(1-0, 1-0 ATS)
(0-1, 0-1 ATS)
The Cincinnati Bengals swept the Baltimore Ravens last year in NFL betting action, which was the biggest reason why they won the AFC North. Early in the 2010 season, the hosts might be fighting for their lives as they once again play host to their purple and black clad rivals at Paul Brown Stadium.
They’re physical and ready to punish you on a regular basis, and the Ravens have a great memory for what happened last season. Whether LB Sergio Kindle suits or not, the defense for Baltimore will be looking to put up a second straight dominating effort just as it did last week in a 10-9 victory over the New York Jets. This is a team that just seems to want to damn whatever situation it is in and will take on all opponents head on with a sense of reckless abandonment. What has to be the scariest thing for the Bengals in this game is knowing that the Ravens have really yet to awake offensively. Sure, they did a great job of maintaining the football for over 38 minutes against New York last week, but QB Joe Flacco only threw for 248 yards without making it to the end zone, and one of the best rushing teams in the game only managed 49 yards on 35 carries. WR Anquan Boldin abused DB Antonio Cromartie last week, catching seven passes for 110 yards. Cincy doesn’t have a defensive back capable of guarding both Boldin and WR Derrick Mason on the outside.
The way that the Bengals were crushed by the New England Patriots last week doesn’t instill much confidence in us either. The defense and special teams were flat out woeful for Cincinnati in Week 1. The ‘D’ allowed QB Tom Brady to pick this team apart, as he threw for 258 yards and three scores without really breaking a sweat. On special teams, the second half was started with a 97 yard kick return for the New England TD that effectively put the game out of reach. Give the Bengals some credit for fighting back, as the game might act as a confidence booster for an offense that had a lot of question marks coming into the year. QB Carson Palmer went 34-of-50 for 345 yards with two TDs and a pick, while all four of WR Chad Ochocinco, WR Jordan Shipley, WR Terrell Owens, and TE Jermaine Gresham caught at least five passes. Improvement could be made in the rushing game, where RB Cedric Benson only managed 43 yards on 15 carries.
Our NFL picks in this game are fairly obvious. We know that Baltimore is the favorite of the oddsmakers, and we think that is for a significant reason. The Ravens aren’t going to be in a pleasant mood after dropping twice to this team last year, and they should come out firing on all cylinders. This is a big chance to move to 2-0 and to open up a lead in the AFC North before ever playing a game at home.
Selection: Baltimore Ravens -2.5