San Francisco 49ers (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
I have thought the 49ers are underrated for weeks, as their 6-6 record is not reflective of how they have performed in more predictive metrics, ranking 7th, 8th, 22nd, and 7th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency. However, it seems like the general public has become aware that the 49ers are better than their record and now is ignoring some key injury absences, including some new ones just in the past week.
The 49ers will get top linebacker Fred Warner back from injury this week, but they will now be without top cornerback Emmanuel Mosley, after already losing their previous top cornerback Jason Verrett for the season, as well as feature back Elijah Mitchell, after already losing their previous feature back Raheem Mostert for the season. On top of that, top wide receiver Deebo Samuel could miss his second straight game, right tackle Mike McGlinchey remains out, and would-be key contributors on defense like Javon Kinlaw, Dre Greenlaw, and Maurice Hurst remain out as well.
Despite that, the 49ers are 1.5-point favorites in Cincinnati. For comparison, the Chargers were 3-point underdogs last week. The Chargers did win that game convincingly, but the Bengals were also without a pair of starting offensive linemen, right tackle Riley Reiff and center Trey Hopkins, who will both be back this week. I can’t bet the Bengals confidently, because the 49ers are still better than their 6-6 record, while the Bengals are likely worse than their 7-5 record, as they have faced an easy schedule, but the Bengals are in the better spot and should be the pick for pick ‘em purposes, as teams in their third straight home game like the Bengals cover the spread at a 55.2% rate. If Samuel plays, I would likely drop all confidence, but this is a low confidence pick of the Bengals for now.
Update: It sounds like Deebo Samuel is playing, so this is going to be a no confidence pick.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Cincinnati Bengals 23
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +1.5