Consensus line: Bengals -4, total 44.5
Current betting percentage: 74% on the Bengals, 58% on the OVER
Individual Team Trends:
- Bengals are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Bengals are 9-4-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Bengals are 1-7-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a S.U. loss. (Streaky team)
- Eagles are 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 home games.
- Under is 5-0 in Bengals last 5 games overall.
- Over is 9-3 in Bengals last 12 games following a S.U. loss.
- Over is 4-0 in Eagles last 4 home games.
- Bengals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
Well, the good news is that the Thursday Nighter this week can’t possibly be any worse than the Broncos-Raiders matchup from last Thursday. The bad news is that it’ll still probably suck. But at least we can still wager on it to make things interesting.
The Bengals are coming off of a narrow 20-19 loss at the hands of the Cowboys last Sunday. It won’t be easy for them to travel on short week after an emotional loss, but the Eagles could also be in a similar flat spot after their last second victory over the Bucs. Both teams have a number of matchups that they should be able to exploit.
The Eagles defense stinks. Philadelphia has surrendered an average of 30.9 points per game in the seven games since their Week 7 bye. Not good. To make matters worse, they just don’t have the personnel to hold up against the Bengals offense. It’s no secret that wide receiver A.J. Green in Cincinnati’s top offensive weapon, and this looks like a dream matchup for the former Georgia standout.
Green is set to square off against Nnamdi Asomugha, who was once one of the league’s best cornerbacks. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Asomugha is now a major liability. To make matters worse, Philadelphia’s safety combination of Nate Allen and David Sims isn’t going to be a big help in coverage down the field. Even if the Eagles employ a gameplan to bracket Green, the Bengals still have a couple of other strong contributors in the passing game with Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins.
Andy Dalton has proven to be very inconsistent in his short time in the NFL, but this is a matchup that’ll make him lick his chops. A couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that Dalton is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league against the blitz. Well, fortunately for Dalton, the Eagles don’t like to blitz very often as they try to use their front four to generate pressure while allowing extra players to drop into coverage. Dalton could be in line for a huge night.
And even if the Bengals’ passing game mysteriously struggles, they should be able to rely on their running game to keep the chains moving. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is averaging 5.4 yards per game over his last four contests and will like his chances for success against an Eagles’ front seven that just surrendered 128 rushing yards to Doug Martin. The Bengals’ threat of burning Philadelphia downfield will allow for Green-Ellis to have another solid outing.
On the other side of the ball, it looks as though Nick Foles is going to need to have another strong performance for the Eagles to hang around. Foles is improving week in and week out, but he’ll find it much more difficult to move the ball against Cincinnati than it was against Tampa Bay last week. Foles has a strong arm and has developed solid chemistry with both Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, so he definitely could enjoy some success this week.
The biggest issue facing Foles is whether or not he’ll be able to hold up against the Bengals’ pass rush. Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson are two strong pass rushing defensive ends, while Geno Atkins may be the best defensive tackle in the league. The Bengals’ defensive line has a HUGE advantage over the Eagles’ offensive line so Foles will have to get the ball out of his hands quickly to avoid pressure.
It will be interesting to see if Philadelphia can get Bryce Brown involved in the offense again. Brown ran for only six yards on 12 carries last week, but that was against the Bucs’ #1-ranked rush defense. Cincinnati’s run defense has been solid as of late, surrendering just 55 yards in their last two games, but they have been run on at times this season. The Eagles will need Brown to pick up some yardage on the ground to take some pressure off of Foles.
In the end, I see both offenses being able to move the ball fairly consistently, but Cincinnati’s superior talent level should allow them to pull out a narrow victory. One thing to keep an eye on is whether or not the Bengals look ahead to their upcoming matchups against the Steelers and Ravens. It’s always difficult to travel on a short week and if Cincinnati overlooks Philadelphia here, they could easily wind up on the short end of the stick.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Eagles 24
Recommendation: I rarely bet on totals, but in this matchup I actually prefer the total to the side. I’m riding over 44.5 -105 at Pinnacle. I personally feel as though 44.5 is a bargain since the number has fallen 2.5 points from the opening total of 47. I could have easily gone with the Eagles +4, especially with Cincinnati’s look-ahead factor here, but I’m not sure I can trust the Eagles after an emotional win.
Good luck with your plays tonight. Let me know who you’re siding with.