Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens Betting Odds Preview - NFL Week 1

Baltimore will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first of two Monday night football games this week. This divisional rivalry goes deep. Since 2001 these two teams have won 11 games a piece against each other. During the 2011 season they met twice, Baltimore was victorious on both occasions. In fact Cincinnati has not beat the Ravens since September of the 2010 season.

Baltimore is again the favorite to win this game with the point spread at 6 points. This could be a game to say the spread is low. The average final score differential for the last two match-ups between these teams was 7 or greater while the past four games it was 6.5. The over/under for this week’s game is 41 points. In the preseason both teams played the Atlanta Falcons and both won. The Ravens beat the Falcons 31-17 while the Bengals won 24-19. Using that as a 2012 benchmark it seems reasonable to think the game this week will go over 41 points and that the Ravens will produce greater offensive results.

The Ravens will see a definite drop off in pass rush production now that Terrell Sluggs is injured. However, for this game the Ravens are in luck. Cincinnati’s offensive line has been criticized for being old and about half of the unit was replaced for this year. QB protection will be weaker and so will the Cincinnati run game. Also weak in the preseason has been the Bengal secondary. This should play into the hands of Baltimore as Joe Flacco and his crew of receivers who looked mighty fine in their narrow playoff loss to New England last season. Also, Ravens left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie just re-signed with the team this week even though talks broke down and it looked like he would not be a Raven this year. This will surely shore up Baltimore’s offensive attack.

The Bengals do not seem to have anything stupendous going for them right now. Andy Dalton will likely be looking to connect with A.J. Green often and find tight ends Donald Lee or Jermaine Gresham as often as possible. But without an established 2nd go-to receiver Baltimore should be able to isolate Green.

The Ravens seem set to start the season 1-0; they would need to have an unexpected breakdown on defense for the game to end without a Ravens victory. Cincinnati has been injury plagued on their offense but their defensive front seven are of high enough caliber to hold them in the game. Andy Dalton and BenJarvus Ellis-Green (RB) were both injured during the preseason but are expected to start in the season opener.

Even if Cincinnati cannot put up their normal offensive production, after so many preseason injuries, the Ravens are likely to up their output, compensating for any shortfall from the Bengals towards the over/under total of 41 points.

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