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Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens: Gambling Preview and Pick (Sun Oct. 24)

Wondering who you should place your bets on it today's NFL games? Here is the gambling preview of the Bengals and Ravens.

Odds 

  • Bengals: +6.5 (-110) +225 ML 
  • Ravens: -6.5 (-110) -275 ML 
  • Over: 46.5 (-110) Under: 46.5 (-110) 

Cincinnati has themselves positioned to make a playoff push with a solid start to their season. In week seven, the 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals head to Baltimore to take on the 5-1 Ravens in a showdown for first place in the AFC North. The Ravens appear to be one of the league's elite teams, having won five consecutive games, including a 34-6 beatdown of the Los Angeles Chargers last week. The Bengals enter week seven fresh off of a 34-11 rout of the Detroit Lions in week six after nearly upsetting the Green Bay Packers in week five. The market projects Baltimore as nearly a touchdown favorite, but will Cincinnati be able to keep it tight in this clash of divisional foes? Let's find out. 

The Bengals offense vs. the Ravens defense 

Cincinnati has one of the more balanced attacks in football, passing on just 54.11 percent of its offensive plays. In week six, Joe Mixon had a superb game on the ground, carrying 18 times for 94 yards - good enough for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. However, Baltimore has been stingy against the run. The Ravens held Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler to just 3.5 and 1.2 yards per carry in weeks five and six. The Baltimore defense is also averaging just 82 yards allowed per game on the ground, which is the fourth-best mark in the league. With the Bengals' offense averaging just 3.9 yards per carry this season, it may have to look to open up the passing game more than usual in this matchup. 

Joe Burrow has put on an impressive display of quarterbacking over the last four weeks. During this stretch, Burrow has averaged 9.6 yards per pass attempt and has thrown for ten scores. Baltimore's defense made Justin Herbert look a lot less talented than last week, but the Ravens still rank in the league's bottom half in passing yards and passing yards per attempt allowed per game. Just two weeks ago, Carson Wentz tossed for over 400 yards while averaging 11.5 per attempt against Baltimore and throwing two touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Cincy will certainly look for standout rookie receiver Ja'Marr Chase to have a huge day against this Ravens' defense. Chase is averaging a whopping 20.5 yards per catch so far this season. Seven percent of Baltimore's completions allowed this season have come on receptions of 21 yards or more. That is one of the highest marks in the league in that category. The Bengals' offense also has 15 completed passes of over 25 yards this season, which is good enough to rank sixth in the league in that regard. 

Cincinnati's offensive line has allowed one of the highest percentages of sacks among NFL teams this season, but the unit ranks in the top half of the league in that regard in its last three games. Baltimore ranks in the middle of the league's pack in sack percentage this season but ranks in the league's top ten in that category over its last three contests. Burrow has done a solid job against pressure this season. When spending less than 2.5 seconds inside the pocket, he is completing 75.5% of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, and has thrown for six touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

The Ravens offense vs. the Bengals defense 

The Ravens have opened up the passing game this season but still place a huge emphasis on the run, as they have passed on just 52.5 percent of their offensive plays. To nobody's surprise, Lamar Jackson is Baltimore's leading rusher, having already racked up 392 yards on the ground through the first six games. The Cincinnati defense did a fine job of stopping dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields from beating them with his legs back in week two. While Fields is no Lamar Jackson, the Bengals could hold Fields to just 31 rushing yards on ten carries while also not allowing Fields to carry for more than ten yards on any play. This season, Cincinnati has been stout against the run, allowing just 3.9 yards per carry and 90.5 rushing yards per game. Both of those statistics are top-seven marks in the league. Cincinnati also ranks third in the NFL with a 33.3 percent Success Rate against the run. The Bengals held D'Andre Swift to just 24 yards on 13 carries last week and will look to carry over that success versus the run into week seven against Jackson and the Ravens, who rank second to last in football in explosive run play rate. 

Jackson appears to have improved as a passer this season but has only had one terrific game in that regard this year. Jackson currently has an interception percentage of 2.6, which is the highest of his career. He has turned the ball over in five out of six games in 2021 and threw two interceptions last week. The Bengals' defense has come away with five interceptions over the last five weeks and will look to capitalize on a Jackson mistake this Sunday. Cincinnati has been stellar against the pass this season. The unit ranks third in the league in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.1), second in the league in passing touchdowns allowed per game (1.0), and in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game - the Bengals have played two games that have gone deep into overtime. Baltimore ranks just 19th in the league in explosive pass play rate. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' pass-catchers will have their work cut out for them in this matchup. 

Gambling Pick 

Cincinnati may struggle to get the ground game rolling, but they should be able to get enough going through the air to keep this game tight. Burrow has been playing great football, the Ravens' proneness to allow explosive plays works heavily into Cincinnati's favor, especially with Chase, and Burrow has performed well when facing pressure this season. 

The Ravens' offense will have their hands full with a Bengals' defense that ranks fifth in Defensive Efficiency this year. This season, Cincy is solid against the run, has done well against mobile quarterbacks, and is even better against the pass.

Read More

Baltimore is a team that is very fortunate to be 5-1. They barely beat the winless Lions on Justin Tucker's prayer of a 66-yard field goal, trailed 25-9 to Indianapolis before coming back to win in overtime, and would have lost to Kansas City if it were not for a late Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble. 

There is a ton of value on Cincinnati in this divisional battle. This will arguably be the Baltimore offenses' toughest matchup of the season. Burrow and the Bengals should produce enough big plays to keep the game close and potentially even win it outright. Lamar Jackson is 9-13 against the spread as a home favorite. Back Cincinnati in this intriguing fight for first place in the AFC North. 6.5 is too high of a number for a divisional game between two good teams. 

Pick: Bengals +6.5 (-110)

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