Ravens vs. Bengals Betting Preview: Does Cincinnati Have Baltimore's Number?

Scott Gramling
Sports Illustrated

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (+1)

Thu. 9/13, 8:20 p.m. ET

Three things you need to know before betting on Ravens-Bengals:

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1. The Bengals host the Week 2 Thursday night game for a second straight season, although under far better circumstances than those in which they found themselves a season ago. It was the Texans that visited this time last year, with Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson making his first pro start against a Cincinnati team that four days earlier had lost 20-0 at home to Baltimore, the first time in 50 seasons of existence that the Bengals had failed to score in a home opener. When they again failed to reach the end zone in a 13-9 loss to Houston, Cincinnati became the first team since the 1930s to start a season without scoring a touchdown in back-to-back home games. The following day, Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was replaced by quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, and the offense turned things around by scoring 24 and then 31 points in back-to-back road games against Green Bay and then Cleveland. Cincinnati would eventually avenge the season-opening loss in the 2017 season finale, racking up 359 total yards and 31 points in a road upset to prevent the Ravens from reaching the playoffs. With the victory, the Bengals improved their record to 7-2 straight up and 6-3 ATS over the nine Baltimore-Cincinnati games played since (and including) the 2013 season finale.

2. It should've come as little surprise that the Ravens were able to dominate against as poor a quarterback as Buffalo's Nathan Peterman in a 47-3 home win this past Sunday. After all, there's not a defense in the league that has gained more experience against inept signal callers since the start of last season than Baltimore. In 2017, the Ravens D went up against E.J. Manuel, Matt Moore, Brett Hundley, Tom Savage, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer (twice). Sunday was the 11th time since John Harbaugh took over as Baltimore's head coach prior to the 2008 season that the Ravens had dominated to the tune of 34 or more minutes of possession time while racking up more than 23 first downs. In the game following the prior 10 instances, Baltimore has gone 3-7 straight up and 2-7-1 ATS. And the past 15 times the Ravens have come off a home blowout win by 21 points or more, they've gone 3-12 straight up and 4-8-3 ATS.

3. Cincinnati is 7-2 straight up and 8-1 against the spread over the past nine regular season games the team has played as a home underdog. The lone ATS loss among the nine was a four-point defeat as a three-point underdog to the Steelers in 2016. Two of those seven wins have been over the Ravens, during the 2014 and 2016 seasons. Baltimore, meanwhile, is 5-8-1 as a road favorite since the start of the 2013 season, which helps contribute to making Cincinnati a relatively attractive home underdog play.

Pick: Bengals +1

Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

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