Cincinnati Bengals (10-3) at San Francisco 49ers (4-9)
The 49ers are the worst team in rate of moving the chains differential by a mile, coming in at -11.92%, while no one else is worse than -7.14%. That was on display last week, as they lost 24-10 in Cleveland, against a terrible Browns team. The Bengals, meanwhile, rank 4th, but they’re also been remarkably injury free this season. Now they’re missing quarterback Andy Dalton, tight end Tyler Eifert, and safety George Iloka, three key players. The biggest injury is Dalton’s, as he was playing at a high level, the best football of his career, and backup AJ McCarron is a 2014 6th round pick who has never made a start and who struggled in relief of Dalton last week against the Steelers.
That being said, McCarron could definitely be better now with a full week of practice with the first team to prepare, against a much easier defense. The Bengals are still favored by 6 points on the road, as the line shifted just 1 point in the past week to compensate for the injuries, largely because of the 49ers’ embarrassing performance in Cleveland. We’re not getting a ton of line value with the Bengals, as a result of that, but I don’t have a problem laying 6 points with the Bengals. McCarron has a great supporting cast still and the 49ers are awful. The 49ers are also in a tough spot, as the early line has them as 7 point underdogs in Detroit next week. Teams are 42-67 ATS as 6+ point underdogs before being 6+ point underdogs again, since 2012. I’m not going to put money on the Bengals, because it’s really hard to trust a first time starting quarterback, because the public is all over the Bengals, and because the 49ers have been decent at home this season (4-2 ATS), but they should be the right side.
Cincinnati Bengals 17 San Francisco 49ers 9
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -6