San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
The Bengals entered the season as one of the most banged up teams in the league. In the off-season, they lost first round rookie Jonah Williams for the season, long-time starting guard Clint Boling to an injury related retirement, and several other players like wide receiver AJ Green, left tackle Cordy Glenn, and cornerback Darqueze Dennard indefinitely due to various injuries. Despite that, they almost pulled the upset week 1 in Seattle, as one of the biggest underdogs of the week. They lost by just 1 point in a game that swung on the Seahawks recovering 3 of 4 fumbles and the Bengals won the first down rate battle by 3.67%.
The Seahawks were an overrated opponent, especially with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah out with injury, but the Bengals get another opponent this week that could be overrated. The 49ers won 31-17 in Tampa Bay week 1, but they lost the first down rate battle by 3.85%, winning largely due to takeaways, which are inconsistent week-to-week. Jimmy Garrappolo looked rusty in his return from injury and the Bengals defense looked significantly improved in week 1 over last season’s underperforming unit. We’re not getting much line value with the Bengals -1, but I have these two teams about even in my rankings, so this line should be closer to -3. The Bengals are my pick for pick ‘em purposes, but there’s not enough here to bet on them.
Cincinnati Bengals 20 San Francisco 49ers 17
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -1