Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Ravens vs. Bengals (1/15/2023) - Taking Vegas

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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Ravens vs. Bengals (1/15/2023)

By Michael Savio
January 12, 2023

Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals (1/15 @ 8:15 PM EST)

Spread: Bengals -8
Money Line: Ravens +317 / Bengals -385
Total: 40.5

Overview and Betting Info

The Baltimore Ravens (10-7) will head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (12-4) this AFC Wild Card weekend. They split their season series, but Baltimore lost by 11 in their game last week. The Bengals won the AFC North, while the Ravens secured a wild card spot.

The Ravens are 7-9-1 against the spread this season and have covered just three of their last eight games. They have gone over the total five times but have gone under in five of their last six games.

The Bengals are 12-4 versus the spread and have covered seven of their last eight. They’ve gone over the total six times but have gone under in four of their last six.

Baltimore Ravens

This season, the Ravens’ offense averaged 338.8 yards and 20.6 points per game. A big reason for their down season was the loss of Lamar Jackson. That called Tyler Huntley into action (658 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT), but he picked up an injury a couple of weeks ago and is questionable to play on Sunday. If he can’t go, rookie Anthony Brown will get his second start of the season. Brown started against the Bengals last week and was awful. He completed just 43% of his passes, threw two interceptions, and was sacked four times. If he does start, he will have at least have some familiarity with his opponent.

The Ravens’ receiving corps is led by tight end Mark Andrews who has 847 yards and five touchdowns on the season. He missed last week’s game against the Bengals, but he had a 100-yard game the week before against the Steelers. He joins Demarcus Robinson (458 yards, 2 TD) as Baltimore’s top two pass catchers, though the receiver has just four catches over their last three games. We’ll be keeping an eye on tight end Isaiah Likely as well, as he had 103 yards against the Bengals last week and seemed comfortable with Brown behind center.

The Baltimore backfield is led by JK Dobbins, who has 520 yards and two touchdowns in just eight games this season. Injuries kept him out of over half of the Ravens’ games, but he has been fantastic when he has played and finished the season averaging 5.7 yards per carry. While he missed the Bengals game last week, he was effective in limited time in their first matchup (44 yards, 5.5 YPC). Joining Dobbins are Gus Edwards (433 yards, 3 TD) and Kenyan Drake (482 yards, 4 TD). Drake handled the majority of carries against the Bengals last week, going for 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Edwards averages 5 YPC but has played in only nine games this season.

The Ravens’ defense allowed 324.3 yards (10th in NFL) and 18.5 points (3rd) per game. They’ve been fantastic most of the season, including their first game against the Bengals. They hadn’t allowed over 16 points per game since December 1st, but that ended when they allowed 27 points to the Bengals last week. They’ve been led by a standout year from linebacker Patrick Queen. He leads the team in tackles (117) while also registering five sacks, six pass deflections, nine TFLs, and two interceptions. He joins a pass rush of Justin Houston (9.5 sacks, 7 TFLs), Justin Madubuike (5.5 sacks, 8 TFLs), and Calais Campbell (5.5 sacks, 8 TFLs). The Bengals’ secondary is led by Marcus Williams (8 PD, 4 INT) and Marlon Humphrey (7 PD, 3 INT, 3 sacks). We’ll keep an eye on Humphrey’s status for Sunday, as he is currently listed as questionable.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals’ offense averaged 360.5 yards and 26.1 points per game. They’ve been a big part of their seven-game win streak, averaging 29.2 points per game during that stretch. They are led by Joe Burrow, who has thrown for 4,475 yards (5th in NFL) and 35 touchdowns (2nd) this season. He’s been impressive all year despite injuries to all of the offense’s top playmakers, leading them to a conference title. He has struggled a bit against Baltimore this season, especially last week, where he completed 59% of his passes for an average of 5.1 yards per completion. He has taken care of the ball well against Baltimore, with just one turnover in their last four matchups.

The Bengals’ receiving corps is among the best in the league, highlighted by Ja’Marr Chase (1,046 yards, 9 TD) and Tee Higgins (1,029 yards, 7 TD). The Ravens have somewhat contained Chase, but he did go for 86 yards and a touchdown last week. Higgins managed just one catch last week, breaking a four-game touchdown streak. Both are significant threats and will test a talented Ravens’ secondary. Tyler Boyd joins them (762 yards, 5 TD) and has thrived as the third receiver.

The Cincinnati backfield is led by Joe Mixon, who has rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns. He has been one of the team’s top receivers this season, with another 441 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He’s been quieter the last few games, averaging just 37.6 rushing yards per game over their previous three. He is joined by Samaje Perine (394 yards, 2 TD), who has played great with Mixon out but has been quiet since the starting back’s return. Like Mixon, Perine is also a threat through the air, with 287 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

The Bengals’ defense allowed 360.5 yards and 26.1 points per game. They’ve been fantastic down the stretch, allowing just 16.7 points per game over their last four. Their line is buoyed by a pair of talented pass rushers in Trey Hendrickson (8 sacks, 6 TFLs) and Sam Hubbard (6.5 sacks, 11 TFLs). Both have been great, and Hendrickson had two sacks against the Ravens last week. Their secondary is led by a pair of safeties in Jessie Bates III (4 INT, 8 PD) and Vonn Bell (4 INT, 8 PD). They’ve been a fearsome duo, and each has an interception against the Ravens this season. Keep an eye on linebacker Germaine Pratt (10 PD, 2 INT, 6 TFL), as he has been a big part of the team’s success against the pass this season.

Free Pick: Bengals -8

We have poured through the stats, trends, and injury reports but still can’t find why Sunday will differ from last week. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for the Ravens, they don’t have the weapons to score against a vastly improved Bengals defense. Neither Huntley nor Brown has any playoff experience, and that will be a big problem on the road this weekend. Conversely, Burrow led the Bengals on a run to the Super Bowl just last season and will be at home on Sunday.

The Raven’s defense is great, but they’ll likely be on the field a lot as their offense fails to generate solid drives. That’s a big problem when you are on the road against a high-powered offense and will lead to big plays for the Bengals. Seeing how they were not healthy in their first matchup with the Ravens, we view last week’s game as the better barometer for Sunday.

It’s also worth noting that the Bengals have not lost at home since week one.

We’re giving up the points to roll with the Bengals on Sunday.

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