Ravens vs. Bengals Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Cincinnati is favored at home in this game, as the Bengals are getting odds of -3 points against the Ravens. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 41.5 points. Cincinnati has won six of the last seven in this series, going 5-2 against the spread in the process. Today’s game takes place from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio and will air live on CBS.
Baltimore is coming off an 8-8 record in 2016 in which it missed the playoffs and failed to have a winning record for the third time in four years under John Harbaugh. The Ravens were also just 7-9 against the spread in 2016. Baltimore gave up just 20 points per game, but the offense produced just 21.4 points per game. Joe Flacco will play today despite dealing with a back injury for most of training camp and the preseason. He threw for 4,317 yards and 20 touchdowns last season to go with 15 interceptions. The team added Jeremy Maclin in the offseason in hopes to have another weapon in the pass game, but the run game needs to establish a steady source. Terrence West was the leading rusher in 2016, but Danny Woodhead joins the group after missing most of last year with an injury. Woodhead has been dealing with a hamstring injury during the preseason, but should also be a go today.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a disappointing 2016 season that saw them go 6-9-1 overall and 7-9 against the spread. It was the first time the Bengals didn’t make the playoffs since 2010. Like the Ravens, the Bengals were sound on defense, allowing only 19.6 points per game, but the offense put up just 20.3 per contest. Cincinnati battled injuries all last season with A.J. Green missing six games and Tyler Eifert missing eight games. Andy Dalton, who threw just 18 touchdowns passes in 2016, could see a nice bounce back season this year if his weapons remain healthy like they are now. The Bengals added Joe Mixon in the NFL Draft in hopes of giving the run game an added dimension. The rookie will compete with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard for carries. Both Hill and Bernard are dealing with injuries. Bernard is questionable with a knee injury while Hill is probable despite an ankle issue. On defense, Cincinnati will be without Vontaze Burfict, who is dealing with a three-game suspension for egregious hit. Adam Jones is also suspended for this game due to a violation of the NFL’s conduct policy.
The Bengals have some pieces missing on defense, but I don’t think that will keep them from having success against Baltimore’s offense. The Ravens haven’t been able to gel much due to the back issues with Flacco. It wasn’t even clear if he’d be ready to go for Week 1 until this week. Cincinnati should be clicking on offense with all its main pieces in the pass game healthy. The Ravens are always a good defense, but Cincinnati should have the ability to beat them in the air. The Bengals have owned this series as of late and I expect another cover and win today.
NFL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: CINCINNATI BENGALS -3