Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
Both of these teams have impressive records at 4-2 and 5-1, but both teams have also played a lot of close games, with the Bengals playing 4 games decided by a field goal or less (2-2), including a pair of overtime games and the Ravens playing 4 games decided by one score or less (3-1), including another pair of overtime games. Both teams are 2-0 in games decided by multiple scores, but the Bengals’ wins came against the Steelers and Lions, while the Ravens, who have faced a tougher schedule overall, beat the Broncos and Chargers by multiple scores.
The Ravens also have a talent edge on paper, about 6 points better in my roster rankings, suggesting we’re getting some line value with the Ravens as just 6.5 point favorites at home. The Ravens are also in a pair of good spots as they are big home favorites before a bye and they are in their third straight home game. Home favorites of 6+ cover at a 63.0% rate all-time before a bye week, while home favorites cover at a 55.6% rate in their third straight home game.
Combining the two trends, teams have covered in 13 of 14 instances over the past 30 seasons as favorites in their third straight home game before a bye week. The Ravens should be fully focused for this game and give their best effort as a result. This isn’t a big play, but as long as this line is under a touchdown, the Ravens should take care of business against a Bengals team that has faced an easy schedule thus far and that has mostly overachieved their talent level this season.
Update: This line has dropped down to 6, which is a bigger number than it used to be because of the new overtime rules. I am upping this to a higher confidence pick.
Baltimore Ravens 33 Cincinnati Bengals 24
Pick against the spread: Baltimore -6