The Baltimore Ravens face the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday (9/17/23). Get Ravens Vs. Bengals predictions and best bets below as our best bet is Bengals -3.5. In addition, find the latest betting odds for this AFC North matchup.
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals Prediction & Best Bet
AFC North hostilities are renewed between the Ravens and Bengals this week in what’s sure to be a heated matchup. These teams faced off three times last year, including once in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The Bengals got the best of the season series, and the oddsmakers are favoring them to win for the fifth time in six matchups.
The Ravens earned a convincing win in Week 1 over the Texans, but they left the week with tons of losses on the injury front. Starting running back J.K. Dobbins was lost for the season with a torn Achilles while offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum suffered injuries. That’s problematic for an offense that was unconvincing last week.
Todd Monken’s new look Ravens offense showed some inconsistencies, and Lamar Jackson threw for just 169 yards. He had three turnover-worthy plays per PFF despite an aDOT (average depth of target) of just 5.1 yards, the fifth-lowest in the NFL.
Cincinnati’s offense fared much worse in Week 1 as Joe Burrow’s 45.2 PFF passing grade was his worst since his rookie season. Burrow completed just 45.2% of his passes and averaged just 2.6 yards per attempt in an anemic offensive outing that saw the team generate just 142 yards and six first downs.
However, this stands to be a strong bounceback opportunity for Cincinnati against a Baltimore secondary that’s dealing with its own injury woes. Burrow should fare much better in this matchup against a much weaker secondary than he faced last week.
I bet the Bengals -3 early in the week, but my numbers make this Bengals -4.5, so I see plenty of value in the Bengals laying 3 points at home. Bet on a Burrow bounce back in front of a raucous home crowd.
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals Prediction & Best Bet: Bengals -3
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds
The Bengals opened a 3-point favorites in Week 2 before it was quickly bought out to -3.5. That move is significant as 3 is the most key number in betting football spreads. This game has a total set between 45.5 and 46.5 points depending on the sportsbook you’re using. Both the Ravens’ and Bengals’ games soared under last week, but oddsmakers are expecting more scoring from these teams this week.
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals Key Injuries
The Bengals have been much more fortunate on the injury front to start this season as Joe Burrow’s offseason calf injury was their only notable issue, and he will likely be able to shake off the rust after that first game.
We know Baltimore will be without offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum as well as safety Marcus Williams. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight end Mark Andrews are players to watch after both missed Week 1.
Baltimore Ravens Vs. Cincinnati Bengals Key Matchups
The Ravens and Bengals are two teams intimately familiar with one another, but some key additions on either team could swing this matchup one way or the other. Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups that could decide this AFC North showdown.
Zay Flowers vs. the Bengals’ cornerbacks
Perhaps the biggest positive takeaway from last week’s game for the Ravens was the emergence of rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers. With tight end Mark Andrews out and receivers Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. recovering from injuries, the onus was on the rookie to deliver, and boy did he ever.
Flowers caught nine passes on ten targets for 78 yards, generating 54 of those yards after the catch. His fluidity and agility after the catch is special, and the talent he put on display while at Boston College appears to already be translating to the NFL.
Zay Flowers is shift team certified pic.twitter.com/AX46g0f0yM
— RAMEY (@HoodieRamey) September 10, 2023
The rookie wideout gets a tough matchup here. Chidobe Awuzie is back in the lineup after tearing his ACL last year while second-year corner Cam Taylor-Britt is poised for a breakout season. If Flowers ventures into the slot, he’ll be guarded by Mike Hilton, one of the best in the business.
I wouldn’t expect quite as lofty a performance for Flowers after his nine catches last week, but if Andrews is out this week, he’ll be a crucial part of Baltimore’s passing offense in what’s poised to be a difficult matchup.
Bengals’ offensive line vs Ravens’ pass rushers
I fully expect wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins to find much more success this week than they did last week as they own advantages over a banged up Ravens secondary. However, that doesn’t matter if Joe Burrow doesn’t have protection.
Burrow was pressured on 36.4% of his drop backs last week and he completed just 30% of throws for 2.4 yards per attempt while under pressure. Things should get easier this week after facing Myles Garrett and Za’Darius Smith, perhaps the best edge rusher tandem in the league.
Myles Garrett was toying with the Bengals offensive line yesterday 😭
— PFF (@PFF) September 11, 2023
Cincinnati has tried to get its offensive line right since Burrow arrived there, but it appears to be another year of difficulties in protection. Four of the team’s five starters graded out well below average in pass blocking last week per PFF.
Odafe Oweh is coming off a strong performance with seven pressures and four QB hits against the Texans, and he’ll need to be a big-time producer if Baltimore wants to win this game. Former Michigan edge David Ojabo is a breakout candidate across from him.
Baltimore Ravens Depth Chart
Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart
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