Bengals vs. Ravens Odds & Picks: Can Baltimore Cover As A Big Favorite?
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
- Our experts cover every angle of Sunday's Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (-12) matchup.
- Find betting odds and expert picks below, including whether we think Lamar Jackson can cover this spread.
Bengals at Ravens Odds & Picks
- Odds: Ravens -12
- Over/Under: 48
- Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
While the Dolphins and Redskins are getting much of the attention this week in a meeting of two winless teams, the Bengals are also floundering at 0-5. They head to Baltimore to face the Ravens, who have come back down to Earth since starting 2-0 and, so far, bettors like the Bengals to cover the double-digit spread.
The Bengals, who are 2-1 as underdogs this season, are getting 57% of betting tickets as of Thursday evening. Should you follow the public on this spread?
Our staff breaks down every angle of this matchup, including Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a staff pick against the spread.
Bengals-Ravens Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Ravens
The Ravens have some noteworthy injuries with Marquise Brown (ankle) missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Maurice Canady (thigh), one of Pro Football Focus’ best-graded corners on the Ravens, also hasn’t been practicing to begin the week. His potential absence would be good news for some of the Bengals pass-catchers.
The Bengals will be without A.J. Green (ankle) again, which isn’t surprising. They’re also banged up around the offensive line with Cordy Glenn (concussion) getting downgraded on Thursday and Andre Smith (ankle), who could be trending to a missed game if he doesn’t get in a practice on Friday. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Ravens Running Backs vs. Bengals Linebackers
In Lamar Jackson’s 13 career starts, the Ravens have a 1940s-esque 57.2% run rate. This season, they have an NFL-high 180 rush attempts and lead the league with a 0.57 rushing success rate.
The Ravens don’t just run the ball to keep opposing defenses honest, they run to win.
Last season, the Bengals allowed the second-most production to opposing backfields with 170.5 yards and 1.25 touchdowns from scrimmage per game. This year, they’ve somehow gotten worse with 203.2 yards and 1.80 touchdowns allowed.
Almost every back with at least eight carries against them this season has gone off, and the Ravens have three backs — Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill — who could legitimately see eight rushes each.
Linebackers Nick Vigil and Preston Brown are especially to blame for the Bengals’ generosity to opposing backs. They have both been exposed on the ground and in coverage.
The Bengals are fortunate to be only No. 26 in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA. They’re at their worst in the intermediate range of the field, where they rank No. 31 with 1.59 second-level yards allowed per run. Once opposing backs get 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, Bengals linebackers have been incapable of limiting yardage.
To make matters worse, the Bengals are No. 30 against running backs with a 43.4% pass defense DVOA. Last year, they were No. 31 with a 22.0% mark.
On the ground or through the air, they can’t stop anyone.
Vigil and Brown specifically have been among the worst defenders on the team, and that’s reflected in their PFF grades:
- Vigil: 43.9 overall | 51.8 run defense | 42.7 coverage
- Brown: 43.2 overall | 41.1 run defense | 51.1 coverage
The Ravens backs should smash. The first start of Jackson’s NFL career came in Week 11 of last season against the Bengals, when the Ravens had a collective 53-267-2 rushing line.
While Jackson is likely to get some of his production on the ground, there should still be enough rushing production to go around plus enough receiving work for multiple Ravens backs to go off with big games. — Matthew Freedman
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Ravens -11
- Projected Total: 47.5
I’m right in line with market here, so I don’t see any value. — Sean Koerner
Mike Randle: Ravens -12
As Freedman mentioned, this is the ideal smash spot for the Ravens. They comfortably started 2-0 before struggling in three straight games against the Chiefs, Browns and Steelers. Last week’s 26-23 overtime win at Pittsburgh was much needed after a two-game losing streak.
The Bengals will likely struggle to contain the Ravens explosive offense, ranking 31st overall in defensive DVOA. It’s hard to envision Cincy generating any type of pass pressure against Baltimore’s offensive, which has allowed just eight sacks and 20 quarterback hits on the season. The Bengals have also generated the second-fewest sacks (6) this season.
Even worse, the Bengals have allowed the second-most rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks, which is bad news against the speedy Jackson, who ranks first at the position with an average of 61.6 rushing yards per game.
This game lines up as a likely big win for the Ravens.
The Bengals will have opportunities against a pass defense that’s allowed 300-plus passing performances to Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes, but their limited defensive pressure will provide too many opportunities for the Ravens to keep this game within 12 points.