Bengals vs Panthers Odds & Picks | NFL Week 9
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow.
- The Bengals are home favorites in Week 9 against the Panthers.
- The Carolina offense looks much improved with P.J. Walker under center.
- Phillip Kall previews the game and makes his betting pick below.
Bengals vs Panthers Odds
The Bengals looked like they had found their way after a 4-1 stretch from Weeks 3-7, but a blowout loss to the Browns has the Bengals at 4-4 but 0-3 in AFC North play. In the highly competitive AFC and with a tough schedule ahead, Cincinnati needs every win it can get.
Even as 7-point favorites at most sportsbooks, Sunday will not be easy for the defending AFC champions. After a disastrous few outings, the Panthers have found a way to be feisty and give opponents trouble. They took down the Buccaneers 21-3 and almost beat the Falcons, but two missed kicks prevented a second straight win. Funnily enough, Carolina would have been first in the NFC South had it won in Atlanta.
Let’s take a deep dive and see if Cincinnati can rebound after a loss or if Carolina can continue making life hard for its opponents.
Bengals vs Panthers Matchup Analysis
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Bengals vs Panthers DVOA Breakdown
Last week, the first of several weeks without star receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals offense struggled. Cincinnati had its lowest yardage total of the season and ran for a mere 36 yards. While Chase isn’t a ball carrier, his absence allows defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage more.
The biggest problem the Bengals faced last week was stopping the Browns' pass rush, specifically Myles Garrett. This has been a problem all year though as they have faced three elite pass rushers (T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons) and have lost all three games.
Fortunately, the Panthers don't have a player of that caliber. Brian Burns is good, but he ranks 32nd as an edge rusher, per Pro Football Focus. The Carolina pass rush also has the 11th lowest pressure rate in the NFL, according to Pro Football Reference.
Panthers +7 | Bengals -7
Cincinnati’s defense also suffered a big loss, with cornerback Chidobe Awuzie missing the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. Making matters worse, CB Mike Hilton is also out Sunday, which leaves Eli Apple and Cam Tayler-Britt at the position.
Apple is more famous for his trash talk on Twitter than his play on the field. Pro Football Focus has him ranked 103 out of 110 CBs this season. Taylor-Britt would be behind Apple if he had enough snaps to qualify yet.
As for the Panthers, their current resurgence has come right in line with the trade of Christian McCaffrey. In the last two weeks, Carolina has averaged 27.5 points per game and had its two biggest yardage totals of the season. The Panthers run game has never been better this season.
The biggest reason for their success has been quarterback P.J. Walker. In the last two weeks, Walker has nine big-time throws, per Pro Football Focus. This level of success is unsustainable for a full year, but who knows when he'll start to regress?
Defensively, whatever happened last week was not what we have come to know and expect from Carolina. The Panthers defense is 10th, according to Pro Football Focus, and ranks in the top 14 in both yards and points per drive allowed.
Carolina will have to slow down the Bengals' passing attack. Jaycee Horn will be available at cornerback, but the Panthers will still need to figure out how to slow the Bengals' weapons outside of Tee Higgins. Putting pressure on Burrow has been the formula for success for other teams this season.
With all the questions Cincinnati has to answer, such a large spread seems unusual. The offense needs to show it can create offense without its top receiving threat, while the defense needs to show it can cover someone on the backend without their top corner. Last week. Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones combined for nine catches 212 yards and a touchdown. D.J. Moore has had a resurgence as of late thanks to P.J. Walker’s improved play, and I don’t expect that to stop.
The typical rule is to not overreact to one week. Given the injury situation surrounding Cincinnati, though, I think it's fair to question what to expect. I do believe the Bengals will win, but trusting them to win by more than a touchdown seems extreme.
Back Carolina to continue being a thorn in the side of opponents, even if it doesn’t result in a win. BetMGM is the only book at +7.5, as of Saturday afternoon, so be sure to use our NFL odds page to shop around.