Cincinnati Bengals Stand Tall Versus Visiting Baltimore Ravens
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (16-8-1)
This Sunday will feature a great NFC North division matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens. Both as a fan of the NFL and an NFL bettor this will be a great opportunity to see some quality football and gain some quality NFL betting cash.
First off, the basic results for the Cincinnati Bengals will be that if they win this game they earn themselves a guaranteed wild card playoff position and a “payback victory” over their division rivals from last month. The basic result for the Baltimore Ravens is that a win earns them a guaranteed first round playoff bye, which means a ton of important rest (and injury recuperation time). Let’s go through some of the highlights and make sure our NFL betting cash is put to the best use.
To highlight a basic problem with the Baltimore Ravens in this matchup is that they have an inexplicable problem playing on the road. Their recent loss to the San Diego Chargers illustrates this point perfectly. On paper the Ravens should have walked into a struggling Chargers team and eaten them alive. Instead, they allowed Philip Rivers to pass for over 270 yards, 1 TD and created zero INT’s from a QB that has become known as a turnover machine recently. The Ravens do have a successful recent series of games with wins over the Browns (at home 20-14), their loss to the Chargers (on the road 14-34) and a win over the Colts (24-10). Ravens QB Joe Flacco has had a decent year with a 56.7 & completion rate, with 19 TD’s and 12 INT’s for an overall QB rating of 79.7 to date. Very good, but hardly spectacular. Looking at the Ravens on average this season their offense has lagged behind their defence but still done reasonably well. Overall to date they rank 15th in total yards, 18th in passing yards, 14th in rushing yards and 13th in points scored. Their defence has arguably carried the burden for the team (which isn’t really a criticism from me since I love defensive teams) is currently ranked 3rd in total yards allowed, 4th in passing yards allowed, 2nd in rushing yards allowed and 3rd in points allowed. The Ravens have some key injuries to deal with this game as they currently list DT Art Jones, S Bernard Pollard, RB Anthony Allen, K Billy Cundiff, LB Dannell Ellerbe, CB Cary Williams and G Marshall Yanda as questionable for this matchup.
On the flip side of the ball the Cincinnati Bengals have a lot going for them but have put themselves in a bad spot as they struggle to make the playoffs. I believe this will be a source of motivation for them as they play at home against a Ravens team that has had trouble on the road this season. The Bengals are currently 9-6 on the season (with 4-3 at home). QB Andy Dalton has had some challenges this season but is in some good company for his rookie season. Dalton is currently throwing at a 58.9 % completion rate, with 20 TD’s and 13 INT’s for the season with an overall QB rating of 81.8 to date. The last time these two teams met (in Baltimore) the Bengals played tough and down to the last minute, losing by a final score of 24-31 against the Ravens. I think the Cincinnati squad will be looking for a little bit of revenge on this point when Sunday rolls around. As far as the Bengals last few games are concerned they have redeemed themselves with good wins over ARZ (at home 23-16), STL (on the road 20-13) and a tough loss to HOU (at home 19-20). Looking at the Bengals overall offensively they currently rank 24th in total yards gained, 20th in passing yards gained, 18th in rushing yards gained and 18th in total points scored. Certainly, the defence is where the Bengals tend to shine as they currently rank 6th in total yards per game, 12th in passing yards, 5th in rushing yards and 9th in points allowed per game. The Bengals have a reasonably healthy roster as they currently list RB Brian Leonard, S Taylor Mays, S Chris Crocker, LB Dontay Moch and G Clint Boling as questionable for this weekend.
Put simply, although the Ravens have stats that overall add up as slightly above the Bengals I have trouble thinking they are going to be the winners on the road Sunday. The Bengals are hungry for a playoff spot and are playing at home in front of a crowd that expects hard football. When we add up all the factors I believe the Cincinnati Bengals are the more likely choice for our NFL wagers.
Prediction: Take the Cincinnati Bengals and take the 2.5 points this weekend over the visiting Baltimore Ravens. (5Dimes.com)
(A side note on the wager lines-I personally think the Bengals win outright but this will be a hard fought game so I would recommend taking the points depending on the return line you can get).