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Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 8: Ravens Vs. Bengals

Baltimore Ravens Vs Cincinnati Bengals: BAL -1 (Pinnacle

Market Watch

What a difference a week makes. The Ravens were +3.5 point dogs before Week 7 action. Once the dust settled over the weekend, this line reopened at -2.5, and quickly got bet down to -1.5. Since then it's been nothing but Ravens money. In fact, it just crossed over 0 and we are now seeing the Bengals as +1 point dogs. 68% of the bets agree with the line move.

Bottom Line

It wasn't that long ago that I would've looked at you sideways if you said you wanted to fade the Bengals at home. Before the Panthers game they had covered every regular season home spread going back to the start of last year.  It was an under-the-radar home field edge, but I'm not so sure it will matter much this week.

The biggest surprise for me is the deficiencies on this Bengals defense. The only category they rank in the top 10 in is pass defense. That's a good component to have in today's NFL, but they are surprisingly average everywhere else, and flat out bad with their drive success rate. That's not good considering how well the Baltimore offense is playing. I've never been a fan of Flacco, but there's no denying how well he's playing. On top of that, he's getting really good protection up front.

Can the Cincy offense do enough to keep up? I don't think so. I don't think AJ Green will play, and even if he does how effective will he be? Just as concerning is the status of Bernard. Without these guys healthy, it's no wonder that they've had a poor drive success rate this season, and Dalton isn't coming up with big plays on third down. This week they'll have the pleasure of going up against a defense that is equally good against the run and the pass, and near the top in red zone stops.

Despite the line move, I'm fine playing this side at the current number. It hasn't crossed through any key numbers, so I'm simply counting on the Ravens to win the game. Given the mismatches, I expect that to happen.

NFL Pick: BAL -1.

Read moreWeek 8 picks.
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