Oakland Raiders(3-7SU,3-7ATS) vs.Cincinnati Bengals(5-5SU, 4-5-1ATS)
Where:Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: OAK+9.5/CIN -9.5
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The Cincinnati Bengals will attempt to win their third straight game, when they welcome back Carson Palmer of the new look Oakland Raiders. More on Palmer’s return toCincinnatilater.Oaklanddropped its third straight game in losing to the New Orleans Saints 38-17, as 6-point home dogs last Sunday. The Raiders out-gained the Saints by 22 yards and are now 6-4 ITS (in the stats) this season. The Bengals defeated the hapless Chiefs 28-6, as 3-point road favorites. Cincinnati out-stattedKansas City by 125 yards and are also 6-4 ITS this season. This line opened at -8 and has been bet up to the current line of 9.5. Early money favors the home favorite, but is that the right side? Lets take a deeper look.
Right now the Raiders aren’t a good football team, but they do have an above average passing game. Carson Palmer has been solid this season and the offense averages 288 passing yards per game. The Bengals’ pass defense has been stingy, only allowing 227 yards per game. Oakland has no running game (81 yards per game) and their offensive line has struggled all season. Cincinnati has better balance on offense than Cincinnati, but theRaiders will bring in the better defense by roughly 30 yards. The Raiders Special Teams unit is ranked 27thwhile the Bengals Special Teams unit is ranked No. 15, and getting better.
Carson Palmer was the Bengals’ franchise quarterback, but after two playoffappearanceshe demanded a trade and was booted out of town. In took several months to trade him to Oakland for draft picks back in 2010. That ended a stand-off between Palmer and the owner.There is a lot of bitterness on bothsides, and willcertainlyadd some intrigueto this game.Now,Palmer gets a chance to spoil his former team’s chances ofmaking the playoffs. Of course, a win or loss will not guarantee Cincinnati tomake or missthe playoffs, but the Raiders will have extra motivation in this contest to do just that. A big underdog that is super motivated is very appealing to me. There is a lot more pressure on the home team, knowing they must continue to win and that theRaiders sit at 3-7SU. We already know Oakland has played better thantheirrecord indicates,evidentbytheirimpressive ITS record.
With last week’s loss the Raiders have now given up 135 points over their last three games. Not exactly a recipe for success. If you want to look for a bright spot you can point out that Oakland had 404 total yards fromscrimmageand theprevioushorrible running game erupted for 120 yards. I think that’s a good sign going forward. Outside of their passing game, the Raiders really don’t have much going for them and they have been blown out on the road by 22, 31, and 35 points already this season. Those three defeats came against teams that have also beaten the Bengals, two of them (Miami & Denver)occurringin Cincinnati. Granted, Oakland is bad right now, but the Bengals are nojuggernautthemselves. I really think there is extra motivation on the Raiders side. They should befiredup in supporting Carson Palmer’s return to the team that drafted him.
In 2009, Oakland defeated Cincinnati 20-17 as 9-point home dogs. Carson Palmer was 14-of-22 for 207 yards and one interception playing for the Bengals. He will be highly motivated in this game. Look for him to pass at least 35 times, weather permitting. Oakland is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 12. The Raiders are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games following a double digit loss. The Bengals are 5-11-3 ATS in their last 19 games overall. The Under is 4-1 in their last five meetings.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Spread:Oakland Raiders +9.5
Take the motivated big underdog with the better overall defense. This is the biggest linefavoritethat the Bengals have been all season. They are 0-5 ATS last fivewhen installed as a favortie of 7.5 to 9 points.
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