Ravens vs. Bengals Betting Preview



2010-09-17

Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT

Sportsbook.com Line: Baltimore -2.5, Total: 40

In NFL Week 1, home dogs covered the point spread in five of the eight games. Additionally, all five of the covers were also outright victories. Can the Bengals keep this tend going?

Two top-notch defenses lock horns in this AFC North clash on Sunday. Both teams allowed just 301 yards per game last year, with the Ravens ranking third in the NFL and the Bengals right behind them in the fourth slot. Baltimore was said to have major holes to fill in its secondary with safety Ed Reed out six weeks and CB Domonique Foxworth out for the season with a torn ACL. But the Ravens defense was dominant Monday night in holding the Jets to 176 yards, including just 60 through the air. The imminent returns of talented CB Lardarius Webb and massive rookie DT Terrence Cody will make this defense even more formidable.

The offense will need to step up its game though. RB Ray Rice was held to 43 yards on 21 carries against an excellent Jets defense, but WR Anquan Boldin had a huge Ravens debut with seven catches for 110 yards. Although heís nursing a thigh injury, Boldin is expected to play Sunday.

The Bengals defensive unit did not play as poorly as the 38 points allowed to New England would indicate, considering the Patriots scored on a kick return and interception return. But Cincy still allowed Tom Brady to throw for 258 passing yards and three scores. Despite the defensive woes, QB Carson Palmer was able to incorporate a slew of players into the offensive act, most notably Chad Ochocinco (12 rec, 159 yds, TD). The Bengals also received nice performances from 2nd-year pro Bernard Scott, rookie WR Jordan Shipley (5 rec, 82 yds) and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham (six catches, TD). Scott gained 50 yards on just nine touches (six rushes, three catches) and could be a big factor on Sunday if RB Cedric Benson (15 rush, 43 yds, lost fumble) isnít fully healed from his shoulder injury. Benson ran wild on the Ravens last season with 237 yards on 61 carries in the two contests.

The Bengals are 7-3 (SU and ATS) against the Ravens since 2005, including two physical wins in 2009. Cincy won 17-14 in Baltimore, then completed the sweep with a 17-7 home victory.

Despite that, a key betting trend found at Sportsbook.com states that there is better value in betting against the Bengals:

Play Against - Home teams where the line is +3 to -3 (CINCINNATI) - off a road loss, in the first month of the season, after closing out last season with 2 or more straight losses.

(41-10 since 1983.) (80.4%, +30 units. Rating = 4*).

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