Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers Preview and Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) -8.5, 42.5 O/U at San Francisco 49ers (3-10) +8.5, Monster Park, San Francisco, 8.15pm EST Saturday
by The Crazy Snake of

If your Saturday night is empty and you have nothing better to do, there’s a football game on in prime time. I mean, it isn’t exactly for high stakes and it isn’t between two of the league’s heavyweights, but football is football and if you have a yearn and the NCAA doesn’t turn you on there’s always the Niners and the Bengals.

In the past I have been accused of betting on two flies crawling up a wall, but with professionalism comes responsibility, and I haven’t bet on Louie in a number of years now. In contemplating this game and trying to decide if it was a betting proposition I concluded that regardless of the quality of any given game, if there were two opponents that wanted to win then there was always a reasonable possibility that I could pick the right spread at least 5 and a half times out of 10. With low vig sportsbooks it is possible to turn that strike rate into gold.

Speaking of gold, about the most attractive thing about the 49ers this season has been the gold in their uniforms. Sad really, when you consider that many tipped them as genuine play off prospects from the NFC West. But true to recent form, the Niners underachieved again and the Seahawks won by default again. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Montana to Rice was a regular occurrence at the old Candlestick Park. I bet there are many long suffering fans that would give anything to see those days repeat before the next decade. But perennial mediocrity is infectious to a large degree. No matter what talent laden new blood you bring into an organisation, sometimes a loser’s mentality that pervades will undermine any attempts to right the ship.

Not that Cincinnati has had much to crow about either. Despite a typically prolific season from their offense, their D has been about as airtight as a cheese grater. They might be lucky enough to boost their defensive ranking this week, however. SF doesn’t have any weapons with which to hurt them. Frank Gore has struggled this season, courtesy of his offensive line, some questionable play calling and a general inability from the offense to divert opposition defenses’ attention away from him. Cincy has been steadily improving their run defense of late, however, so if Frisco thought they might get some respite they could be in for some disappointment.

I guess we can expect Cincy to score their 20-30 points here, and San Francisco has failed to achieve a mark above 20 points on all but one occasion. Thus, on balance it would seem fair to install the Bengals 8.5 point favorites. I think that might be even a little generous in favor of Cincinnati. I can’t really see the Niners mustering much offense here, despite Cincy’s loose pass coverage. Cincy has scoring potential and Frisco is inept and one dimensional.

The Snake’s Bite: I hate these big spreads and it seems we have seen more of them this season than in any other I can remember. The disparity in team quality is never more obvious than when the 49ers show up against anyone. Cincy isn’t great, but they don’t have much to beat here. If their offense clicks it is highly unlikely the Niners can score enough to keep pace. I am happy to lay the points and back Cincy here. Of all of the possibilities in this game I think Cincy doing what they usually do and San Francisco doing what they usually do makes the most sense. Cincy scores points and Frisco doesn’t. That equates to more than an 8.5 point difference and thus, Cincy becomes the better play.