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Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – Top NFL Value Picks – 9/13/2018

Ravens Vs Bengals

  • When: Thursday, September 13, 2018
  • Where: Paul Brown Staduim, Cincinnati, Ohio

(Betting odds from Bovada.lv)

TeamPoint SpreadMoneylineTotal (over-under)
Baltimore Ravens-111-115Ov 44 -112
Cincinnati Bengals-109-105Un 44 -108

Week 1 Recap

Hey, that Week 1 didn’t go so bad! After starting the season with a devastating Thursday night game which saw me incorrectly pick both the Falcons +2.5 and Over 45, I was feeling fairly depressed. I’ve been betting on football for as long as I’ve been legal, but I never had to put it into print before. Getting shut out on the first night had me screaming things at Steve Sarkisian that I’ll never admit to publicly.

Anyway, after that first little stumble, things picked up nicely! I put up a total of $975 across eight picks, hit on 62% of them, and received a $1,115 payout, earning $140.

The biggest misstep of the week was going with the Lions and betting them moneyline for $275. If I didn’t get so aggressive there and just played the spread, this week’s profits would be looking sweet! Who knew Sam Darnold would be the second coming of young Tony Romo out there?! Won’t be making that mistake again.

The game that really made my week was the Sunday night showdown between the Bears and Green Bay. In my prediction, I wrote that the Packers would get an early lead, but the Bears would cover the +7.5 spread late. The game script kind of played out in reverse, but I nailed the Bears +7.5, the under, and a parlay with both picks to clean up on that one.

This week we’ve got the Baltimore Ravens visiting their division rivals the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincy on short rest. Both of these squads put up major points in their first contests of the year, with both teams taking home the “W.” Now, we have to figure out how much of what we saw is the real deal, and how much was a product of weaker competition.

Are the Ravens this good or was Buffalo just horrible?

So, the problem with a 47-3 beatdown in Week 1 is that it’s hard to know what lessons you should really take from the contest. The poor Bills had just about everything go as wrong as it possibly could from the start, especially Nathan Peterman.

Throwing two interceptions, completing less than 30% of his passes, and finishing with a QB rating of 0.0, Peterman put the Bills in an impossible hole to dig out which led to the score snowballing out of control.

If there’s one aspect of the Ravens team that I feel confident in going forward, it’s their defense. They obviously won’t always hold opponents to only 3 points, but they have tons of talent up front on their d-line. In the secondary, Brandon Carr is the real deal, and with a veteran like Weddle playing safety, I expect this unit to be one of the top three groups in the AFC.

Baltimore is definitely not a team you can let build a lead, because once they do, they’re designed to play from ahead. They don’t have a real number-one wide receiver, and their running backs have left much to be desired thus far, but they have enough weapons and options to give you trouble, and they don’t need many scores to win a game.

Flacco will most likely be his inconsistent self, but I suspect he’ll perform well against the Bengals. Having Yanda back in that offensive line will be a massive boost to “Elite” Joe’s stats. He’s apparently back to his old self, as the right guard never allowed a single quarterback pressure in game one.

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Cincinnati Bengals: Home Underdogs on a Short Week

The Bengals looked encouraging in Week 1 against the Andrew Luck-led Colts. Joe Mixon appears to have grown into his new role as the primary weapon in their offense, and he was utilized heavily in both the passing and rushing game.

Cincinnati’s defense got after Luck all game, taking advantage of an already porous offensive line that was further hampered by injuries. Still, the Colts were able to move the ball and put points on the board. Using their two tight ends, Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron, Indianapolis abused Bengals’ safety Clayton Fejedelem throughout the game. Something Cincy won’t be able to bounce back from against their division rivals from Baltimore.

Andy Dalton appears to have another weapon across from AJ Green in John Ross. After a rough rookie year, he went up and grabbed a fade route for his first NFL touchdown. If they could get Ross to play up to his potential, that would stretch defenses and allow Mixon and Green to work in additional space. Tyler Eifert looked healthy in his return as well, rounding out an offense that has the potential to be reasonably potent all year.

My Week 2 Thursday Night Best Bets

The Ravens’ outright massacre of the Buffalo Bills makes them tougher to handicap, but not impossible. Coming into the season, their defense was expected to be one of the top groups in the league, and I believe that will be true all season. They’re stout on the line, have a couple of highly-skilled linebackers, and look downright scary in the secondary.

Cincinnati looked mighty formative against the Colts, but their defense is atrocious, and the game still came down to a final fourth-quarter drive. While all of Baltimore’s primary starters were getting rest all throughout the second half, the Bengals were in a dogfight. This is going to be a massive deal considering they’re working with a short week.

Coach Harbaugh has shown a talent for getting Baltimore up for games on short notice. His squads have won the last seven Thursday night games that followed a win the prior Sunday. I expect the fresh legs will be the most significant factor in this one, and the Bengals will have a much harder time getting Mixon into space or through open running lanes against this B-more front.

While Cincy’s pass rush was enough to disrupt the Indianapolis offense, this offensive line they’re facing in Week 2 is an entirely different story. They were giving Flacco all day to throw. Geno Adkins and Carlos Dunlap will assuredly put more pressure on the Ravens’ QB than the Bills did, but not enough to win the game.

I see this one being a defensive battle between two divisional rivals coming off four days’ rest. Baltimore gave themselves quite the advantage by getting way ahead early and giving their key players the majority of the second half off, which I see as the key to this game. I hate taking a road favorite, but all things considered, I’m seeing the Ravens cover this easily.

The Picks:
Baltimore Ravens –1
Staking $200 at –110 odds to win $181.80
Under 44 Total Points
Staking $100 at –108 odds to win $92.60

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