Carolina Panthers (2-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-4)
The Bengals have been better than their 4-4 record this season, with a +22 point differential and an 8th ranked schedule adjusted efficiency, three points above average. However, they are one of the most injury affected teams in the league right now, missing top cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton, top wide receiver JaMarr Chase, and top interior defender DJ Reader, all of whom are among their most important players.
Fortunately, the Bengals are in a good spot heading into their bye week, as big home favorites over the lowly Panthers. Home favorites of 6 points or more cover the spread at a 63.5% rate all-time before a bye and the Bengals are favored in this game by 7 points. Missing the key players they are missing, I have the Bengals a half point below average in my roster rankings, but the Panthers rank 6 points below average in schedule adjusted efficiency and 5 points below average in my roster rankings, so this line is actually a little short, with my calculated line at 8.5. It’s not great line value, but between that and the great spot the Bengals are in, they are bettable this week at -7.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Carolina Panthers 16
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -7