LA Rams at Cincinnati Bengals Monday Night Football Pick
Los Angeles Rams ( 1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals ( 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, September 25, 8:15 PM EST
Where: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati
Point Spread: LAR +1.5/Cin -1.5 (Investing 3 minutes to learn about reduced juice can and will change the way you bet forever! SAVE $$$!)
Moneyline: Rams +110/Bungles -130
Over/Under Total: 43.5
It’s a Super Bowl 56 rematch to close out week 3 of the NFL in a Monday Night doubleheader nightcap. BOVADA.LV is making the Bengals and hobbled quarterback Joe Burrow 1.5 point favorites and setting the game total at 43.5. I am trusting Matthew Stafford a lot more than I am Burrow in this one, so give me the Rams and the points. Here are three reasons.
Stafford Looks Good
The Rams came into the season with a big uphill battle to be relevant in the NFC, but so far, they are up to the challenge. They have a few superstars and a lot of guys who are trying to make a name for themselves in the league, but through two weeks, they have shown that they are fighters and can compete with good teams. Stafford has completed 62% of his passes for just under seven yards per attempt. Rookie Wide Receiver Puka Nacua has been a godsend for Sean McVay and Stafford, catching 25 balls in his first two games and replacing the injured Cooper Kupp. Kyren Williams has taken over the backfield and has proven he is capable of handling the load. The offensive line has a lot of question marks, but most of the answers have been positive. Stafford has only been sacked once, and Williams is averaging 3.6 rushing yards per attempt. The O-line wore down on Sunday against San Francisco’s relentless pass rush, but they held up fine in Seattle and should be able to hold up this week against the Bengals. When McVay has players, he is one of the best offensive minds in the game and has proven it this year. I think the Rams continue to have success on offense and should have no problem scoring, at least in the high 20s in Cincy.
The Bengal defense has been as disappointing as their offense through 2 weeks. They have only three sacks and couldn’t contain Nick Chubb on the ground in Week 1 or contain Lamar Jackson last week. The loss of Safety Jessie Bates may have a bigger impact than previously thought, or it could be that the Bengals D is on the field a lot due to the offensive struggles. In any case, they will have their hands full this week with McVay’s scheme. This will probably be the best offense they have faced in the short season. A healthy Stafford is definitely the best passer they have faced. Maybe DC Lou Anarumo will get a little more aggressive with the less mobile Stafford, but Stafford could make them pay for their blitzes. The Bengals have not had a lockdown defense over the past couple of years, but they have been able to shut teams down when they need to. So far this year, they haven’t done that, and I think the Rams have their way on offense this week.
Burrow Needs To Turn It On
Burrow has now missed the majority of training camp for the last three years. In the last two years, he started slow and then shifted to high gear around Week 3 and got it all going, enough to make him the highest-paid player in the league. The difference this year is he is hurt, nursing a calf strain just doesn’t want to heal. He was noticeably limping as the game ended last Sunday, but it appears he intends to play this week. He has completed only 57% of his passes and is averaging a putrid 4.2 yards per attempt. Of course, it follows that his elite tandem of receivers also has bad numbers, but the disappearance of JaMarr Chase is puzzling, coming in with only ten catches for 70 yards and a long of 13. Joe Mixon has had some success on the ground, but Cincy has fallen behind in both contests and then gotten away from the running game. They will have to run the ball this week to be able to stay in the game and take the pressure off Burrow and his calf, but coach Zac Taylor has never proven that he can commit to ground and pound, so I don’t know why he would find that religion this week. This will be the weakest defense they have faced in 2023, but I expect more struggling for the Bengal offense on Monday Night.
The Rams defense has overachieved in 2023, just as the offense has. They have only allowed 43 points on the season and have limited opponents passing to only 301 yards. They frustrated the 49er offenses last week for the first three quarters of the game before wearing down in the home stretch. They also only have three sacks and have yet to take away the ball, so they will not dominate the game or win the game on their own, but they have made the Seahawks and 49ers earn everything they got. I think they do the same this week, and the Bengal offense looks more like the Seahawks in Week 1 than the 49ers in Week 2. SF was able to wear down the Rams’ defense, but I think the Bengals will make enough mistakes that LA’s stop unit hangs tough for 60 minutes.
The Spot Favors LA
Although we could compare this year to the last couple of years when the Bengals turned it around after a slow start, I think the Rams have the advantage this week. They came into the year being told they had no chance and proceeded to dominate the Seahawks and compete with the 49ers. They now know that they are a legitimate playoff contender in a weak NFC and have the veteran leaders to push them in that direction. The Bengals, on the other hand, have this dilemma about what to do with Burrow, and the team is not playing loose or with any confidence. If Burrow is not close to 100%, I think he will play cautions, and the priority will be for him to not aggravate the injury rather to go all out to win the game. The Rams could jump out early in this one, and Taylor may raise the white flag and choose to keep his superstar QB on the sidelines. There are a lot of ways this game leans to the Rams.
Play Against The Bengals On MNF
Until Burrow shows he is healthy and can play free and easy, I can’t bet on the Bengals. Play the Rams with the short spread, or play them on the money line to win the game. Bet your MNF picks for FREE all month by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 when you use bonus promo code PREDICTEM at BetUS Sportsbok!
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