Sunday Night Football Betting: Can the Bengals Sustain Their Recent Success Against the Spread?

Baltimore and Cincinnati are ready to duke it out on Sunday night. What betting angles provide some intrigue?

Two surprising 2-2 teams head to Baltimore, where the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens are both desperately in need of a victory. The Ravens have lost their last five games at home, and facing a divisional rival, they surely don't want to make it six.

Our nERD-based rankings highlight that this contest could be a beast; both teams rank inside the top-11 of our power rankings. Let's check out into some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Game Preview and Key Matchups

Unfairly, Lamar Jackson is rudely dismissed as a running back that purports to be a quarterback. Not only is that gross negligence, it discounts how good the signal-caller has been. Among quarterbacks with 75 or more drop backs in 2022 (32), the University of Louisville product ranks among the league's best in terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, sporting a mark of 0.21, good for eighth-best in the league. That's much better than traditional head man Joe Burrow, who has struggled out of the gate this season with a mark of only 0.09. And all of that ignores that Jackson is indeed a weapon with his legs, carrying the ball 31 times already this year.

Neither team has been good running the football -- we know that Jackson has been great, but lead ball carrier J.K. Dobbins -- returning from an injury and Joe Mixon have both struggled running the rock. Among rushers with 20 or more carries (49), Mixon owns a mark that is third-worst in the league (-0.17), while Dobbins has been microscopically better with a mark of -0.03.

Defensively, this is a tale of two very different units. According to our per-play metrics, Baltimore takes a bit of a step back, clocking in only 21st, while the Bengal defense has kept them in things, ranking fifth. Cincinnati ranks inside the top-10 both against the pass and the rush, so Jackson will certainly have his hands full.

Bets to Consider

The Ravens, as the home side, are getting a pretty familiar line of giving 3.5-points in this contest. Our projection isn't too far off from those lines as we forecast a narrow win for the home Ravens by a margin of 26.0-22.2.

Given how close we see this one playing out, covering that spread looks like a 50-50 coin flip, per our numbers. The same goes for the over of 47.5 points, as we see that as another virtual coin toss.

Comparing player prop lines to our projections, one bet I love, and so do our numbers, is Burrow's over on passing yards.

This Baltimore defense has gotten absolutely demolished through the air. You simply can't forget what Tua Tagovailoa did to the Ravens a few weeks back in a scintillating come-from-behind victory, throwing for six touchdown passes and 469 yards in the victory. We project Burrow as the top passer on the day (295 passing yards), and we haven't yet highlighted Mac Jones's 321 yard passing effort (Week 3). The real key is the Bengal protection of Burrow -- he was sacked 11 times in the first three games, but they've made some alignment changes and he's hit the turf only twice in the last two games. Can they keep Burrow upright to win us this bet?

Historic Betting Trends

-- The Bengals have been an outstanding ATS bet recently, posting a 10-2 mark in their last 12.
-- However, something to keep in mind is how poorly the Bengals have fared on Sunday Night Football. They've lost their 9 contests.
-- In their last five games at home, Baltimore has been pretty mediocre, logging a 2-2-1 ATS mark.