NFL Playoff Picks: San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 1/4/14, 1:05 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Cincinnati -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Cincinnati -7
Opening Total:  46.5
Current Total:  46.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Cincinnati Bengals are 7-1-1 ATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 7 points the last two-plus seasons
The Cincinnati Bengals are 7-1-1 ATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 7 points the last two-plus seasons

San Diego finished the season with four consecutive wins, including a 27-24 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs as 15.5-point home favorites in Week 17 of the regular season, while going OVER the betting total of 45.  The Chargers have qualified for the playoffs for the 18th time in 54 seasons, which is important to consider when looking over the pro football odds page.  Quarterback Philip Rivers enjoyed a bounce back year, as his passer rating was nearly 10 points higher than this career rating this season.  San Diego is 3-6 SU and 4-4-1 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 7-2 in that situation.

The Chargers have split six games against the Bengals with Rivers under center, as he’s completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 1,431 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions.  San Diego has the luxury of being more balanced this year, with running back Ryan Mathews gaining a career-high 1,225 yards—the eighth-best single-season rushing total in franchise history.  He closed the regular season with a career-high 144 yards on 24 carries.

Cincinnati has won and covered the number in five of its last six games, including a 34-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens as 6.5-point home favorites Sunday, while going OVER the betting total in four consecutive contests.  The Bengals are coming off their second 8-0 SU home finish in franchise history, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL betting picks.  Offensively, the team is averaging 26.9 points and gaining 368.4 yards per game—ranking sixth and 10th respectively in the NFL in those categories.  Cincinnati is 9-0 SU and 7-1-1 ATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 7 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Bengals are hoping that Andy Dalton takes the next step in the playoffs, as he’s only the fifth starting quarterback in league history to lead a team to the playoffs in his first three seasons.  Cincinnati has a dual threat behind him at running back, with Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis both having at least 170 rushes during the regular season.

Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the OVER is 7-2-2 in the last 11 meetings between these two teams.

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