NFL Pick: Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Denver Broncos (5-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS)
When: Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 – 1:00 PM ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, OH
By: Keith Franks, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN -4 / CIN +4
Power Rankings: Cincinnati +6
Takeaways From Week 12
The Broncos extended their winning streak to two games on Sunday when they for the second consecutive week orchestrated an upset against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers as a three-point underdog. Previous to this, the Orange Crush shocked the Chargers of Los Angeles on the road as a 7.5-point underdog in a 23-22 thriller. This Denver organization seems to be on its way out of the doldrums with two high-profile victories in back-to-back weeks.
After starting 4-1, the wheels are seemingly coming off for the Bengals as they have won just one game in their last six outings. Most recently, the Bengals were embarrassed by a divisional foe they have been accustomed to beating up on when the Cleveland Browns beat the Bengals down on their own field by a score of 35-20. The Bengals found themselves as a one-point underdog at kick-off against the Dawg Pound.
How the Public is Betting the Denver-Cincinnati Game
We are seeing a tremendous lean by the public materialize on the Denver as 73% of the consensus like the Broncos here laying the points. As a result, the number rose by half of a point from the initial offering of Denver spotting 3.5 points. It is worth noting that -3.5 is usually a favorite-oriented number designed to attract action on the underdog by virtue of getting a cover even if they lose by a field goal. However, the bait has seemingly not been bitten here as the public has been all over Denver from the get-go.
The Broncos and Bengals have split the last four meetings dating back to 2014. Most recently, Cincinnati defeated Denver in the Mile High City last year as a 2.5-point underdog when they edged the Broncos 20-17.
The Bengals are the epitome of nicked up. Cincy will be without their starting quarterback Andy Dalton who is on the IR due to a torn ligament in his thumb. Furthermore, Cincinnati’s chief offensive weapon wide-receiver and former Georgia Bulldog A.J. Green is listed as day-to-day with a toe injury and remains questionable for Sunday.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
Cincinnati is a team that likes to pass the ball more than it runs. The Bengals average 239.6 yards through the air (17th in the NFL) and manage to yield a 12th-ranked 25.1 points per game. This is a football however that is one-dimensional as they cannot get the run going averaging under 100 yards per game with a 28th-ranked rushing attack that yields just 93.5 yards on the ground per game. Moreover, Cincinnati also has a poor kicking game as they hit just 69.2% of their field goals (29th in the NFL). This is bad news given the fact their starting QB is gone for the year with their playmaker at wide receiver uncertain at this time. When you combine this with the fact that Cincinnati’s defense now stands dead last in the league in total defense (439.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (31.5 points per game), the Bengals are prone to get blown out.
When Denver Has the Ball
The Broncos feature a middle of the road offense that focuses on running the ball and then allowing quarterback Case Keenum to pass effectively off of it. The Broncos are have fared well on the ground, averaging a 10th-ranked 124.7 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Case Keenum had turned the ball over frequently and threw 10 picks in the first eight games of the season. However, Keenum has played well as of late throwing three touchdowns and no picks in his last three outings. The step-up in the quarterback’s play has been instrumental in the Denver turnaround.
Two trends in particular have manifested. First, the underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings. Secondly, the Bengals are 3-1 ATS in the previous four contests between both sides. Both of these narratives from first-glance would direct action on Cincy but once again the public is not interested likely because of the injury bug that has bitten the Bengals.
Weather reports indicate that Sunday will be a rainy day in Cincinnati with temperatures expected to be in the low 50’s.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Denver -4
In their last three losses, Cincinnati gave up 110 points to opponents while scoring 55 points of their own. In other words, Bengals opposition doubles what Cincy can produce and that is a product of their defense and not the offensive injuries they have suffered. Cincy’s only hope of pulling an upset here is if their defense steps up and causes Denver’s offense to make a few mistakes. However, the Broncos offense has been playing efficiently against far better defenses than the Bengals. Given the fact Cincy’s defense will accommodate Denver’s methodical run game, the Bengals won’t have as many opportunities to score and hold serve. However, we wouldn’t like those prospects anyhow given the nebulous state of the Cincinnati offense at the present moment. With a lackluster offense at their disposal that will not be able to go tic-for-tac with Denver and play mistake-free football, Cincinnati will lose this one by minimum of a touchdown if they don’t get their doors blown off yet again. Swallow the points.