Ravens vs. Bengals Odds & Picks: Fade Baltimore Off Big Win?
Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
- The Baltimore Ravens travel to the Cincinnati Bengals off a big primetime win.
- Our experts analyze whether you should buy or fade Lamar Jackson and Co.
Ravens at Bengals Odds & Picks
- Odds: Ravens -10
- Over/Under: 44.5
- Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens head to winless Cincinnati after dominating the Patriots last Sunday. Does that mean Baltimore will decimate the hapless Bengals?
Our experts analyze how bad the Bengals defense is, how versatile the Ravens rushing attack has become and whether this double-digit spread is worth a bet.
Ravens-Bengals Injury Report
The Bengals will be without A.J. Green (ankle) indefinitely. They could also be without starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) since he has yet to practice, so it could be a long day for the Bengals on both sides of the ball.
Jackson missed practice on Thursday with an illness, but there doesn’t appear to be any worry about him missing the game. Offensive linemen Marshal Yanda (illness) and Ronnie Stanley (knee) both returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Ravens RBs vs. Bengals LBs
I could literally copy and paste my Ravens-Bengals analysis from Week 6, update a few numbers and add a few sentences, because these teams pretty much are now what they were then.
In Jackson’s 16 career starts, the Ravens have had a 1940s-esque 57.2% run rate. This season, they’re No. 1 with 1,639 yards rushing and No. 2 with a 54% rushing success rate.
As we saw in their dominant 37-20 victory over the Patriots, the Ravens don’t run just to keep opposing defenses honest; the Ravens run to win. And even though Jackson does plenty of damage on the ground, Baltimore’s stable of running backs is a complete and productive group.
Last year, the Bengals allowed the second-most production to opposing backfields with 170.5 yards and 1.25 touchdowns from scrimmage per game. This year, they have somehow gotten worse with 177 yards and 1.38 touchdowns allowed.
Almost every back with eight carries against them this year has gone off, and the Ravens have three backs in Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill who could legitimately see eight rushes.
Linebackers Nick Vigil and Preston Brown are especially to blame for the Bengals’ generosity to opposing backs. They have both been exposed on the ground and in coverage.
The Bengals are No. 29 in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA. They are at their worst in the intermediate range of the field, where they rank No. 32 with 1.51 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. 31 in pass defense DVOA against running backs, just as they were last year.
On the ground or through the air, they can’t stop anyone.
Vigil and Brown specifically have been among the worst defenders on the team, and that’s reflected in their Pro Football Focus grades.
- Nick Vigil: 50.4 overall, 47.6 run defense, 56.1 coverage
- Preston Brown: 44.5 overall, 41.7 run defense, 52.4 coverage
The Ravens backs should smash.
In Jackson’s two starts against the Bengals — in Week 11 last season, Week 6 this season — the Ravens have had 267 and 269 yards rushing. Some of those yards clearly went to Jackson, but if the Ravens were to get out to a big lead and give the ball almost exclusively to their backs for much of this game, there’s little doubt they’d have success.
Even if Jackson gets his usual cut of the ground market, there should still be enough rushing production plus receiving work for multiple Ravens backs to have big games. — Matthew Freedman
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Ravens -10
- Projected Total: 44.5
The Ravens upset the Patriots in a convincing primetime victory while the 0-8 Bengals will be turning to their rookie quarterback Ryan Finley this week. It’s pretty safe to assume sportsbooks will be flooded with Baltimore tickets, and so far it looks like 64% of spread tickets have come in on the Ravens (see live public betting data here).
This sets up a classic “trap” game in which the Ravens could overlook the Bengals to focus on their showdown with the 6-3 Texans the following week. If you’re the type of bettor who likes to root for the same team as the house, back the Bengals here. — Sean Koerner
PRO System Match
The Ravens have won four straight including an impressive 37-20 defeat of the previously undefeated Patriots. Baltimore has also made cashing tickets look easy at times this season with an average cover rate of 5.5 points per game.
A majority of spread tickets are on the Ravens as of writing despite being a double-digit road favorite. That is expected given the team’s impressive win over the Pats and Baltimore’s ability to cover for bettors.
However, against-the-spread records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet against teams that have covered the spread by a big margin.
Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 312-240-16 (56.5%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,149 following this strategy.
It’ll be difficult for most casual bettors to fade the Ravens after their thumping of the Patriots, but history suggests bettors should take the points with the Bengals. — John Ewing
PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.
Stuckey: Bengals +10
Last week was fun when my team (the Ravens) won and covered for us. But it’s money first, and we are going against Baltimore after that emotional win.
Yes, it’s a great situational spot for the Bengals, who are coming off a bye and seeking their first win of the season against a division rival. And with a new QB under center, I expect a spirited effort from the last winless team in the NFL.
The Bengals aren’t good by any stretch but they are better than what the market has been implying this season. Just take a look at some of their competitive losses (and covers) this season against winning teams:
- Lost by one at Seattle
- Lost by two at Buffalo
- Lost by six at Baltimore
Bottom line: This line simply came out too high. There’s a high risk of a flat spot for Baltimore after such an emotional win, which Cincinnati could take advantage of early against a potentially sleepy Ravens team.
As my colleague Matthew Freedman described, the Bengals’ horrid linebackers do scare me against Baltimore’s elite rushing attack (and tight ends), but anything 10 or above is too high to pass up on.
This is the second time Cincinnati will face the unique Baltimore offense, which can only work in the Bengals favor. We saw how much the Chargers benefited from seeing the Ravens earlier in the season in their playoff win last year.
Also, remember: Cincinnati was +11 at Baltimore just a few weeks ago and covered in Charm City.
Yes, we have a new QB under center, but I don’t think the drop-off is anywhere close to 6-7 points from what I saw of Finley in college. The Bengals will also have the benefit of two weeks to prepare and the element of surprise as the Ravens don’t really know what to expect with the rookie signal caller.
Lastly, the Ravens usually hold a significant special teams edge each week but Cincinnati’s special teams unit has been superb this season. Per Football Outsiders, the Bengals rank No. 1 in special teams, led by a dynamic kick return unit that the Ravens should know all about (Brandon Wilson returned the opening kick for a touchdown against Baltimore in their first meeting). I still give the nod to Baltimore’s special teams unit but this is not an overwhelming mismatch by any stretch as it has been in recent years.
Take the double digits with a desperate home dog off a bye in a divisional game against a rival that may come out sleep-walking for a series or two.
For you trend players: This isn’t a huge sample size, but it’s interesting to note that teams that beat the Patriots and then open as favorites of seven of more their next game are 0-8 ATS since 2003.