Patriots vs Bengals Odds, Pick, Prediction: Cincinnati Has Advantage
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Ja’Marr Chase (left), Joe Burrow (right).
- The Bengals are 3-point favorites against the Patriots on Christmas Eve.
- Cincinnati enters Week 16 as one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
- Phillip Kall breaks down how to bet this game below.
Patriots vs Bengals Odds
Through eight weeks, the Bengals and Patriots both sat at 4-4 and looked destined to compete for a Wild Card spot. Seven weeks later, the fortunes of these teams have greatly diverged.
The Bengals have not lost since then and are now just one game back of the AFC’s top seed. The Patriots, have not experienced the same success. New England is 1-3 in its last four and no longer controls its own destiny.
So, where will we find our Bengals vs Patriots pick?
Given their recent performance, a spread of a field goal seems low. Of course, the great equalizer in games like this is the weather, and much like most of the NFL, the cold front will have an impact. The anticipated weather is 20 degrees Fahrenheit with around 15 mph winds.
Patriots vs Bengals Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Patriots and Bengals match up statistically:
Patriots vs Bengals DVOA Breakdown
Finding balance on offense has been key to the Bengals' win streak. In their first eight games, just 23% of Cincinnati’s yards came on the ground. Over the last six, that is up to 33%. In games against the Chiefs and Browns, we saw the Bengals were happy to take what the defense gave them on the ground. Last year, this was not the case — especially in the playoffs.
Their revamped offensive line looks like it has figured out problems from earlier in the season. In pursuit of the AFC’s top spot, the Bengals now have a second dimension to their offense they can rely on if needed.
Bet Cincinnati vs. New England at FanDuel
In addition to the improvements up front, the threat of this passing game will make defenses shake in their boots. We have seen stretches where Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase were the only viable targets for the Bengals yet proved to be No. 1 options. When both are on the field, it is very much pick your poison.
The only concern for a passing attack this dynamic is the weather. However, if the Patriots get cute at any point and leave either Higgins or Chase one-on-one, they could get burned. In a game that should be low scoring, that kind of burst could make the difference.
Defensively, once Chidobe Awuzie was knocked out for the season, I thought Cincy's defense would be in trouble. Per PFF, the Bengals' starting outside corners — Eli Apple and Cam Taylor-Britt — are graded 97th or worse at the position.
Fortunately, the Bengals have schemed for their opponent's weaknesses. For example, against the Titans and Browns, they did not allow either team 75 yards rushing. Against the Chiefs, the Bengals invited the run to mitigate Patrick Mahomes and the passing attack. As long as they can continue to win through scheme, individual player deficiencies should not stand out.
Turning to the Patriots, it's time to admit making a defensive coordinator your offensive coordinator was a bad idea. The Patriots are 26th in yards per drive and 24th in points per drive.
There have even been moments where you can see Mac Jones' distaste with the way games have been called. You would likely feel the same if you had seven touchdowns and eight interceptions after a promising rookie year.
While the passing game struggles, the rushing game has shown glimmers of hope thanks to Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. When healthy, the Patriots have a tough one-two punch to stop as both average over 4.5 yards per carry.
But no matter how well they run the ball, it means nothing if they can’t convert high-leverage plays. The Patriots are 29th or worse on third down, fourth down and red-zone conversion rate. These are undoubtedly times when coaching matters the most. Until there is new leadership on offense, these struggles will continue.
The only good news about employing so many defensive coordinators is that you know your defense will play well. Right on queue, the Patriots are top six in both yards and points per drive allowed. They also rank fifth in turnovers forced. The defense has played very well, but it's all for naught with such a lackluster offense.
The Bengals have managed to play well in all facets of the game during their winning streak. They have had games where they simply ran the ball nonstop to victory. They have also had games where their run game was muted, but found plenty of production through the air.
Last week, they were able to get a comfortable victory against the Buccaneers despite trailing 17-0 early and the offense only producing 237 total yards. Last year, they were in the Super Bowl and this year they look even better.
The Patriots, on the other hand, look to be spiraling down the drain. They end their season against the Dolphins and Bills and likely need to win two of their last three games. New England's defense is up to the challenge; the same can't be said for its offense.
A common thought is a weather-influenced game benefits the defensive-minded team. In this case, that would appear to be New England, but there is one big problem with that view: Cincinnati isn't viewed as a defensive team because the offense is so good.
The Bengals are ninth in yards allowed per rush and have stifled some of the best run offenses in recent weeks. If the weather forces teams to run more, that plays into a strength of the Bengals.
We saw a weather-impacted game last year for the Patriots and they completely abandoned the pass. The conditions in this game will not be nearly as bad, but we have already seen New England abandon the pass in games with good weather.
New England will be even more one dimensional and Cincinnati has the talent outside to make short completions into big plays. A field goal is little to give up in this matchup and I think the Bengals are too complete of a team for the Patriots to keep up.
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