Ravens vs. Bengals odds have Cincinnati laying a field goal at most sportsbooks, although some have the home team as a 3.5-point favorite in Week 2.
Joe Burrow had one of the worst games of his professional career in a second straight embarrassing Week 1 performance. Meanwhile, the Ravens cruised to a comfortable victory at home against the Texans, but the injuries are already starting to pile up for Baltimore once again. Mark Andrews is expected make a return to the starting lineup at tight end, but the Ravens lost key players at multiple positions last week.
Let’s break down the matchup and make our Ravens vs. Bengals pick.
Ravens vs. Bengals
Week 1 of the Todd Monken experience was not particularly impressive.
Lamar Jackson said after the game that he felt rusty, which makes sense when you consider that he hadn’t played since the midway point of last season. Jackson did grade well from a CPOE (Completion Percentage Over Expected) perspective, but his average depth of target (aDOT) was just five yards and his EPA per play was in the red because of turnovers and red-zone woes.
One key highlight for the Ravens was the emergence of rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers. With Dobbins done for the season, Baltimore needs its receivers to step up. Andrews and Flowers, plus a potential Odell Beckham Jr. contribution, should be enough to sustain the offense.
Jackson played at an MVP level in the first half of 2022 despite having no real receiving threats beyond Andrews. Now with real options, as well as a new coordinator and scheme, I only expect Baltimore to trend up.
There will be a lot of pressure on Jackson to execute outside the pocket because the Ravens will be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum.
It wasn’t until Week 3 against the Jets last year that the Bengals offense started to look anything like the juggernaut it became by season’s end.
After a rewatch of Sunday’s game, my conclusion is that the Bengals’ issues are much bigger than sloppy play or typical Week 1 miscues.
Burrow was inaccurate and missed a ton of throws he usually makes. That could just be rust, but how confident can we be that he’ll bounce back? Burrow had a -18.2 CPOE, a metric that he usually ranks in the top three in.
Burrow had a ton of success in 2021 against the Ravens defense under coordinator Wink Martindale, but new defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald made schematic changes to how Baltimore plays compared to last year. MacDonald had a ton of success in all three matchups against Burrow, and they were three of the Bengals’ worst offensive games all season.
It will be harder for the Ravens to match up without cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Marcus Williams, but they did an excellent job of disrupting Burrow’s timing on the isolation routes outside the numbers that have propelled Cincinnati’s offense over the last two seasons.
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Ravens vs. Bengals
Betting Picks & Predictions
John Harbaugh is 18-8-1 against the spread as a divisional underdog in his career.
Everyone has discussed the problems with the Bengals offense, but they also lost key pieces on the back end of the defense that stronger passing attacks will exploit.
The market opened at Cincinnati -3 and moved immediately to -3.5, likely from all of the Ravens injuries. The majority of books have moved the line back to three, but there are still some 3.5s in the market worth scooping up prior to kickoff.
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