New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Pick

New England Patriots (3-0) -7 , o/u 54 at Cincinnati Bengals (1-2), 8:30 pm Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

The scoreboard operators at Paul Brown Stadium might want to make sure they’ve got some back-up power when the New England Patriots visit Cincinnati for a bout with Bengals on ESPN’s Monday Night Football tonight. Related: MNF Picks.

New England is 3-0 and leads the AFC East by two games already after beating the New York Jets, San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, scoring 38 points each time out. The Patriots are also 3-0 against the spread, covering as favorites of six, 3 and 16 points.

Also, all three of New England’s games so far this season have gone over their posted totals.

Cincinnati is 1-2 and in last place in the AFC North after beating the Baltimore Ravens in the season opener but losing to the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks since then.

The Bengals are 2-1 against the spread, though, after covering against the Ravens and three-point home favorites and vs. Seattle as four-point road dogs, but losing to the Browns outright as seven-point road chalk.

Also, the o/u is 2-1 in Bengals games this year.

Exactly one year ago, New England went into Cincy on a late Sunday afternoon and destroyed the Bengals 38-13 as five-point road dogs. Cincinnati simply could not stop the Patriots, and specifically RB Lawrence Maroney, who help New England outrush the Bengals 236-71. The Pats also held a 34/26 time-of-possession advantage.

That game also went over its total of 46.

Since that game, Cincinnati is 6-10, New England 12-3 (regular season).

The guy playing QB for the Patriots, some dude named Brady, is apparently pretty good. He’s competed 80% of his passes this year and owns a 10/1 TD/INT ratio and a 141.8 passing rating.

Bengals QB Carson Palmer has hit on 64% of his throws this year and owns a 9/4 TD/INT ratio and a 97.3 passing rating.

New England is outgaining opponents by a yards-per-game average of 441-207, and is outrushing foes by a 152-74 margin.

On the other side, Cincy is getting outgained 403-393 and outrushed 145-92.

The Bengals were home dogged just once last year, when they blew a huge lead and lost to San Diego 49-41 getting one point.

The Patriots went 4-1 both straight up and vs. the numbers as road chalk last season.

The Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com ranks New England #1 at 34.3, Cincinnati 13th at 20.8.

On the injury front, RB Rudi Johnson is out for the Bengals with bad hammy. He’ll be replaced in the starting line-up by Kenny Watson, who hasn’t started an NFL game in five years.

On the other side, Maroney is listed as questionable with a groin injury, but we all know how Coach Belichick plays with his injury listings.

New England opened up as a seven-point road favorite for this game, with a total of 52. But the Pats have been bet up to 7 at most sportsbooks, and the total has been bumped to 54. Also, New England is listed at right around -350 on the moneyline, with Cincy getting +300 as a home dog.

The Zman Pick: I like the Patriots to cover the 7.5 here.