Cincinnati Bengals (4-5 SU, 3-5-1 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (1-8 SU, 3-6 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 18th, 2012, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV: CBS/DirecTV 710
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cin -3.5/KC +3.5
Over/Under Total: 44
The Cincinnati Bengals played one of their most complete games in years last week and this Sunday they’ll look to keep that momentum going strong when they go on the road to take on the lowly Kansas City Chiefs in hostile Arrowhead Stadium.
The Bengals looked impressive beating up the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants last Sunday, rather handily I might add, 31-13. Quarterback Andy Dalton fired a career-high four touchdown strikes and the Bengals defense forced four Giants turnovers to turn the game into a, 31-6, laugher early in the third quarter and snap a four-game losing streak.
But if the Bengals don’t bring their A-game again on Sunday they may not keep the Chiefs down, especially since the game is in Arrowhead.
Kansas City gave the Pittsburgh Steelers everything they could handle and then some on Monday Night Football last week, losing 16-13 in overtime, but a plethora of mistakes, penalties and missed opportunities continue to haunt the Chiefs. After orchestrating a drive in the final minute to set-up the game-tying 46-yard field goal by Ryan Succup, quarterback Matt Cassel threw a back-breaking interception on the second play of OT to essentially hand the Steelers the win.
Despite their 1-8 record the Chiefs do seem to be playing a little better, but if they don’t step up soon and correct the habitual mistakes before the Bengals blow into town they all may be searching for jobs and tee-times come January.
Before the ink was even dry on the stat sheet from Monday Night the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas set the opening point spread for this game with the Bengals as 3.5-point favorites on the road. There are a few offshore sportsbooks that have dropped the hook to list the Bengals at minus -3, but with almost all of the early money coming in on Cincinnati (or fading the Chiefs) I don’t expect the number to drop much more if at all.
The over/under total opened at 44 and has dropped to 43.5 at a few sportsbooks to take the push out of the equation.
Offensively it’s hard to imagine the Bengals playing another game like they did last week against the Giants, although they did only run for 76 yards on 28 carries (2.7 ypc), only had 15 first downs and Dalton only threw for 199 yards on 21-of-30 passing. For the year the Bengals are 25th in rushing (94 ypg) and leading rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis only has 537 yards through nine games, so their reliance on Dalton and young superstar A.J. Green (9 TD) is likely to catch up them sooner than later.
The Kansas City defense has been fairly stingy in the passing game (214 ypg – 8th), so it will be interesting to see how well Dalton and the Bengals handle the Arrowhead Stadium crowd noise and the pass rush of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali if they are forced into obvious passing situations.
The Chiefs offense has used just about every means possible to turn the ball over and shoot themselves in the foot. They are still one of the best running teams in football with the duo of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis grinding out 149 yards a game (4th in NFL), but as soon as teams start to stack the box and stop the run the Chiefs have been unable to do much of anything passing with either Cassel or backup Brady Quinn.
These two played each other for four straight season from 2006 to 2009, and the Bengals have gotten the better of the Chiefs overall with three wins including a, 23-10, win in ’06 in Arrowhead and a, 17-10, win in their last meeting in ’09 in Cincinnati. But big picture, over decades (going back to 1987) the Chiefs have been very tough to beat in Arrowhead in the series going 4-2 both SU and ATS.
Since most of the betting trends favor neither team (Cinn. 1-11-2 ATS in L14 vs. AFC; KC 4-9 ATS in L13 when playing Sunday following a MNF), the best option may be to wager on the under. The under is 12-2 in the Bengals last 14 games after scoring more than 30 points the week before, it’s 9-2 in the Chiefs last 11 home games and it’s also 5-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings between the Bengals and Chiefs.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m willing to back the Chiefs if you give me 13 or 14 points like they got on Monday Night, but only +3 or +3.5 points is not enough to make me hit the hip for a wager. With 12 other games on the card, there’s little value on a side bet in this game. But if you’re an action junkie, then I’d recommend a play on the under of 44.
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