Here is a Thursday night football breakdown as we look at the Ravens versus Bengals. Both teams are 1-0.
The Spread: Pick'em
The Total: 44.5
These division rivals both started their seasons out winning in very different styles. While the Ravens pounded the Bills into submission in Baltimore by a score of 47-3, this Buffalo team could be historically bad. Sure, the Ravens did everything they were supposed to do, but it’s tough to get a grasp on who they are until we see them against some real competition.
Meanwhile, the Bengals picked up a huge comeback victory over the Colts in Indianapolis, 34-23. Of course, we had a bit of a flukey ending in this one as well. Andrew Luck and the Colts drove the ball all the way into the red zone before tight end Jack Doyle coughed up a fumble that went back 83 yards for a touchdown. While it was a terrific play, Cincy could easily be 0-1 right now with a loss to a team that held an over/under of 6.5 wins prior to the season.
After Baltimore’s dominance, the spread actually opened with the Ravens as 2-3 point favorites in most places, even with the game in Cincinnati. But the public jumped on the Bengals coming off a more legitimate win, making this a much tighter point spread (you can find this anywhere from a pick ‘em to either team being favored by one). Below are some quick numbers on both sides of the matchup, courtesy of OddsShark:
Not only does the under tend to hit in these divisional games, the Thursday games earlier in the season can get a bit sloppy — the Bengals lost a TNF stinker in Week 2 at home last season, 13-9 to the Texans. With the under hitting three of the last four times these two teams have been matched up, and an average of 37 points, I think we have a decent amount of wiggle room here.
Picking the game becomes much more difficult. Most of the long-term numbers point to the Bengals being the safer pick at home, and it helps that they were truly tested on the road in Week 1. Clearly bettors have piled on them due to the way the line swung. That said, we’ve yet to mention to most recent time these teams played in Cincinnati — a 20-0 win for the Ravens in Week 1 last season.
The Picks: Under 45
You can make the numbers point to either side if you're trying to pick a winner here, but there’s no conflict when examining the point total. The under is the safest call in this game.
If you want to pick a winner here, I’d say more numbers point to the home team, but that doesn’t mean I’m confident. Go with the under here, and place a smaller wager on the winner if you feel these numbers highlighted an edge for one team.
You can feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions on Twitter: @julianedlow