Ravens Bengals Betting – Ravens Face Bengals In Supremely Important Season Finale
The Baltimore Ravens are playing for positioning on the final day of the 2011 NFL regular season. The Cincinnati Bengals are playing for something much more precious: their lives.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals - Sunday, January 1Sports betting line: Baltimore -1.5
Why Baltimore Will WinThe NFL betting lines experts who set the numbers each week are mindful that this is a backyard war, and that – accordingly – these AFC North Division rivals probably won’t be separated by a great many points. It’s true that Cincinnati made a bold fourth-quarter rally the last time these teams met (earlier this season in Baltimore), and it’s also true that the Bengals have clearly overachieved this season. Few observers could have expected this normally snake-bitten franchise to win nine games (with a chance for 10) under the leadership of a first-year quarterback, TCU’s Andy Dalton. The Bengals have surpassed expectations by any reasonable measure.
However, that’s precisely why the Ravens have been installed as a slight favorite for this game, even on the road. The Bengals, as good as they’ve been, have also shown glimpses of their most incompetent selves; Cincinnati reminds its fans every now and then that it has gained the nickname “Bungles” for good reasons. Cincinnati was dominating the Houston Texans a few weeks ago but somehow allowed backup quarterback T.J. Yates to lead the AFC South champions to a 20-19 victory. The Bengals were thrashing Arizona on Christmas Eve – 23-0 with 3:09 left in the third quarter – only to watch the Cardinals come within a whisker of forcing a 23-all overtime tie. Arizona would have tied the game if receiver Early Doucet hadn’t stumbled in the end zone before a fourth-down pass floated in his general direction. The point is plain with the Bengals: They might build leads, but they don’t hold onto them. This is a fragile unit which cannot be trusted with significant game pressure. Cincinnati faces a “win-and-in, lose-and-likely-miss-the-playoffs” scenario on Sunday afternoon. This is typically not the kind of situation in which the Bengals come through.
Why Cincinnati Will WinWhen you do your homework and assess your sports bet on this game, you’ll accept the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have been less consistent than the Baltimore Ravens over the past 12 years. However, you’ll also notice in the course of doing your homework that Baltimore is hardly putting opponents away. The Ravens skated by the Cleveland Browns this past weekend by a scant six-point margin. Baltimore hasn’t won a game by more than two scores since a 34-17 victory over the New York Jets on Oct. 2. The Ravens do own quality wins over Pittsburgh (twice) and San Francisco, but they haven’t tallied more than 24 points in a game since Nov. 20. Baltimore’s opponent that day? Cincinnati. Yes, the Bengals are very likely to play a stronger defensive game when they face the Ravens this time around. Playoff urgency exists for Baltimore – the Ravens are trying to clinch the AFC North Division title and a first-round bye in the postseason – but Cincinnati’s win-and-in situation should give the Bengals even more motivational fuel. Baltimore is unlikely to deliver an early knockout punch, thereby enabling Cincinnati to hang around and then win in the end.
Who Will WinIt’s a very tough game to pick, but in the final analysis, Baltimore has endured a lot more high-pressure situations than Cincinnati has in recent years. The Ravens are a more battle-tested club, and that small measure of real-world experience will enable Baltimore to prevail this Sunday in Cincinnati.
NFL Football Betting Pick: Baltimore