Bengals are big favorites over Ravens in Week 18 season finale

The Cincinnati Bengals are back to being favorites, this time in a major way ahead of Sunday’s season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

According to the lines at Tipico Sportsbook, the Bengals currently sit as 8.5-point favorites at home, numbers that have steadily grown in favor of the Bengals as the week continued.

There are a number of reasons for the big gap that kept growing. One is the Ravens won’t have star quarterback Lamar Jackson and backup Tyler Huntley is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury.

Another is the happenings around the postponed Bills-Bengals game. The NFL declared it a no-contest, then angered the Bengals organization and head coach Zac Taylor by altering the rulebook.

Under the new playoff plan, if the Bengals lose on Sunday and the playoff bracket makes the Bengals and Ravens play again in the opening round, a coin toss would decide which team gets to host the playoff game. That would mean that despite the Bengals being AFC North champions, they wouldn’t be guaranteed home-field advantage (but will get a harder schedule next year and possibly a worse draft pick as division champs).

The solution, of course, is to just win and make the rule change irrelevant. The Bengals lost this matchup in Week 5 but the Ravens were much healthier and the Bengals were starting the year slow for a variety of reasons.

As of late, the Bengals have won seven in a row before the no-contest and looked good Monday night in a brief showing against one of the league’s best teams.

There’s a reason for the huge line and the bigger question isn’t whether to take the Bengals so much as it is whether to go over the big spread. With a now-angry locker room taking the field Sunday, taking the Bengals by more than the big spread might just be the play.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire