Ravens-Bengals Betting Preview: Will Baltimore Get Revenge in Prime Time?
Mitch Stringer/Timothy Ludwig, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Joe Flacco (L) and Andy Dalton (R).
Betting odds: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
- Spread: PK
- Over/Under: 43
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET Thursday
- TV channel: NFL Network
>> All odds as of Wednesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
These two teams have split their 44 previous meetings but you better believe that the Ravens have had No. 45 circled all offseason after the Bengals ended their 2017 season with a wild win in Week 17.
While some teams tend to come out flat on Thursday nights due to the short week and lack of preparation/rest, I expect Baltimore to come out flying. — Stuckey
Betting market: With a blowout victory against the Bills fresh in the minds of recreational bettors, the Ravens are attracting 70% of tickets and 78% of dollars wagered on the spread at the time of writing (see live odds here).
Say what you want to about Andy Dalton, but he’s not Nathan Peterman, and the line has actually moved in Cincy’s direction.
After opening at Baltimore -2, this game is now a pick ’em, indicating that sharp early action is coming in on the Bengals. — PJ Walsh
Injury watch: The Ravens offense will again be without starting tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and backup running back Kenneth Dixon (knee) was reportedly placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Also, the defensive line will have to make do without defensive tackle Willie Henry (hernia).
The Bengals defense is looking healthier after a rough start to the week, as both defensive end Carlos Dunlap (calf) and cornerback Darqueze Dennard (neck) are good to go for Thursday night.
The bad news is linebacker Preston Brown (ankle) is questionable, and fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict will serve the second game of his current four-game suspension. — Ian Hartitz
Note: All injury info as of Thursday 9/13 at 5:30pm EST. Please visit our Week 2 Injury Dashboard for updated daily practice participation and game statuses up until game time.
Trends and stats to know: Baltimore looked terrific in a 47-3 blowout win over Buffalo at home in Week 1. It is important, however, to not overreact to one game.
Since 2003, teams that won the previous game by 21 or more points at home have gone 185-239-14 against the spread (44%) the following week. — John Ewing
To add on to that, since 2003, teams that win by 35-plus are 36-47-5 ATS in the following week (-14.3% ROI).
Can the Bengals get to 20 points? They are 8-0 against the Ravens since 2012 when crossing the 20-point threshold. When they don’t get there, they are 0-5.
Andy Dalton gets a bad rap from some, but he’s actually one of the most successful active ATS quarterbacks in the league: 63-40-7 ATS (61.2%) — Stuckey
September is the month for fading the public in divisional matchups. Simply going with the team getting fewer than 50% of bets against a divisional opponent in this month has gone 153-103-10 (59.8%) ATS since 2005. —Danny Donahue
DFS edge: Alex Collins only played 36% of the Baltimore offense’s snaps last week and saw a pedestrian eight combined targets and carries. Still, Collins’ lack of usage was largely due to the Ravens wiping away the need for many starters to play much of the second half during their 47-3 win over the Bills.
Another blowout might not even hurt Collins’ usage Thursday night with Dixon out. Last season Collins averaged 14.8 DraftKings PPG with a +5.2 Plus/Minus as a favorite compared to 9.8 PPG with a +1.5 Plus/Minus as an underdog. — Ian Hartitz
Matchup advantages: The Ravens will once again be without cornerback Jimmy Smith, but his loss is no longer a devastating blow to the Baltimore pass defense, as it finally has depth at the position with Tavon Young, Maurice Canady, Brandon Carr and budding star Marlon Humphrey.
With Burfict still suspended, keep an eye on the Ravens’ tight ends. Last week, Indianapolis’ Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron combined for 11 catches, 111 yards and one touchdown.
The rest of the Bengals defense looks pretty solid (from the corners to their elite D-line), but the biggest advantage will be Dunlap against right tackle James Hurst. Strength on weakness.
Ravens guard Marshal Yanda looks to be back at full health (PFF 87.9 grade in Week 1, zero pressures allowed), which should help vs. Geno Atkins when the two studs are matched up. But center Matt Skura is in real trouble when on an island vs. Atkins. — Stuckey
Bet to watch: I think Baltimore will come out with a significant edge as it seeks revenge for one of the worst ways you will ever see a season end, but the game still should be close.
That’s where Baltimore’s enormous advantage on special teams can kick in, which could ultimately decide this game.
Just to illustrate how much of an advantage the Ravens have, per Football Outsiders, they finished with the No. 1 overall special teams unit in 2017 and No. 4 in 2016. The Bengals, on the other hand, finished with the 21st- and 28th-ranked units, respectively.
I actually hate betting TNF because of the increased variance due to the short week, but I won’t pass up playing Baltimore first half at a pick ’em in what I think will be an inspired effort.
Some of the mismatches on the Cincy D-line do give me some pause on a short week, but I expect John Harbaugh and that offense to show some wrinkles early to catch Cincy off guard. Don’t sleep on a trick play or two involving Lamar Jackson. — Stuckey