Still in search of their first win, the Cincinnati Bengals will welcome a familiar foe to the Queen City, as they host to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. The action gets started at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Fans in the Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh markets can watch the game on CBS.
Oddsmakers list the Ravens as 10-point road favorites over the Bengals. The over/under for the game is set at 44.5 points. Be sure to check out all of the Week 10 NFL betting odds.
The Ravens are riding high after last week’s 37-20 win over the previously undefeated Patriots. Not only was it an impressive and convincing win, but it was also Baltimore’s fourth in a row. Midway through the season, the Ravens are 6-2, giving them a two-game lead atop the AFC North standings atop the resurgent Steelers. Baltimore is also tied for the second-best record in the AFC, making the Ravens feel like a genuine contender.
Of course, Baltimore’s schedule is about to become a lot more challenging the second half of the season. After this week’s trip to Cincinnati, the Ravens will face four straight teams with a winning record, including the still-unbeaten 49ers. With that kind of schedule ahead of them, the Ravens can’t afford to slip-up against the Bengals, especially coming off the high of beating the Patriots.
Meanwhile, rookie coach Zac Taylor and the Bengals remain winless in 2019. After Miami won last week, Cincinnati is the only winless team left in the NFL, which is a distinction no team wants to have. For what it’s worth, half of their losses have come by less than a touchdown. Of course, the Bengals have also had some lopsided losses, losing three of their four home games by at least 10 points.
Coming out of the bye, it doesn’t get much easier. The Bengals are set to play the Ravens, Raiders, and Steelers over the next three weeks. Cincinnati could find a win or two late in the season with games against the Jets, Browns, and Dolphins. But they figure to be heavy underdogs for at least three more weeks.
On the bright side, the Bengals only lost their first meeting with Baltimore this season 23-17, beating a 10.5-point spread on the road. However, the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Cincinnati returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and was then nearly doubled by Baltimore in total yards. If there’s a reason to be optimistic for the Bengals, it’s that they’ve won six of their last seven home games against the Ravens.
There’s a good chance I’ll regret this, but I’m going to take a chance on the Bengals as home underdogs. At times, the Bengals have played well enough to stay competitive in games. Also, this has the feel of a trap game for the Ravens, who may be taking the win for granted and looking ahead to the tough games on their schedule the next few weeks. Given Cincinnati’s success at home against the Ravens, I think it’s worth taking a shot on the Bengals to beat the 10-point spread.
Last week, the Ravens had the benefit of an extra week to prepare for the Patriots. But there may not be much preparation this week with the Bengals benching Andy Dalton for rookie Ryan Finley. While Finley has never played outside of the preseason, he had a productive college career and possesses an accurate arm. The Bengals are also hopeful that A.J. Green will finally return from injury and help out the rookie quarterback.
At the same time, the Bengals are starting to get healthy along the offensive line. There have been occasional signs of life from Joe Mixon and the Cincinnati running game, and with a healthy O-line, there could be a reason for optimism in that area. Despite the Ravens completely stuffing the run when these teams met last month, the Bengals will do their best to establish the run in support of Finley.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati defense has been a little underrated this season. The numbers aren’t pretty, but the Bengals have only allowed one team to break the 30-point barrier against them this season. Considering the profound lack of support from the offense and Dalton’s propensity for turning it over, that’s somewhat impressive. When you add to the equation the Ravens having to cover 10 points, the fact that the Bengals have kept almost every team under 30 points starts to sway things in their direction.
Keep in mind that the Ravens aren’t necessarily a high-scoring offense. The Baltimore defense was responsible for two of their three touchdowns against Seattle and added another last week against New England. The Ravens tend to lean on their running game, which has been effective for them. But it also eats up the clock and can sometimes make it difficult to pull away from teams and cover double-digit spreads.
Admittedly, this pick is risky, but keep in mind how difficult it can be to cover double-digit spreads in the NFL, especially on the road against a division rival. For the Ravens, this has trap game written all over it while I expect the Bengals to come out hungry and well-prepared after their bye week. Baltimore should win, but I like the Bengals to beat the spread.