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Bengals vs. Ravens: Must-win for Baltimore?
0:50 | NFL
Bengals vs. Ravens: Must-win for Baltimore?
Thursday September 24th, 2015

Not many people would have predicted that Baltimore would be winless through its first two games of the season, but that’s precisely where it stands heading into a pivotal Week 3 matchup against the against the Bengals. The Ravens are betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Baltimore hasn't looked good through the first two weeks of the season, but there’s reason for optimism this week. The Ravens' Week 2 loss in Oakland can be partly attributed to a brutal schedule that saw them have to fly out west after their Week 1 opener in Denver. It’s rare to see an East Coast team play back-to-back games outside of their time zone, and the NFL’s schedule-makers certainly didn’t do the Ravens any favors in the early going.

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The Ravens will match up against the Bengals this week at M&T Bank Stadium, where they’ve owned an extreme home-field advantage during Joe Flacco’s reign at quarterback. With Flacco under center, the Ravens have gone 45-11 straight up at home, as opposed to just 27-31 on the road. Flacco’s 7.55 yards per attempt at home is solid, especially when compared to his 5.87 on the road.

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While Flacco should enjoy some success at home, the same cannot be said for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton this week. Though he's had a successful start to the season, and though the Bengals are 2-0, Dalton has struggled immensely against the division rival Ravens in his career, posting an awful 7-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio in eight career starts against the Ravens.

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Baltimore’s defense isn’t the same with Terrell Suggs sidelined with an Achilles injury, but there’s still enough talent on the defense to give Dalton fits. Motivation will also be a major factor here, as Baltimore is coming off an embarrassing defensive performance against the Raiders.

The Ravens are 16-7-1 against the spread in their last 24 games at home against the Bengals according to the OddsShark NFL Database, and they’re 6-1 straight up in their last seven games at home, dating back to last season.

With the Ravens being offered as a 3-point betting favorite at the sportsbooks, Baltimore is worth a play, as it seems to be undervalued following its dismal start.

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