Raiders vs Bengals Pick & Prediction
Oakland Raiders (3-10 SU, 5-8 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8 SU, 6-7 ATS)
NFL Football Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday, December 16th, 1:00pm EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
by Bob Clark, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OAK +3/CIN -3 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Over/Under Total: 46.5
POWER RATINGS – WEEK 15: CINCINNATI BENGALS -5
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 14:
Week 14 was a good week for the Bengals. Okay, yes I know they lost but they went into the game against the LA Chargers as nearly 17 point underdogs. The final ended with the Chargers squeaking out a 26-21 win in a game that was actually much closer than the final score. With that said, was the Bengals close game against a much better team on paper a result of a team that is coming together and playing for each other or was it the result of a Chargers team that took them too lightly? The answer is probably the latter, but either way even in a losing effort, the Bengals showed a lot of fight. As for the Oakland Raiders, I bet they are missing Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper even more than before after this week. However, it is obvious that Oakland is in total rebuild mode and I do not see that changing for the next year or so. This past weekend though, Oakland was able to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers who themselves appear to be in disarray in the locker room. The offseason will be very interesting in Pittsburgh, especially after how this season has panned out. Yes, the Raiders got a “big win” but they have still dropped seven of their last nine games and have only found themselves in the win column three times all season. This weekend will be very interesting to see if either of these teams are looking for wins…or a higher draft pick.
HOW THE PUBLIC IS BETTING OAKLAND AND CINCINNATI:
Although the Bengals on paper appear to be the better team, they are just a three point favorite at home against the Raiders. This tells me that the books feel this game is a near toss up with such a small spread. Not only do the bookmakers feel this will be a close game but the betting public is torn on which side to take as well. As of mid day on Tuesday, 52% of the documented action was on the Bengals at home while 48% like the Raiders plus the field goal. Could this be because of the win over the Steelers? Are the Raiders being over valued? I have a theory on this one and you will see when I make my pick.
These two teams do not play too often. Since 1991 they have met just ten times and in those ten games, they have split the series at five games each. The most recent match-ups include games played in 2015 and 2012. Both games won by the Bengals and both games won in blowout fashion as well.
For the Oakland Raiders, Gabe Jackson is listed as Day to Day with an elbow injury and it has not been confirmed if he will see action come Sunday and running back, Jalen Richard, will more than likely be upgraded to Probable and play Sunday after dealing with a rib injury this week. For the Bengals, there is no new injury news from this past weekend. The most notable asset for this weekend is tackle, Cordy Glenn, who is still battling a back injury and has not yet been cleared to play Sunday against the Raiders.
WHEN OAKLAND HAS THE BALL:
When going into Cincy on Sunday, the Raiders need to improve on their scoring offense…if possible. So far in 2018 the Raiders are averaging just 18.8 points a game which keeps them out of the top 20 NFL offenses. The Cincinnati Bengals defense is allowing the most points of any of the 32 teams and is ranked dead last. The Bengals are allowing opponents to score almost 31 points a game and this could help Oakland come Sunday. Oakland will be able to pick and choose how to move the ball come Sunday against Cincy. The Bengals rank 29th against the pass in the NFL and 32nd against the run. I believe come Sunday the Oakland Raiders will try and control the tempo of this game and take advantage of a bad defense. If Oakland can control the ball and not make any costly turnovers, this could be a competitive game headed into the final moments.
WHEN CINCINNATI HAS THE BALL:
The Bengals offense must also play defense. What does that mean you ask? It means the offense of the Cincinnati Bengals needs to keep their horrible defense off the field. The Bengals need long drives and scores to keep the pressure on the Oakland offense and off their own defense. Oakland ranks 31st in the NFL in rushing, just slightly more than the Bengals. As for the pass defense, Oakland is ranked just about in the middle of the league. Much reason for that is that teams do not really need to pass. They can run run run all game and I think that is exactly what the Bengals plan to do. Could this game become a shootout? Yes. But deep down I think both teams want to control clock, keep the tempo, and win a low scoring affair. Look for Cincinnati to come with a lot of Joe Mixon. If Mixon is able to gain success on the ground, this will open things up for Andy Dalton who is still a very capable NFL quarterback. On paper I think Cincinnati has the advantage, but I do not trust either team on both sides of the ball which will make for an interesting game come Sunday.
Both of these teams have had so so seasons. Okay, I take that back, the Bengals have had a so so season and the Raiders are a dumpster fire. I really, really want to take Cincinnati in this one, but something tells me that the three points is too easy. I would guess the Bengals would win a game something like 24-16 but the odds, the public action, and just how the NFL works in general tells me to fade the public, fade the favorite, and take the Oakland Raiders as a road underdog.
The weather in Cincinnati is calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures that range from a high of 42 and a low of 30. The weather COULD favor the Bengals just a tad but not enough to make me pick them.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE OAKLAND RAIDERS PLUS THREE ON THE ROAD.