Bengals vs. Ravens Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Take the Under in This Week 7 AFC North Clash?
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson.
- The total is 5-0 to the under over the Bengals' last five games while the Ravens are 4-0 to the under after scoring 30+ points.
- Our analyst breaks down the Bengals vs. Ravens odds even further to explain why there's value in betting this over/under in NFL Week 7.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Baltimore Ravens are searching for their sixth straight win on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
So far in 2021, Bengals fans have something to celebrate with four wins in six games. A victory against the Ravens would almost certainly announce the Bengals’ arrival as contenders — not only within the division, but in the AFC as a whole.
First, Cincinnati will have to shed some scar tissue from last season’s 38-3 defeat at the hands of the Ravens. Moreover, Baltimore has outscored Cincinnati by 95 points in the previous three meetings. Those defeats will likely be front and center on the minds of Cincinnati’s players.
That’s why I expect a carefully crafted game plan from the Bengals that creates inherent value on the under.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Bengals vs. Ravens Injury Report
- CB Jalen Davis (ankle): Questionable
- DT Tyler Shelvin (illness): Questionable
- RB Latavius Murray (ankle): Out
- WR Sammy Watkins (thigh): Out
- G/C Bradley Bozeman (back): Questionable
- OT Alejandro Villanueva (knee): Questionable
- CB Tavon Young (knee): Questionable
- LB Patrick Queen (thigh): Questionable
Bengals vs. Ravens Matchup
|Bengals Offense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Defense|
|Bengals Defense||DVOA Rank||Ravens Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
What Kind of Offense Will Bengals Show?
To assess the viability of this game staying under the total, it makes sense to begin our analysis by looking at the Bengals’ pace of play. We’ll find that Cincinnati’s averaging 58.8 plays per game, which puts them 27th in the NFL.
That means it’s no surprise that only seven teams run the ball more than the Bengals. However, Cincinnati is the only team within the group that doesn’t average at least four yards per carry. To me, that suggests that the Bengals’ commitment to running the football is more by design as opposed to taking advantage of any efficiencies they may have.
As far as how the Bengals might look to attack the Ravens, it’ll be interesting to see how persistent they remain with their running game. After all, Baltimore ranks fourth in allowing just 82 rushing yards per game.
The Ravens have already faced the Chiefs and the Chargers, two teams in the top half of the league in Rush DVOA, and neither ran for more than 62 yards. While the Bengals might opt for more of a passing game, the last time second-year quarterback Joe Burrow was up against the Ravens, he threw an interception, fumbled the ball twice, was sacked seven times and finished with a 4.2 Total QBR.
Cincinnati’s offense is all about balance. That’s done to keep Burrow upright so he can finish the season. The former Heisman Trophy winner averaged 40 pass attempts per game last year. This season, he’s at 29.
It would be a seismic shift for the Bengals to completely abandon what’s led them to a successful campaign so far. Thus, I foresee Cincinnati will look to shorten the game as best as possible and put the game more in the hands of their defense.
Jackson Continues Improving Under Center
Lamar Jackson’s evolution as a quarterback is in full swing in his fourth NFL season. If we analyze his development as a passer, we’ll see a player who has career highs in completion percentage (67.5%), intended air yards per pass attempt (9.9) and yards per game (281.0).
His advanced numbers also highlight an improvement in his accuracy, according to Pro Football Reference. Jackson’s percentage of bad throws has fallen to a career-best 15.6%, while his on-target throws have climbed to 80.1%.
Yet, as impressive as those numbers might be, he was somewhat pedestrian in the Ravens’ 34-6 victory over the Chargers in Week 6. His 167 passing yards were a career-low, and he also threw two interceptions in the game. The fact that Baltimore still won the game so convincingly should spell trouble for the rest of the league.
What’s interesting about the Ravens is that they can win ball games in so many different ways. However, winning a high-scoring game isn’t the Ravens’ modus operandi. You see, it’s much more about controlling the ball for them than anything else.
Baltimore ranks fifth in the league in time of possession (32:24). You can do that when you run the ball as well as they do. Note that the Ravens average 155.2 rushing yards per game and 4.9 yards per carry. Jackson is responsible for a big part of that success because of the matchup problems he creates, particularly on run-pass option plays. That deception helps Baltimore’s other rushers to benefit from his dual-threat ability.
NFL Picks: Bengals vs. Ravens
The injuries for Baltimore are certainly a concern coming into this game. Yet, they’ve managed to weather the storm all season. That’s all down to their coaching and player recruitment in the front office.
Of course, Jackson would much rather have Watkins and Murray available, but Baltimore can win games in various ways. The Ravens won’t mind rolling around in the mud for a divisional contest. That’s just one reason why I believe points could be at a premium in this matchup.
We also have some solid trends in support of a lower-scoring game:
- The total is 5-0 to the under in Cincinnati’s last five games.
- The total is 4-0 to the under when the Ravens are coming off a game where they scored 30+ points.
- Lastly, historically, Cincinnati has profiled as an under team according to our BetLabs database.
Since 2003, the under is +11.18 units in games involving the Bengals. That little nugget is more than enough to get me to the window, so I’ll look to grab the under at 46.5 before it dips any lower.
Pick: Under 46.5 | Bet to 45
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