49ers vs. Bengals Odds, Predictions, Picks: Can Cincinnati Cover As Home Underdog In NFL Week 14?
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Mixon and Joe Burrow.
- In games where the 49ers have at most one turnover, they are 5-1. In games with multiple turnovers, they're 1-5.
- That means the real question for this NFL Week 14 matchup is whether they can protect the ball against the Bengals.
- Our analyst makes his predictions and picks based on the latest 49ers-Bengals odds below.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Last week, the 49ers looked like they were in complete control against the Seahawks. They rushed out to a 17-7 lead, and the only mistake they made was on a fake punt. Complacency took over though, and the 49ers’ turnovers and struggles on third down opened the door enough for Seattle to fight back. In search of redemption, San Francisco now has to fly to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals.
Just like the 49ers, the Bengals’ Sunday was filled with ups and downs. They started their matchup against the Chargers completely lost, falling behind 24-0. However, they were able to fight back and scored the next 22 points. This game continued to be one of runs though, as Los Angeles would finish with the next 19 points and a padded 41-22 victory.
Both teams are in the middle of highly-congested races for wild-card spots. Let’s dig deeper to see who will be one step closer to that dream come Sunday evening.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
49ers vs. Bengals Injury Report
- RB Elijah Mitchell (concussion): Out
- RB Trenton Cannon (concussion): Out
- LB Dre Greenlaw (groin): Out
- DL Maurice Hurst (calf): Out
- WR Deebo Samuel (groin): Questionable
- CB Dontae Johnson (NIR): Questionable
- HB Chris Evans (ankle): Out
- DT Tyler Shelvin (illness): Out
- LB Logan Wilson (shoulder): Out
- LB Markus Bailey (neck): Out
- CB Chidobe Awuzie (foot): Questionable
- RB Joe Mixon (illness): Questionable
- WR Tee Higgins (ankle): Questionable
49ers vs. Bengals Matchup
|49ers Offense||DVOA Rank||Bengals Defense|
|49ers Defense||DVOA Rank||Bengals Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
49ers Must Avoid Turnovers
The story for the 49ers has been pretty simple. When they protect the ball, they win, and when they turn it over, they lose. In games where San Francisco has at most one turnover, it is 5-1. In games with multiple turnovers, it is 1-5.
The impact of turnovers should be no shock given the 49ers’ inclination to run and Kyle Shanahan’s creativity as a play-caller. When they can play in a neutral or positive game script, they can continue running effectively, setting up their passing schemes.
The flip side of those situations is when things have gotten ugly. In negative game scripts, San Francisco is forced to rely more heavily on its quarterback and receivers. Given the injuries to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk spending time in Shanahan’s dog house, it makes sense why this team struggles when forced to throw.
This week the offense will be shorthanded at running back (see injury section) and without Samuel. With the injuries stacking up in the backfield, San Francisco may be forced to turn to the passing game regardless of game flow.
Defensively, the 49ers have started to come to life recently. They have forced nine turnovers in their past four games, and excluding Travis Homer’s fake punt last week, they have allowed under 80 yards rushing in each game. They will need that stretch of good play to continue to take down the Bengals.
Bengals Have Lacked Consistency
In their past six games, the Bengals have been maddeningly inconsistent. They have blowout victories against the Raiders, Steelers and Ravens, but also devastating losses to the Chargers, Browns and Jets.
Part of the reason for their up-and-down play has been their lack of an offensive identity. While they have shown the ability to be productive in multiple ways, they have struggled to move the ball consistently. Per Pro-Football-Reference, the Bengals rank ninth in points per drive, 20th in yards per driven and 30th in plays per drive.
The good news for the offense though is as Ja’Marr Chase has cooled off, Tee Higgins has heated up. Higgins has gone for over 100 yards and a touchdown in each of the past two games. Chase, on the other hand, is averaging 43 yards receiving in the past four and has only one touchdown. It will be up to Zac Taylor to find a way to utilize both receivers regularly instead of them alternating good games.
Defensively, Cincinnati has had its gaffs, but for the most part, it has been a respectable unit. Unlike its offense, Cincinnati does a good job from drive to drive, ranking top 10 in points, yards and plays per drive allowed. Its key in this game will be limiting the 49ers’ already hampered rushing attack and finding turnovers. Fortunately, the Bengals are 11th against the run, allowing 4.1 yards per carry, and have forced eight turnovers in the past three games. If they can continue that trend they should give their offense enough opportunities to find their big plays.
49ers vs. Bengals Predictions, Picks
The line for this game has seen a lot of movement. It opened as Cincinnati -2 and has swung to its current spot of Bengals +1.5 at most books (check real-time NFL odds here).
If the 49ers were at full strength, the movement would make more sense to me, but injuries to their backfield are simply too much. At running back, the 49ers are left to Jeff Wilson to lead the way with Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon both out. In Wilson’s lone start he ran the ball 19 times for 50 yards against the Jags — not the best sign of hope.
More importantly, they are likely missing their best playmaker as Deebo Samuel has missed practice all week. Samuel has not only been their best receiver but also showed explosiveness when he lined up in the backfield in recent weeks. We saw this start to take place last week, and even George Kittle’s monstrous game was not enough to save San Francisco.
As for the Bengals offense, its deep array of receivers should give the 49ers problems. At corner, the 49ers have only one corner grading in the top 50, per PFF. They will still somehow find a way to matchup and slow down the Bengals’ dynamic duo in Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase on the outside. Plus, Tyler Boyd is still always a great third option in the middle of the field.
San Fran’s run-first mentality being crippled by injuries and the Bengals having a dearth of receiving options make this one easy for me. Take the home underdog.
Pick: Bengals +2
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