Deep Dive: Bengals @ Ravens
My football gambling picks have been atrocious lately and I think the issue is that I have no idea what the hell I am looking at. The computer models suck, the gut decisions are worse, and the bankroll is suffering. So this week, I thought instead of analyzing all the games and picking based on certain metrics, I would go deep into one game and to see where my logic is falling apart. For this I am choosing the Bengals @ Ravens. Why you ask? Because I have a stock photo of Lamar Jackson that I have been itching to use. Enjoy.
Points Per Game:
I am going to ignore week one for both teams because both the Ravens' and Bengals' opponents have radically shifted their game plans since then. Looking at the Ravens points per game, they scored 33 points against the Texans, 20 points against the Chiefs, and 31 points against the Football Team. The average points allowed per game for those teams are 31.5, 17.5, and 28, respectively.
So this to me would signal that they are scoring 2-3 above the average of each opponent. The Bengals are averaging 24.75 points allowed per game so I would expect the Ravens to score 27-28 points.
Now to look at the Bengals. The Bengals, after posting an offensive dud in week one (hindsight 20-20 the Chargers' defense is much better than expected this year), have been on an offensive tear averaging just above 28 points in the last 3 games. They scored 30 points against the Browns, 23 points against the Eagles, and 33 points against the Jaguars. When comparing points scored to the defenses' average performances, this is about average for the Browns, below average for the Eagles, and above average for the Jaguars.
The Ravens are averaging just under 19 points allowed per game. In fact, the only team to score more than 20 points against the Ravens is the Chiefs and I don't believe the Bengals' offense to be comparable. I believe the Bengals will score between 16-17 points and fall just below the Ravens' points allowed average.
Going forward I am going to use 28-17 Ravens as my baseline score. That would mean I would take the Ravens -10.5 and the over on 44.5
Next I want to look at who is missing from the game. I have no objectionable way of grading their impact so I will use Madden ratings as a baseline. Here is the current injury report for both teams:
The only name that really stands out here is Ronnie Stanley. While Marcus Peters and Lamar Jackson are listed in the report, they have yet to miss any weeks so I would expect them to play. Stanley meanwhile is the only player on this list with over an 85 rating who has played this season and missed weeks. Baltimore had no issue scoring with him out of the lineup last week so I would expect the same this week.
No change in my initial forecast: 28-17 Ravens.
Baltimore has yet to allow more than 150 yards rushing while Cincinnati has allowed 150+ yards 3 of the 4 weeks in the season. Meanwhile Baltimore has rushed for over 100 yards every week so far- it would appear that this Cincinnati's lack of rushing defense will play to Baltimore's strength.
Lamar Jackson is averaging 58.75 rushing yards per game. With Cincinnati's tendency to give up rushing yards, I like the prop of Lamar to rush for over 54.5 yards (-114).
Cincinnati attempts and completes more passes for more passing yards. Despite this, they still have scored less passing touchdowns than Baltimore throughout the season. I think this has a lot to do with Cincinnati having a rookie quarterback and Baltimore's offense being far more efficient.
I am going to stick with my initial estimate of 28-17 Ravens. When I started writing this article, Cincinnati was getting 13.5 points and now the line has moved to 11.5. With a line that tight I don't think I am going to take either team however I like the under and for Lamar Jackson to rush for over 54.5 yards.
Data provided by www.pro-football-reference.com
Lines provided by www.bovada.lv