On Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals open up their 2018 NFL season by traveling across I-74 to take on the Indianapolis Colts. These two teams went against each other in the final game of the preseason, which neither organization played their starters and kept their schemes very basic. This week, both teams will look to start off the regular season with a big win. Kickoff inside Lucas Oil Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
|Betting Data History||Cincinnati Bengals||Indianapolis Colts|
|Current S/U record||0-0||0-0|
|S/U in 2017||7-9||4-12|
|2017 ATS Home||4-4||5-3|
|2017 ATS Away||5-3||3-5|
|2017 O/U Home||3-5||2-6|
|2017 O/U Away||4-4||4-4|
The Colts and Bengals are separated by just 110 miles, making Indy the closest geographical rival to Cincinnati. Since 1970, these two teams have played each other 30 times in the regular season and postseason. Indy has the advantage with an all-time record of 19-11. Last year, the Bengals edged out the Colts by a score of 24 to 23. However, the Colts have won 9 out of the last 12 head to head meetings.
The Bengals come into this matchup with a renewed energy about them. Head coach Marvin Lewis returned after many thought he would be fired. He has a new coaching staff, which breathed new life into the team. Additionally, the Bengals appeared to have retooled their offense especially along the offensive line. QB Andy Dalton could be poised for a big year. RB Mixon and WR Green are also expected to have big seasons.
For the Colts, it all begins and ends with QB Andrew Luck. The franchise QB returned from missing all of 2017 with a shoulder injury and he will be tasked with getting this organization back on a winning track. New head coach Frank Reich brings his exciting offense to Indy as they also seemed to have improved a poor Colts defense. However, there are still question marks along the o-line and the wide receiver group is nothing to brag about after top WR TY Hilton.
The spread opened with the Colts favored by 1.5 points. It dropped down to 1 point before making its way up to 3.5 points. Currently, it’s settled in at Indy -3 points. The Over/Under opened at 47 total points and has settled at 46.5 total points.
Last year, the Bengals scored on a defensive TD late in the 4th quarter to take the lead and eventually win the game. Dalton went 17 of 29 for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. Joe Mixon finished with 109 total yards and AJ Green even had a TD score. However, there have been some significant changes with the Bengals since last year’s game.
Most notably, their receivers look more dangerous than before especially now that the speedster John Ross is ready to take off this year. It will also be interesting to see how many snaps TE Tyler Eifert gets now that he’s returned from injuries that have plagued him over the last few seasons.
For the Colts, Jacoby Brissett commanded the offense last year with Frank Gore leading the rushing attack. Both players will have no impact on this game as Brissett is the backup QB and Gore is on the Dolphins. One player that should continue his success from last year’s head to head meeting is tight end Jack Doyle who finished the game with 12 receptions for 121 yards and 1 TD. Don’t forget about the ageless wonder in Colts kicker Ada Vinatieri who knocked in 3 field goals last year during this I-74 battle.
I actually think the difference this weekend will be that the Colts settle for field goals while the Bengals score touchdowns. Both teams will have some ups and downs this weekend, but I believe that Cincy will get the best of Indy on Sunday.
The Bengals are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 AFC games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games. Indy is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 overall games, 1-6 SU in their last 7 games, 1-4 SU in their last 5 home games, 5-8 ATS in their last 13 games when favored by +3 to -3 and 5-9 SU during that same span. Over the last 3 years, Indy is 8-16 SU against the AFC and 1-4 SU against the AFC North.
Cincy went 5-3 ATS on the road last year and the Colts went 3-5 SU at home last season. One final stat that is worth noting, the Colts are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 Week 1 games.
I like the Bengals in this contest. I believe Cincy has flown under the radar this offseason with their roster makeover and their coaching staff overhaul. I think the Colts need more time to gel as an offense and I believe that their o-line is going to have a tough time against the Bengals front 7.
Look for Dalton to connect with Green on several occasions and Ross to take the top off the defense. I expect Mixon to surpass 125 total yards and for the Bengals to win the battle in the trenches. Colts QB Andrew Luck is going to be under pressure for most of the game. Additionally, the Bengals should be able to limit Indy’s run game as well. The safe bet is the Bengals spread, but I feel the money line is also worth taking as I believe Cincy wins this game outright 23 to 19.
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