Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets: 2021 Week 8 NFL Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) at New York Jets (1-5)

These two teams had completely opposite weeks last week. While the Bengals pulled a big upset win in Baltimore by 24 points, the Jets were blown out in a 41-point loss in New England and lost their starting quarterback Zach Wilson for an extended period of time, forcing them to turn to unproven backup Mike White. As a result, this line has shifted in a significant way, with the Bengals going from being 3.5-point favorites on the early line last week to now being favored by 11.

That seems like an overreaction. The Bengals win was impressive, but it wasn’t as lopsided as the final score indicated, as it was close for most of the game before the Ravens were forced to go for it on several 4th downs late and failed. In first down rate differential, the Bengals held the edge by just 1.52%. That win also puts the Bengals in a bad spot this week, as teams cover at about a 41.9% rate all-time after a win as divisional underdogs of 6 points or more. They could easily be flat after last week’s emotional win.

The Jets, meanwhile, are in a good spot because teams tend to cover at a high rate after being blown out like the Jets were last week, bouncing back to cover at a 58.0% rate the following week after a 35+ point loss all-time. I’m also not that concerned that the Jets will be starting a backup quarterback because I don’t think the dropoff from Wilson to White is that significant, with Wilson struggling to this point in his career. A 7.5 point line movement like we had in this game from last week to this week is usually reserved for a franchise caliber quarterback getting hurt, so it’s hard to justify it in these circumstances.

The Bengals are also in another bad spot because they have to turn around and play another tough game against the Browns next week. Favorites of a touchdown or more cover at just a 43.4% rate all-time before facing an opponent who has a winning percentage that is 40% of better than their current opponent’s winning percentage. Given the situation, it’s hard to see the Bengals bringing their best effort for this matchup against a one-win team starting a backup quarterback, while the Jets should bring their best effort in response to last week’s embarrassment. We’re not getting much line value here with the Jets, but the spot is good enough that the Jets are worth a small play.

Cincinnati Bengals 20 New York Jets 13

Pick against the spread: NY Jets +11

Confidence: Medium

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