The Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) and Baltimore Ravens (6-3) are set to face off in an important AFC North divisional showdown Sunday inside M&T Bank Stadium
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati got a major taste of the AFC North in dropping its first meeting of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, falling 24-17 as 3.5-point home underdogs. The Bengals certainly weren’t overmatched and the locker room has plenty of confidence coming into another major test.
“We hadn’t lost in a while,” commented Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. “We had won five in a row. Now we’ll see how we react.”
The Bengals will likely be without first-year wide receiver A.J. Green, who suffered a knee injury in last week’s game, which will be a major loss due to leading all rookies in receptions and receiving yards.
Despite trailing in the all-time series, 16-14, the Bengals have won six of the last nine meetings. The teams split last season, with Cincinnati tallying a 15-10 home win as 2.5-point underdogs.
Sunday’s game will feature two of the top defenses in the NFL, as the Bengals rank fourth in allowing just 4.8 yards per play, while the Ravens manage to gain 4.5 yards a play.
Bettors will find that the Bengals are 7-2 ATS on the year and the ‘over’ is 7-1 in those contests. Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is 17-9 ATS as an underdog.
Baltimore had its two-game winning streak snapped with a disappointing 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks as seven-point road favorites, as the team returns home in a favorable position. The Ravens are 14-4 in games following a straight-up loss since the beginning of the 2008 campaign.
The Ravens have also been one of the more dominating home teams in league under Harbaugh’s direction, coming in with a 23-5 record when playing inside M&T Bank Stadium.
Quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t performed very will in losing three of his last four games versus the Bengals, throwing just two touchdowns and nine interceptions, finishing with a 48.2 passer rating in that span.
Turnovers have been a major problem in this series for Baltimore, as shown with Flacco’s miscues, with the team averaging three turnovers over the last eight meetings with Cincinnati.
Baltimore is likely to play this contest without the services of linebacker Ray Lewis, who is doubtful with a toe injury, but the unit still ranks third in both points and total yards allowed.
It’s important to note that the underdog has covered the last four games in this series, while the ‘under’ has cashed four consecutive times inside Sunday’s venue.
Recommendation: Cincinnati Bengals +7
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