Bengals vs Ravens Odds & Prediction | Sunday Night Football
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson.
- The Ravens are favorites on Sunday Night Football against the Bengals.
- The AFC North rivals enter this game tied for first place at 2-2.
- Stuckey previews the game and makes his betting pick below.
Bengals vs. Ravens Odds
|Moneyline||+136 / -162|
|Time||Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel and as of Sunday at 6:45 p.m. ET.|
Relax, we got a good one on Sunday night at the Bank, which will feel even better after everyone had to suffer through Colts vs. Broncos on Thursday. Cherish every second of this one, especially since we have Commanders–Bears this upcoming Thursday.
Not only should this be a fun watch between two legit AFC contenders, there’s a lot on the line with the winner moving into first place in the AFC North, while the loser drops to below .500.
The Ravens are for revenge after getting embarrassed by the Bengals in both regular season matchups in 2021. In a pair of 20-plus-point blowouts, Joe Burrow threw for a combined 941 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception, leading Cincinnati to 41-point outbursts in each game.
Should we expect more of the same in this matchup? If not, what has changed? Let’s take a closer look.
Bengals vs. Ravens Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Bengals and Ravens match up statistically:
Bengals vs. Ravens DVOA Breakdown
The Bengals offense is currently broken for a variety of reasons.
Joe Burrow has had an inconsistent start to his 2022 campaign behind a brand new offensive line that continues to try to build chemistry. That unit currently ranks in the bottom five in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate. Not an ideal combination, to say the least.
And maybe most importantly, play calling continues to put the offense behind the chains with too many early down runs, which we saw far too often in the first half of last season before Zac Taylor finally unleashed Burrow. For the season, Cincinnati ranks last in EPA per play on early downs. There’s simply no excuse for that with so much talent on the field.
In contrast, the Ravens offense ranks second on early downs, which are much more predictive of future success.
Lamar Jackson has played as well as he ever has and would be the clear-cut MVP if the season ended today. He has even shredded the blitz, which gave him all kinds of issues in 2021. His speed and Baltimore’s tight ends are a nightmare matchup for Cincinnati’s linebackers.
Additionally, Baltimore’s offense should receive a boost with the likely return of former All Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Not having to potentially help a rookie with an extra blocker should obviously open things up a bit more. Plus, running back J.K. Dobbins continues to get up to speed in his return from injury.
Despite having the same record, these teams have performed at drastically different levels over their first four games. Without two late meltdowns against the Dolphins and Bills, the Ravens would be sitting at a perfect 4-0 as the lone undefeated team in the AFC.
Meanwhile, the Bengals lost to Cooper Rush and Mitch Trubisky, two quarterbacks who will likely be backups in a few weeks. And their two wins came against a pair of backups in Joe Flacco and Teddy Bridgewater (after Tua Tagovailoa left with an injury).
I believe the market has an artificially high view of the Bengals, who got very fortunate during a late run to the Super Bowl. This team still has issues that it needs to iron out. I’m a Burrow buyer and think they’ll be fine, but it’s not a well-oiled machine at the moment.
Conversely, I feel the Ravens are being penalized too much for a pair of blown leads in games where they also couldn’t punch it in from the one-yard line and had a few questionable calls go against them. For an unbiased view of where these teams stand, look no further than DVOA, which has the Ravens at third and Bengals at 16th. That’s similar to my current Power Ratings.
I see value at -3 or better here for the Ravens at home in a spot they’ve had circled for over a year. I’m sure we will see quite a few wrinkles on both sides of the ball in such a high leverage spot for the division.
Plus, Baltimore’s defense will likely not blitz as much as they did last year with the blitz-loving Wink Martindale as defensive coordinator. Burrow picks apart the blitz as well as any quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes. Burrow also benefited from a decimated Ravens secondary in both meetings last year, although Marcus Peters may miss a third straight game (more on that in a bit).
I also give the nod to Baltimore in the coaching and special teams departments.
Here’s another way to play this game.
If we assume the Bengals come out with more inefficient playcalling in the first half with continued offensive line struggles, it’s reasonable to assume the Ravens will build a lead against a Cincy offense that ranks 23rd in EPA per play in the first half.
However, with the potential absence of Peters (quad; questionable), that could spell trouble for a shorthanded Ravens secondary (already without nickel Kyle Fuller for the year) that would be tasked with containing an offense in comeback mode. In that scenario, Taylor would be forced to unleash Burrow, resulting in much more efficient playcalling. Marlon Humphrey can only cover one of Tee Higgins or Ja’Marr Chase.
So, what does that mean? Well, I would look Ravens 1H, which I’ll likely add myself. Keep in mind Jackson is the most profitable 1H QB ATS by a wide margin over the past 20 seasons. His 1H ATS numbers almost look fake at 36-15-2 ATS (70.6%).
The same goes for John Harbaugh since arriving in Charm City. Harbaugh is the most profitable coach in the 1H over the past 20 years at 130-91-8 (58.8%).
Why would this be the case for both? My belief is Baltimore usually comes in with a solid game plan and it takes teams time to adjust to the speed of Jackson.
Additionally, that could set up a very nice play on the Bengals live (or for the 2H) if they get down early, assuming Peters can’t go and Higgins looks 100% healthy.