Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Earlier this week, I thought I would be betting on the Bengals in this one because the Bills are in an awful spot this week. They return home after playing their first two games of the season on the road, a situation teams typically struggle in (28-52 ATS in week 3 home openers since 1989). They could easily be tired from starting the year with back-to-back road games and not give their best effort at home against an 0-2 team. On top of that, they have to turn around and play one of their biggest games of the season next week, with the New England Patriots coming to town. The early line for that game has the Patriots favored by 6.5 points and teams are just 47-85 ATS since 2014 before being home underdogs of 5+. On top of that, favorites of 6+ are just 33-62 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs of 6+ the following week. The Bengals seem unlikely to get the Bills’ best effort this week in this situation.
That being said, the Bengals could still have a lot of trouble covering the spread in this game because they are so banged up right now. I was expecting they might be healthier this week, but wide receiver AJ Green and left tackle Cordy Glenn remain out indefinitely and they will also be without a pair of key players, Ryan Glasgow and Carl Lawson, on the defensive line and their 3rd cornerback BW Webb with injury. In their current injury situation, the Bengals are one of the worst teams in the league and, even though the Bills aren’t a great team, I still have them favored by a full touchdown in this game. The bad spot really hurts their chances of covering, so I’m still taking the Bengals for pick ‘em purposes, but even if the Bills don’t play their best it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them win by at least a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills 20 Cincinnati Bengals 16
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +6