Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Pick – Cincinnati (-227)
The NFL Playoffs begin this weekend when the Las Vegas Raiders travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday afternoon in the AFC Wild Card round. Las Vegas will look to keep its thrilling streak alive, as they won the last four games of the regular season by a combined 12 points, when a loss in any of those games would have knocked them out of the playoff hunt.
Cincinnati is coming off an unlikely AFC North title after they were picked to finish last in the division by most experts in the preseason. The action begins on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 PM Eastern Time from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Game Preview
The Raiders and Bengals have been meeting since 1968, with Vegas leading the way in the series 21-12. In the two previous playoff matchups between the two teams (1975 and 1991, both coming in the AFC Divisional round), the Raiders won both. Cincinnati won the previous game between these two teams this season, picking up a 32-13 win on November 21 in Vegas.
The Raiders have overcome the loss of their head coach and two former first round picks this season. Sitting at 6-7 with their playoff hopes on fumes, they rolled off four straight victories, all coming in the closing moments of the game. Their thrilling overtime victory over the Chargers on Sunday night clinched their ticket to the playoffs, their first appearance since the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.
The Bengals were just another team in the middle of the pack in the AFC North with four games left to play. But they then tore off three consecutive victories, including an impressive win over Kansas City, to win the AFC North for the first time since 2015, which was also their last playoff appearance. Cincinnati lost a meaningless game to Cleveland in the season finale in a game where they rested many of their starters.
Opening Odds and Line Movement for Game
When this game was settled Sunday night, the Bengals were installed as a 6-point favorite. It briefly jumped a half-point up to 6 1/2. But the latest money has gone in the Raiders’ direction, dropping the spread down to 5 1/2 points.
The over/under line has stayed relatively steady throughout the week. It was initially set at 49, before briefly spending some time a little bit higher at 49.5. Most recently, the over/under dropped back down once again to its initial spot of 49.
Head to Head Betting Trends
Cincinnati defeated the Raiders 32-13 on November 21 of the 2021-22 regular season in Las Vegas, covering the spread as a 2-ppoint favorite in a game that went under the over/under line of 51
The Bengals have won four of their last five games over the Raiders and have covered the spread in all five of those games
The Raiders haven’t won in Cincinnati since all the way back in 1995, losing three straight on the Bengals’ home field since then
In the Bengals four most recent wins over the Raiders, the margin of victory has been, on average, just over 19 points
In the last 11 games in this series, the under has been the right bet eight times, compared to just twice for the over and one push
Las Vegas Raiders Betting Trends
The Raiders won their last four games of the 2021-22 NFL regular season and covered the spread in their last three
The under was the right bet in three of the last four games played by Las Vegas
Just three of the eight games that the Raiders played on the road this season went over the projected points total
The Raiders played six games this year where they were an underdog of between 3 1/2 and 9 1/2 points, and they won outright and covered the spread in five of those games
Las Vegas has covered the spread in playoff games at a rate of 56 percent since 1993
They’ve won five of their last six games over the AFC North since 2019, covering the spread in three of those six contests
The Raiders covered the spread in four of their nine games against teams with winning records this season
Over the last three seasons, the Raiders have covered the spread in only 36 percent of their games against teams that had beaten them earlier in the season
Cincinnati Bengals Betting Trends
The Bengals covered the spread in their last four games of the regular season
The over was the right bet in six of the nine games that the Bengals played at home this season
Since 2005, the Bengals have played in seven playoff games, losing all seven outright and going just 0-6-1 against the spread
Cincinnati covered the spread in four of their six games played against AFC West teams since the start of the 2019 season
The Bengals both won outright and covered the spread in eight of the 12 games this season they played against other AFC teams
Cincy was 6-2, both outright and against the spread, when playing against teams with a winning record this season
They’ve covered the spread at a rate of just 45 percent when playing as the favorite over the past three seasons
The Bengals are two games under .500 against the spread in home games played over the past three seasons
Free Bet and Game Prediction:
The first time that these two teams met, the 32-13 final score wasn’t that indicative of the flow of the actual game. Vegas cut the Bengals lead down to three early in the fourth quarter. But Cincinnati scored the last 16 points thanks to some poorly-timed Raiders turnovers, making the game look like more of a blowout than it actually was.
Las Vegas actually did a nice job containing Joe Burrow and the high-powered Bengals passing attack. Burrow threw for a season-low 148 yards, and the devastating combination of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were held to just 47 combined yards. The Raiders did allow six catches to slot man Tyler Boyd, but they basically kept the lid on the Bengals big-play offense.
What they didn’t do was contain Joe Mixon, as the Bengals running back pounded away for 123 yards on 30 carries. That was during a stretch in the season where Cincy really emphasized the run to help take the pressure off their defense. They’ve since gone pass-heavy with Burrow putting up monster numbers down the stretch, so it will be interesting to see how they play it on Saturday afternoon in what could be brutally cold conditions.
Joe Mixon can't wait for his fourth career game against the Raiders, he's been wildly successful against them:
By concentrating on Mixon, the Bengals dominated the time of possession in that game, with over 37 minutes to the Raiders 22. That left Derek Carr and company scrambling to make what they could out of their limited opportunities. Vegas struggled mightily on third down in that game, converting on only one of seven chances, and that will obviously have to change.
One of the keys in this one will be whether the Raiders will be able to run the ball, especially if the weather restricts Carr’s passing. They were a bit impatient with it in the first meeting, as they averaged four yards a pop but only managed 18 carries. The good news is that Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is coming in on a bit of a hot streak, with both of his 100-yard rushing games coming in the last three weeks.
If they can run it a bit, it will allow Carr chances to work the middle of the field in play action. With Darren Waller a bit more removed from the injury that kept him out a bunch of games late in the year, he figures to be heavily involved on Saturday. Even with the Raiders’ offense scuffling in that first meeting, he still picked up 116 yards on seven catches.
One other thing to watch: penalties. The Raiders were penalized for more yards than any other team in the league this season, while the Bengals were second-best in the league in avoiding penalty yards. In that Bengals victory in November, Cincy had 5 penalty yards to the Raiders’ 77, which is a big difference in such a close game.
As far as intangibles go, these two teams are both riding high with their late-season play. But you shouldn’t be fooled by their identical records. The Raiders were -65 in points margin, compared to the Bengals coming in at +84, suggesting that Vegas’ margin for error is much slimmer than Cincy’s.
Las Vegas deserves all the credit in the world for what they pulled off at the end of the year, but Cincy has all the firepower going for it. Even if the weather is rough, Burrow should be able to light up the Vegas secondary in much the same way that Justin Herbert did in that Sunday night game. Add in what should be a rowdy home crowd in Cincinnati and it looks like the Bengals should not only get their first playoff win in three decades, but they should do so convincingly.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Betting Recap:
Moneylines: Las Vegas +197, Cincinnati -227
Spread: Las Vegas +5.5 (-113), Cincinnati -5.5 (-107)
Over/Under: 49 (Over -110, Under -110)
Prediction: Cincinnati Bengals 27, Las Vegas Raiders 13
Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog.
For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...
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