The Cincinnati Bengals head northeast to Foxboro, Mass., to oppose the New England Patriots the day before Christmas. Cincinnati will be coming in as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, riding a six-game win streak, while the New England Patriots are one of roller-coaster teams in the league. The Bengals are listed as 3½-point favorites (total at 41½), according to BetUS sportsbook NFL odds.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots Odds by BetUS
|Bengals||-3½ (-110)||41 (-110)||-190|
|Patriots||+3½ (-110)||41 (-110)||+160|
Bengals’ Half-Dozen in Row
At 10-4, Cincinnati Bengals are one of the best teams in the NFL, with their win streak at six. The Bengals scored 27 unanswered points in a second-half blitz last Sunday, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 34-23. While last season’s AFC champions clicked on offense, it was the defense that turned the game, with two Tom Brady interceptions and two fumbles by the quarterback as well.
Although the Bengals are about to clinch a spot in the playoffs, the AFC North is still undecided. Cincinnati is leading the Baltimore Ravens by a game, with the teams closing the season Jan. 8th in Ohio. Thus, the Super Bowl bridesmaids don’t have the luxury of wiggle room.
The Bengals are of course, led by elite quarterback Joe Burrow who is having another MVP-esque season. Burrow (27-of-39, 200 yards, four touchdowns against the Bucs) has 3,885 passing yards (31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions), his seasonal surge coinciding with that of the team. It isn’t a perfect offense, however, as the running game could bring more to the table. However, with Burrow at the helm, and a receiver corps led by Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgijns, they are formidable. Burrow and Chase were selected to the Pro Bowl.
Cincy, not surprisingly, has taken a ton of wagering action of late. The Bengals are a solid third choice (+375) to win the AFC, as per NFL conference odds.
Patriots in Wild-Card Picture
The New England Patriots, entering this game at 7-7, are part of the AFC wild-card scramble. The Pats’ mindset shall be interesting, that after what’s probably the worst loss in the 60-odd- year history of the franchise (dating back to the AFL). New England has been mocked all week with the way it incinerated the game at Las Vegas against the Raiders. A tie game at 24, as the fourth-quarter time was expiring, when a beyond-ill-advised Jakobi Meyers lateral was picked off by Raiders’ edge rusher Chandler Jones. Jones then plowed over quarterback Mac Jones, running into the end zone with a touchdown that won the game, 30-24.
Having lost three of their last four, the Patriots are certainly not playing their best football down the home stretch of the season. Without running back Damien Harris, who will likely miss more time with an injured thigh, the Patriots need to rely heavily on rookie rusher Rhamondre Stevenson, Stevenson, also involved in that fiasco of a lateral, has had ankle issues.
Bengals to Win/Cover
There’s no question that the New England Patriots will be coming into this game with far more desperation and determination. However, the Patriots do not have the consistency on either end of the football to compete with how well Bengals are playing at the moment. Cincinnati doesn’t beat itself, so they should be able to handle the Patriots, and cover the spread as well.
The Cincinnati Bengals have scored 27 or more points in three of their last five games. While the New England offense isn’t explosive, defense is ranked eighth in the league. Regardless, the total seems to be a bit light here. Expect the Pats to contribute their share. Take the over.