NFL Predictions Week 6: Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 10/16/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Cincinnati -7
Current Betting Line:  Cincinnati -7
Opening Total:  38
Current Total:  41
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Cincinnati Bengals have covered seven straight games against AFC opponents

Indianapolis travels to Cincinnati with an 0-5 straight-up record and 3-2 against-the-spread mark, fueling plenty of speculation if the franchise is now aiming for next year’s No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.  The Colts may be targeting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to replace Peyton Manning down the road, as he’s likely out for the year with a neck injury.  The team is coming off a disappointing 28-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs as one-point home favorites, but has also been out-gained in all five contests this year.  Indianapolis is 5-3 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus years, while the ‘over’ is 6-2 in that span.

The Colts will likely be led by quarterback Curtis Painter, who will be making his third career start, coming off a 277-yard performance.  He continues to target wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who led the team for a second consecutive week with five receptions for 125 yards and two scores.  Indianapolis has had some success in this series, especially when playing in Cincinnati, tallying an 8-2 record in the last eight trips here.

Cincinnati has completed consecutive fourth-quarter comebacks in pushing its record to 3-2 on the season, including a 30-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars as one-point road favorites.  The Bengals are 1-1 at home this year, but tallied a 23-20 win over the Buffalo Bills as three-point underdogs two weeks back.  Unlike this week’s opponent, the team has won the statistical battle in four of five contests.  Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS on the year, but just 2-12 ATS as a favorite in its last 14 opportunities.

The Bengals are led by rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who ranks 13th in the AFC with a 78.7 passer rating, but is starting to gain a reputation in bringing his team back in the late stages of games.  Cincinnati still has a top option in the backfield with running back Cedric Benson, who has rushed the ball 101 times, but is averaging just 4.0 yards per carry.  On the other side of the ball, the team’s defense has been outstanding, ranking first in the league in yards allowed per game.  The unit doesn’t seem to take a play off, sitting atop the league rankings in yards allowed per play as well.

Bettors will likely back the Bengals due to their 7-0 ATS mark versus AFC opponents, while the Colts are 1-5 ATS in the same situation.

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