NFL Week Three Betting Picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, September 27, 2015, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, Maryland
Opening Line: Baltimore -2 1/2
Current Line: Baltimore -2 1/2
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ravens -145 / Bengals +125
Current Money Line: Ravens -140 / Bengals +120

The Ravens look to avoid an 0-3 start as the host the 2-0 Bengals Sunday.
The Ravens look to avoid an 0-3 start as the host the 2-0 Bengals Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens are desperate to avoid an 0-3 start as they host the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. Only five times in NFL history has a team started 0-3 and made the playoffs. It doesn’t get any easier as the Ravens play three straight division games starting with the 2-0 Bengals.

Since relocating from Cleveland in 1996, Baltimore leads the series 20-18 against Cincinnati. The Bengals have won four of the last five in the series including three straight. Cincinnati won both meetings last year 23-16 in Baltimore and 27-24 in Cincinnati. The two teams will close out the regular season January 3 in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati is coached by Marvin Lewis. The Bengals opened the season with wins over AFC West teams. Cincinnati crushed the Raiders 33-13 in Oakland and last week beat the San Diego Chargers 24-19 at home. Against San Diego, the Bengals took a 14-6 lead into halftime. They would lead 24-13 in the fourth. The Chargers pulled to within 24-19 with just over 4 minutes to go but missed the two point conversion. San Diego kicked off deep. The Chargers forced a punt with just over a minute left, but an interception ended hopes of a comeback. It was the third turnover of the game for San Diego. Cincinanti was a 3.5 point favorite against San Diego and the total was 47.5. The Bengals are 2-0 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.

Baltimore is coached by John Harbaugh. The Ravens also opened with two games against AFC West teams but lost both games on the road. Baltimore lost 19-13 at the Denver Broncos in a game with no offensive touchdowns and a defensive touchdown by each team. Last week, the Ravens lost at the Raiders 37-33. The game was back and forth and tied at ten after the first quarter and at 20 at halftime. Oakland took a 30-20 lead into the fourth quarter, but Baltimore scored 13 straight points to take 33-30 lead with just over 2 minutes to go. However, the Raiders drove down the field and Derek Carr threw the go-ahead touchdown pass with 26 seconds left. A Baltimore interception ended the game. The ravens were six point favorites and the total was 42.5. The Ravens are 0-2 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.

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Cincinnati is outscoring teams 29-16 this season. The Bengals are #6 in scoring and #3 in points allowed. Cincinnati averages 393 yards per game on offense including 242 passing and 151 rushing yards. The Bengals are in the top 10 in total and rushing offense. Cincinnati is allowing 300 yards per game including 203 passing and 97 rushing yards. The Bengals are in the top 10 in total and pass defense. Cincinnati is 9/24 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 9/26. The Bengals have forced 6 sacks and haven’t allowed any. Cincinnati is +3 in turnovers.

Quarterback Andy Dalton has completed 68.3% of his passes for 481 yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions, and also has 11 rushing yards. Running back Giovani Bernard has 28 carries for 186 yards, along with 9 catches for 41 yards. Jeremy Hill has 29 carries for 102 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with a catch. Tight end Tyler Eifert has 13 catches for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver A.J. Green is probable with a knee injury. He has 8 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones has 4 catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. Six defensive players and three offensive tackles are listed on the injury report.

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Baltimore is being outscored 28-23 this season. The Ravens average 333 total yards including 242 passing and 91 rushing yards. On defense, Baltimore is allowing 334 yards per game including 251 passing and 83 rushing yards. The Ravens are 9/27 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 17/32. Baltimore has forced 5 sacks and allowed 2 this season. Baltimore is -2 in turnovers.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has completed 64.9% of his passes for 501 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Justin Forsett has 29 carries for 111 yards, along with 8 catches for 25 yards. Javorius Allen has 10 carries for 35 yards, along with 2 catches. Lorenzo Taliaferro has 7 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown, along with 3 catches. He is questionable with a foot injury.

Receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has 12 catches for 163 yards. Crockett Gilmore has 7 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Kyle Juszczyk will also get some targets. Tight ends Allen Reisner and Dennis Pitta are both on injured reserve.  Eight defensive players are listed on the injury report, including star linebacker Terrell Suggs who is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

Cincinnati is 9-1 ATS in week three, 24-9-2 in September, 7-3-1 after a cover, 20-9-1 after allowing 350 total yards or more, and 17-8-1 on fieldturf. The under is 6-2 in this series in Baltimore recently. The Bengals have covered four of the last five against the Ravens.

Baltimore is 14-4 ATS against teams with winning records, 7-2 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 3-7-1 after scoring more than 30 points, 2-5 overall, 5-13-1 against AFC teams, 2-6-1 against AFC North teams and 2-10-1 after allowing 350 total yards or more. The favorite is 5-2-1 ATS in this series recently and the favorite has covered 5 of the last 6.

Cincinnati would love to win this game to potentially have as much as a two game lead in the division depending on what Pittsburgh and Cleveland do. However, the worst case scenario is they will be tied even with a loss. Baltimore on the other hand has to win this game. I think the Ravens come out with sense of urgency at home after two trips out west. I like the Ravens to win a close game at home, even though I think the Bengals are a better team.

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