The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will meet on Sunday night in a battle of 2-2 teams hoping to take the lead in the AFC North.
The Bengals are looking for their third win in a row against the Ravens and their third overall win after starting 0-2. The Ravens just blew a 17-point lead against Buffalo at home for the second time this season.
Baltimore is a 3.5-point home favorite with a total of 48 points at many of the top-rated sportsbooks.
Can the Ravens close a game out at home, or will Joe Burrow torch the defense again? Let’s look at the NFL odds for a few different betting markets in this matchup.
Sunday, October 09, 2022 – 08:20 PM EDT at M&T Bank Stadium
Over/Under 48 Points: Will the Over Hit?
None of Cincinnati’s games have topped 43 points this season as the Bengals still rank 30th in yards per play (4.8). But last season, the Bengals scored 41 points on Baltimore in both games, and they were the only two games all season where Cincinnati had over 500 yards of offense.
It was the passing offense that drove this shredding of the Ravens, which likely led to the team parting ways with defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Joe Burrow became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in both division games against an opponent in the same season.
Despite allowing rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to have 201 yards in the first meeting, Martindale said that he didn’t think they needed to apply any special coverage to Chase as if he was Davante Adams, and that Burrow isn’t a Hall of Famer like Aaron Rodgers. That only seemed to motivate the Bengals as Burrow upped his numbers by throwing for 525 yards in the rematch.
The Ravens did have a lot of injuries last year and they hired Mike Macdonald as the new coordinator. But they’ve had some injuries again this year, and they allowed some huge passing numbers to Tua Tagovailoa (469 yards and six touchdowns) and Mac Jones (career-high 321 yards).
The rain and some questionable decision-making by John Harbaugh to bypass a go-ahead field goal were likely the main reasons Sunday’s 23-20 loss to Buffalo was not higher scoring. Baltimore is third in the NFL with 29.8 points per game, but Lamar Jackson and the offense were held scoreless on the last five drives against Buffalo, a top-tier defense this season.
With Jackson and Burrow both looking to shine on Sunday night, and the way this Baltimore defense has struggled with talented receivers, this game absolutely has the potential to hit the over, as just 27-24 will do the trick.
NFL Pick: Over 48 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
First Half Scoring and Spread
This feels like a game where you just have to play the percentages and assume the Ravens won’t blow another three-score lead in the second half, and Burrow won’t throw for well over 400 yards every time he plays this defense.
Assuming a more normal game, it is easy to like the Ravens in the first half, and for that to be the highest scoring half in this matchup based on season trends:
- Both the Ravens (31 points) and Bengals (27 points) rank among the top six teams in first-quarter scoring.
- Baltimore is also third in second-quarter scoring (41 points) and second in third-quarter scoring (38 points).
- The Ravens have scored only nine points in the fourth quarter, which is tied for the third-fewest in the league.
- The Bengals have allowed a league-high 33 points in the first quarter.
- The Ravens have allowed just a field goal in the first quarter.
- The Bengals have allowed just six points in the third quarter and six points in the fourth quarter. Only Buffalo (seven points) has allowed fewer points after halftime this season.
Even if the Ravens fade again after halftime, you won’t care if you bet on the first half to be the highest scoring and for them to cover the first half spread.
NFL Pick: First Half as Highest Scoring Half (-135) at FanDuel
NFL Pick: Ravens -2 First Half Spread (-120) at FanDuel
Final Prediction: Who Wins?
The Baltimore defense has some issues, but it does tie for the league lead with 10 takeaways, including multiple takeaways in each game this season. Look for the Ravens to show more respect to the Burrow and Chase connection this time around after what happened last year.
The Ravens have allowed 10 completions of 25-plus yards to the Dolphins and Patriots, but none to the Jets and Bills this year. If the defense can limit the big plays for the Bengals, the Ravens should be fine in this matchup, as long as they don’t fall in love with the blitz again.
Despite what happened on Sunday, Lamar Jackson is still having a much better season than Burrow. Look for him to bounce back on Sunday night in what should be nicer weather than Sunday’s game.
The Cincinnati defense has played against a benched starter (Mitch Trubisky), two backups (Cooper Rush and Joe Flacco), and knocked Tua Tagovailoa out of last Thursday’s game before going on to intercept backup Teddy Bridgewater with the game on the line. Jackson and his weapons are the kind of attack this defense hasn’t seen yet this season.
Our Best Bet
Bengals coach Zac Taylor is 1-26 when entering the fourth quarter with a deficit of at least three points.
The Ravens have blown more 17-point leads in the last three weeks than they did in the previous 24 seasons combined, but if Harbaugh is still as good of a coach as he used to be, then they will get this figured out and turned around.
It has to start Sunday night in a big division game, so let’s go with the Ravens to cover for your NFL picks.
NFL Pick: Ravens -3.5 (-105) at FanDuel