th with a +8 turnover margin, while Cincy ranks 7th at +7.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Bengals 7th at 26.7, Indy 8th at 26.0.

The Colts will likely be without WR Brandon Stokley and TE Dallas Clark Monday night due to injuries, and the Colts defensive backfield is banged up, too. On the other side, the Bengals list two of their starters on the offensive line as questionable for Monday night’s game.

The O/U is 6-7 in Cincinnati games this season, and Bengals games are averaging 43.6 points. The O/U is also 6-7 in Indy games this season, and those games are averaging 49 points.