NFL Week 17 Picks: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Predictions
- The Baltimore Ravens are 9-5-1 ATS, including having covered in five straight
- The over has hit in three of the Ravens last four games and the last two games for the Bengals
This is a huge mismatch between two teams in very different situations. The Bengals were superb in their last two games, but this a very different situation. The Ravens are a team on fire and highly motivated. Earlier in the season, the Ravens defeated the Bengals 27-3 with Joe Burrow under center. This time the Ravens are taking on Brandon Allen.
The Ravens offense has gone into overdrive in the past few weeks. Since Week 13, they have averaged 37 points per game, scoring over 40 points twice. They have crushed teams with their running game, carrying the ball for over 200 yards in three of the last four. At 5.3 yards per attempt, the Ravens are the most efficient rushing offense in the league, and it has hidden deficiencies in their passing game.
The Bengals defense stepped up big against the Steelers, but they have allowed over 30 points in two of the last three. They have been especially vulnerable against the run game, allowing 4.8 yards per attempt and 131 yards per game. Across the board, the Bengals defense ranks in the bottom half, and it tough to see how they can stop a motivated Ravens team from having their way with them.
Offensively the Bengals offense woke up last week with 540 total yards. However, racking up yards against the Houston Texans is a very different proposition to the Ravens. On the season, the Bengals rank 28th in yards per passing attempt, 29th in rushing yards per attempt, and 26th in points per drive. They can be effective against bad defense or teams that make mistakes, but they will struggle against a strong ball control team like the Ravens.
The Ravens defense has not been terrifying but it has been solid. They ranks fourth in terms of net yards per passing attempt, 14th in yards per rushing attempt, and fifth in points per drive. They are extremely goo when it comes to defending on third down, ranking second in the league with a conversion percentage of 35.2.
The biggest factor here is how long the Ravens go hard for. There will be an element of wanting to beat a division rival, but they will also have half an eye on the playoffs. It would be no surprise to see Lamar Jackson miss a big chunk of the second half if this game looks comfortable. However, the Ravens defense should play the majority of the game. That is why, despite the circumstances, the Ravens -13 is still a solid option here.
The Ravens have restricted teams under 20 points in four of their last five and all they need to do then is score 30 points. That is something they have done in three of their last four. The biggest risk is if the Ravens are up by three touchdowns at half time, then they may relax and let the Bengals get close. However, with the playoffs on the line, the Ravens will not rest people until this game is put away.
If you do not feel comfortable giving 13 points to the Bengals, then take this spread down to seven or three as part of a teaser. In terms of the total, 44 feels a touch on the low side. The Ravens should be able to score 30 points against the Bengals defense, and the Bengals may pick up some cheap points late. However, with uncertainty around how the Ravens play this in the second half, I am steering away from the total in this game.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Baltimore Ravens -13 @ -106
NFL Free Picks
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