Cincinnati Bengals (7-6 SU 7-5-1 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (2-11 SU 2-11 ATS) Week 15 NFL Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO, 1PM ET Sunday December 18, 2011 on CBS
by Jason Green, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cin -6/STL +6
Over/Under Total: 38.5
Bet the Cinci/Saint Louis game at a sportsbook that will allow you to make the Rams a +26 underdog by using one of their 20 point teasers: 5Dimes.
The Cincinnati Bengals are hanging on by a thread in the playoff picture and may need to win out and get some help to make the post-season. They have lost 2 straight and 4 of their last 5, but may get back on track facing a Rams’ team that is reeling losers of 4 straight and are struggling on both sides of the ball.
The Rams’ offense has only averaged 10 ppg in their last 4 games and their run defense ranks dead last in the league. On top of that, Sam Bradford has been banged up for much of the season and is going through a sophomore slump, big time.
In each of the team’s last games, the Rams lost to the Seattle Seahawks 30-13 on Monday night and the Bengals lost to the Houston Texans 20-19 on Sunday.
Cincy QB Andy Dalton has been playing against some solid pass defenses in the past few weeks and it has shown, as he has not been playing well. In his last 3 games he has not been picked off, but he only has 3 TD and only passed for over 200 yards once. Rookie A.J. Green is his main target and has averaged over 16 yards per catch this season. Dalton will have another so-so game facing the Rams and their 8th ranked pass defense, as the Bengals will look to establish the run.
RB Cedric Benson has only rushed for over 100 yards 3 times this season, but did have a good game last week in the loss to the Texans rushing for 91 yards (Although 40+ of them were on one run). Look for him to have a better than average day vs. the Rams’ run defense that has given up a ton of rushing yards this season.
Bradford can’t take all the blame for the Rams and their offensive woes this season. He has a less than stellar WR corps and their offensive line has allowed the most sacks in the league. The Bengals have a pretty good pass defense ranking 11th in the league and their pass rush ranks has the 6th most sacks in the league. They will give Bradford a hard time and he’ll turn in an average day at best.
St. Louis RB Steven Jackson did have 63 rushing yards with a TD and 60 receiving yards in the loss to the Seahawks on Monday night, but he has really been struggling. He has not broken the 100-yard barrier on the ground in the last 5 games and in his last 4 games he has failed to rush for over 4 yards per carry. He’ll struggle vs. a Cincy run defense that ranks 7th in the league even though they gave up 144 rushing yards last week.
The Rams do not have much going for them and their fans are letting them know and the home field advantage will not be very big in this game.
This season the Rams have an Over/Under record of 5-7-1 and the Bengals have an Over/Under record of 10-3.
The Bengals are e 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 road games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a losing record, and they have an Over record of 5-0 in their last 5 games as a favorite.
The Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record, and have an Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Bengals have a winning record because they are beating the teams that are under .500 and all of their losses this season have come against teams with a winning record. The Rams are nowhere near .500 and they simply are not a good football team. Cincy will get back in the win column but I believe the Rams will keep is close enough to get the cover. I’m betting St. Louis + the points!
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