TNF – Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals – #Ravensflock v #SeizeTheDey

What. A. Week! I remember now why I love this game so much! I spent my Sunday evening watching gamepass, whisper it quietly, but… It worked (after a minute or so of loading) and the product was great, I had the Bengals game on main screen with Redzone in the corner, could swap and change between the two at the click of a button every time it went to adverts. Brilliant!

If you haven’t taken advantage of the RedzoneSports opening offer yet then you’ve got until Saturday to get 25/1 on ANY team to win the Superbowl (£10 max bet) You could get 25/1 on the Rams instead of the 8/1 available, 25/1 on the Vikings *My pick* instead of 10/1, 25/1 on the Green Bay Packers instead of the 12/1 available! It just makes sense!

Betting wise, Sunday went very well, 7/12 winners for 9 points profit, Monday night, not so much, although Golladay and Powell were both sensible picks at the prices, Golladay topped 100 yards and Powell was used a lot, I was expecting them to be losing though which would have meant more Powell in attacking positions. Unfortunate for us. The second game, the entire Raiders wide receiver corps only caught 43 yards between them. FORTY-THREE YARDS in an entire game… Our pick Seth Roberts caught 1 for 11, I did say in the write up it’d probably take 2 or 3 catches, they just didn’t materialise, mainly due to them getting the ball out quickly to their tight ends and running backs to negate the Rams pass rush which unfortunately killed the sacks bet too although they ended on 2, just under the 2.5 line. Sensible from the Raiders but frustrating for us.


So on to week 2!

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals: Total – 44

Spread is between -1 and +1 depending where you look, but it’s pickem on RedzoneSports. You can get Ravens -1 on 365, Ravens +1 on WillHill all at around evens depending which way you expect this to go. Probably worth looking at the alt.spread markets too if you fancy one side over the other.

It’s hard to judge either of these teams on their week 1 matches, the Ravens essentially had a Week 1 bye against the worst team in the NFL this year and the Bengals went up against a dink and dunk Colts team with a poor defense.

That makes it a tough one to call, and as with the lines the bookies seem to think so too.

The Ravens have one of the best defenses in the league, one that has caused the Bengals troubles in the recent past. The season opener last year saw Andy Dalton turn the ball over 5 times, 4 INTs and a lost fumble, admittedly he improved a lot after that, but the Bengals offensive line struggled to cope with the Colts ‘pass-rush’ last week, which is hardly a stellar unit. This weeks unit is very good and they will have seen last week that they need to target Bobby Hart, the right tackle and they should get some success. It’s a worry for me.

On the other side of the ball their offense was poor last year, although actually put up some decent point totals, Flacco was coming off an injury and he had no-one to throw to, this year they look a whole lot different, they signed and drafted well and now have some actual talent on their roster. Michael Crabtree in from the Raiders, John Brown in from Arizona and Willie Snead from the Saints all scored last week as the Ravens dismantled their opposition, none of them got more than 4 catches and none of them topped 50 yards, in all honestly it was the perfect warm up game for them. It’s really hard to say much more about them in all honesty, we have so little to go on but I’m sure they’d have all be high on confidence now. The way we should expect it to play out should be Crabtree big body therefore red zone receivers. John Brown, speedy, downfield threat and Snead in the slot. (In theory…) At tight end they’ve got a mix of Nick Boyle, Maxxxxxxx Williams and the rookie Mark Andrews. I’m not confident in any of them, but Bengals got burnt by the tight end last week, they played a lot of bend, don’t break defense and allowed a lot of easy yards in the middle of the field.

They also spread the ball at running back with each of them getting themselves a TD. Alex Collins was the starter, he scored to land our NAP last week, but also fumbled and was taken out of the game after 7 carries for 13 yards. They brought in Javorius “Buck” Allen for a few plays, he scored, and Kenneth Dixon eventually got the most carries and a TD, however Dixon got injured so that’s one threat gone for him. Collins will be the starter again and the Bengals are likely to be pretty soft in the middle of the field.

Joe Flacco seems to be re-born since they Ravens drafted his probable replacement in Lamar Jackson. He had a pretty flawless game last week, 25/34 with 3 TDs, once again, can’t buy into that too much. One thing that is probably even less relevant is Flacco’s last 9 games in Cincinnati, he’s 3-6. That was with a very different team to this one, so not entirely sure it’s hugely relevant! Lamar Jackson was brought in last week due to the blowout and was also seen in some interesting 2 QB sets, he had 7 rushes for 39 yards, the best average of any of the guys with rush attempts, and that’s the kind of frustrating bullshit the Bengals fall for.


 

I watched the Bengals game live expecting BIG things from our pass rush and defense in general, I was frankly, disappointed. I thought they’d blow up a poor Colts offensive line, but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of pressure on Andrew Luck for the majority of the game. In fairness to them they came alive in the 4th quarter after a bullshit call took away a Carlos Dunlap sack which led to the Bengals taking the ball down inside the redzone, obviously it got called back. He and Geno Atkins signed some huge deals before the start of the season and started to pay it back immediately. That D-Line will need to be better today against a very good offensive line unit from Baltimore.

Andy Dalton has a reputation for failing in prime-time and it’s not without merit, they haven’t won a playoff game with him there, and his overall prime-time record is 5-14, with a 22:20 TD/INT, including a dreadful game against the Texans in the TNF opener this time last year. He is 2-1 in the last 3 in prime time though, and the last time he faced the Ravens he led the Bengals to a win and knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs. He had a good enough performance last week against the Colts but will need to play well tonight for the Bengals to win.

AJ Green is one of the best in the game and is usually Dalton’s favourite target, he’s a pleasure to watch, a rangy, strong WR with a huge wingspan, he usually plays well against Baltimore as well, In 10 career games against the Ravens, Green has 48 catches for 817 yards and 6 touchdowns, that was usually doing it pretty much by himself. The start of this season is different! Tyler Eifert is fit and trained during the week, when he’s involved good things usually happen for the team, John Ross the speedster is on the outside and he showed his short yardage speed last week getting free from the 3 yard line. Tyler Boyd is a name that the Ravens will hope they don’t hear too much tonight as he was the one who killed their playoff hopes last year, he’s a solid slot receiver and adds an extra threat for the team.

The main threat for the Bengals will probably be their work-horse back, Joe Mixon. He was on the field for 79% of snaps last week, 44 snaps, he had 22 touches on those snaps for 149 total yards in the rushing and receiving game. They actually only gave Gio Bernard 1 carry, which resulted in a loss, he had a few wheel routes and in the pre-season was set outside a few times as well, they’ll move him around to get him in the game, and they should do too, he looked great last week!


Summary –

I won’t be recommending anything for tonight, it’s too tough for me to figure out what’s going to go on and who will do what, I pushed a few bets on Monday which I shouldn’t have done and it cost me, so this game is a miss for me.

Taking the road team on a short week is not usually a good thing. But the Ravens had the opportunity to rest a lot of their starters after half time on Sunday and keep them fresh. The Bengals don’t do well in prime-time and I have worries over the O-Line. On the flip side the Bengals are a different team this year and looked good on offense last week.

I am leaning towards the Ravens winning, and the unders, Thursday night games are usually quite close, low scoring affairs, but honestly, this is one to avoid from on a betting front. – It looks like 2/3rds of the people voting on my poll on twitter feel similar!

If, for some reason you want to get up at 1am for this game and want some interest bets then Skybet have their RaB offer on again, bet £10, get a free £5. I have requested that Redzone price up Lamar Jackson to score anytime as he’s not on any of the lists available at the moment for some reason.

So, I lied – I put out 

  • Andy Dalton o0.5 INT at 4/6 on Skybet earlier in the week, that’s come in to 8/15 now. I think he will throw one still, but it’s a few points down on the return it would have been, so it’s up to you. He’s 7/4 to throw the MOST INTs which is probably not a bad bet

I’m actually really looking forward to this game as a Bengals fan, it should be quite informative of where these teams are this season.

Fingers crossed for 2-0, and top of the division! WHODEY!

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