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Kicking off the early games this weekend we see the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Oakland Raiders. The Bengals are looking for their 3rd straight win in hopes of staying in the hunt for an AFC wildcard while the Raiders are hoping to stop a 3 game skid. Oddsmakers have Cincinnati as 8-point favorite with an over/under of 48.5 points.

Why Cincinnati Covers:

Don’t be surprised to hear boo’s raining down the second Carson Palmer and the Oakland Raiders offense steps onto the field in Cincinnati. It is his first return to Cincinnati since declaring retirement and refusing to ever suit up in a Bengals uniform again.

In the deal that sent him to Oakland, Cincinnati received a 2012 1st round draft pick and a conditional 2nd round 2013. Even though it won’t be a warm welcome for their former quarterback it looks like they got the better side of the deal as since Palmer put on a Raider uniform he has a 7-13 record.

The Bengals are riding a high coming into this game averaging 24.8 points per game offensively. An impressive number considering they have only one touchdown on special teams and zero defensive scores all season. Although, with an Oakland team that has allowed a league high 322 points with an average of 32.2 the season, it is doubtful points will be at a premium for Cincinnati.

To make matters worse Oakland is 2-5 against the spread in their last 7 games when playing in Cincinnati and still missing Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Making it doubtful this will be the game they improve on their 3-7 record.

Overall Oakland is 3-14 against the spread in road games against the AFC North division since 1992. While the Bengals are 10-2 favorites facing an opponent off three or more consecutive against the spread loses.

Why Oakland Covers:

While Palmer does not seem like the long-term quarterback answer for this Raiders offense he has them averaging 369.4 total yards on offense per game with 307.2 of those coming via his arm. Look for Oakland to expose Cincinnati’s secondary that ranks 18th in the league and is giving up an average of 248.4 yards a game.

Oakland has an impressive 51-36 ATS record when coming off a loss and are road dogs, facing an opponent off a win since 1990. Even better they are an immaculate 6-0 away after allowing 35 or more points (38 against New Orleans).

Despite losing their last 3 games the Raiders could turn things around this weekend. The records show that off 3 or more against the spread losses they are a perfect 4-0. Combine that with a Bengals 1-4-1 record against the spread at home in their last 5 games and Carson Palmer could bring more of a homecoming to Cincinnati than what fans had wished for.