Cardinals vs. Bengals Betting Odds & Picks: Who Will Get Their 1st Win?

Cardinals vs. Bengals Betting Odds & Picks: Who Will Get Their 1st Win? article feature image

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyler Murray.

  • It's the battle of beatens as the Cardinals and Bengals meet, both in search of their first win of 2019.
  • Our staff breaks down this spread, analyzes the matchup and makes a pick on the over/under.

Cardinals at Bengals Betting Odds & Picks

  • Bengals Spread: -3
  • Cardinals Spread: +3
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

The battle of the beatens.

Both squads are looking for their first win of the season amidst a ton of early-season injuries. So where’s the value in this game?

Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, an injury report, mismatches to note, betting picks and more.

Cardinals-Bengals Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bengals

If the Cardinals are trying to win a game that involves having the most injured players, they’re doing a fantastic job. Seven guys on their roster missed practice on Thursday. Most notably, Damiere Byrd (hamstring) and Christian Kirk (ankle) haven’t practiced all week and aren’t expected to play. As of writing, they have just four healthy receivers on their roster.

The Bengals will also be thin at receiver as A.J. Green (ankle) continues to be out, and they placed John Ross (shoulder) on injured reserve. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Cardinals Running Backs vs. Bengals Linebackers

The Bengals have been straight-up brutalized by opposing backfields, and although the defensive line is partially at fault, the bulk of the blame goes to linebackers Nick Vigil and Preston Brown, who have both been exposed on the ground and in coverage.

The Bengals have allowed more production to running backs than any other team has this season.

  • Rushing: 101 carries, 485 yards, five touchdowns
  • Receiving: 36 targets, 31 receptions, 291 yards, three touchdowns

The Bengals are fortunate to be only No. 22 in Football Outsiders’ run-defense DVOA with a -3.8% mark. They’re at their worst in the intermediate range of the field, where they rank No. 31 with 1.53 second-level yards allowed per run: Once opposing backs get 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, the Bengals linebackers have been incapable of limiting yardage.

To make matters worse, the Bengals are No. 30 against running backs with a 48.6% 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.

One of their main problems is that they have a league-worst Pro Football Focus tackling grade of 44.0. Even when Bengals defenders get close to ball-carriers, they struggle to bring them down.

Vigil and Brown specifically have been among the worst defenders on the team, and that’s reflected in their PFF grades.

  • Vigil: 41.8 overall, 51.5 run defense, 39.6 coverage
  • Brown: 49.6 overall, 49.8 run defense, 54.0 coverage
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Johnson

David Johnson is no longer the 2016 All-Pro compiler who had an NFL-high 373 touches, 2,118 yards and 20 touchdowns. But Johnson has still been productive this year, especially as a receiver.

  • Targets: 28 (2nd)
  • Receiving Yards: 182 (5th)
  • Air Yards: 51 (7th)
  • Yards After Catch: 144 (8th)

Johnson’s production hasn’t been the most aesthetically pleasing, especially on the ground, but he still has 355 yards and three touchdowns through three games.

He gets 18.8 opportunities per game, sees 80.9% of the offensive snaps, has 100% of the team’s backfield goal-line work and plays in a fast-paced system that leads the league with 23.9 seconds per play.

Johnson is going to get his touches, and given the linebackers he’s facing, he could have a big game.

And with Kirk and Byrd doubtful to play, No. 2 running back Chase Edmonds might see more action than usual if the Cardinals choose to give Johnson a few more snaps in the slot.

Vigil and Brown are so bad that they might just allow two Cardinals backs to have big days — just as they did last week with James Conner and Jaylen Samuel. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bengals -3.5
  • Projected Total: 48.5

One of these teams will come away with their first win of the season. Both are coached by young, up-and-coming offensive-minded coaches, so a win could boost that team’s confidence to give them some momentum over the next few games. Still, I’d rather avoid choosing a side entirely.

The over is the way I’d lean on the total, as both offenses are competent enough to take advantage of poor defenses (and both of these defenses are indeed that). However, the line drop of a point makes some sense with Ross placed on IR and Kirk a game-time decision. If Kirk also ends up out, it should impact the total slightly. While neither receiver would be considered valuable enough to impact the spread, both teams missing their No. 2 WR might lead each to lean toward the run more, creating value toward the under.

Still, this is a pass for me. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Collin Wilson: Over 46.5

I’m gonna differ from Sean here.

The Cardinals and Bengals could not be better matched from a yards-per-play perspective. Cincinnati and Arizona are at 4.8 and 4.9 in offensive yards per play, respectively. Defensively, those numbers are 6.3 and 6.2, giving the Bengals a -1.5 differential and the Cardinals -1.3. Those are some of the worst numbers in the league but it’s an even match for these two winless teams.

There’s reason to think there could be some scoring in this game. The Cardinals rank fifth in rushing offense, per Football Outsiders. The Bengals rank 27th in rush defense, allowing 143 yards per game.

A bigger issue for the Cincinnati defense is finishing plays in space. Per PFF, the Bengals are last in the league in defensive tackling. Arizona has had plenty of busted plays, ranking second-to-last in run blocking but second in PFF’s grade for rushing.

If there’s a game for the Bengals to get right offensively, it might be against the Cardinals’ back-seven.

Arizona has yet to intercept a pass this season and has allowed 271 yards per game and 10 total touchdowns. If Andy Dalton is going to go off, it’ll be against a Cardinals defense has been a springboard for the Niners, Steelers and Bills passing attack.

The loss of Ross, along with a still injured Green, will limit Dalton’s weapons, but the suspension of Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson has left the middle of the field open all season long.

Expect Arizona to capitalize on the ground in the rushing game and busted plays with Kyler Murray. Meanwhile, the Bengals passing attack will look to get healthy against a defense that has not intercepted a pass all season.

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