Nov 062013

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) at Baltimore Ravens (3-5)

The Ravens lost last week in Cleveland, but they return home this week, where they’ve been much better over the past few years. Since 2010, they are 25-4 straight up at home, with 2 losses to the Steelers, a loss to the 2013 Packers, and a loss to the 2012 Broncos. They’ve been home underdogs just 4 times, covering in 3 (the Broncos game was the exception). The Bengals don’t deserve to be favorites here. Even if you don’t take into account the Ravens’ home field advantage, I think that’s the case.

As bad as the Ravens have been this season, they still rank 15th in rate of moving the chains differential, as their strong defense is limiting opponents to a 68% rate, as opposed to 69% for their struggling offense. The Bengals are better, moving the chains at a 75% rate, as opposed to 71% for their opponents, but not enough to be favored. The Ravens are also in a good dynamic as home underdogs off of a loss as road favorites. Teams are 55-40 ATS in this situation since 1989.

The Bengals, meanwhile, are not nearly as good on the road as at home. They are 2-3 on the road and they haven’t won a single game by more than a field goal. They lost in Chicago. They lost in Cleveland (worse than Baltimore did last week). They barely won in Buffalo. They won in Detroit by a field goal. And last week, they lost in Miami. Last week’s overtime loss in Miami puts them in a bad spot this week. Teams are 13-33 ATS as favorites off of a road loss in overtime. They are going to have a hard time concentrating this week after last week’s rough loss.

That loss wasn’t the Bengals’ only loss last week. They also lost defensive tackle Geno Atkins for the season with a torn ACL. Even though Atkins hadn’t been playing quite as well he was last season, he still was showing himself to be a top-10 defensive player in the NFL. You can’t just replace a guy like that. On top of that, they’ve already lost top cornerback Leon Hall for the season. Their solid defense might not remain solid for much longer. If the Ravens’ tough defense shuts them down in Baltimore, they’re going to have a very hard time winning, as bad as the Ravens’ offense is. The Ravens should pull the home upset here and stay in the running for a playoff spot.

Baltimore Ravens 17 Cincinnati Bengals 13 Upset Pick +105

Pick against spread: Baltimore +2

Confidence: Medium

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