But Cincy is 10-1 both straight up and against the spread in its last 11 home games. The AFC North-champion Bengals host playoff-hopeful Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.
Point spread: Bengals opened as five-point favorites; the total was 44.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 26.8-19.2 Bengals
Why the Ravens can cover the spread
After getting blown out at home by New England last Sunday, the defending Super Bowl champs need a victory and help from elsewhere to make the playoffs. Baltimore had won four games in a row, and after losing some close games earlier this year, had won three straight squeakers.
Offensively the Ravens still rank in the bottom third of the league in some key categories, but defensively they rank ninth both overall and against the run.
Why the Bengals can cover the spread
Cincy has already clinched the division, but it's still got a shot at the second seed in the AFC and the first-round bye that comes with it. The Bengals just bombed Minnesota 42-14 for their third win in their last four games, and they've scored at least 40 points in three of their last five games.
Cincy ranks 10th in the league in total offense, sixth in total defense and fifth in average time-of-possession. So far this NFL season, teams that have won the TOP battle have covered the spread 61 percent of the time.
They have also covered every home game in 2013 and are 10-1 SU and ATS in 11 home games.
Odds Shark's computer is calling for a Bengals victory and cover in a game that plays OVER the total. But Baltimore needs this one more than Cincy. The Ravens were 4-6 and in big trouble just a few weeks ago, as far as making the playoffs was concerned, but with four wins in their last five games, they're showing life at just the right time.
Baltimore has also had good luck against the Bengals recently, including a 20-17 victory in overtime back in Week 10. The Ravens are getting five points on the NFL betting line, but they might not even need them.
- Ravens are 5-1 SU past six versus the Bengals
- Ravens are 5-2 ATS past seven as road underdogs
- Bengals are 10-1 SU and ATS past 11 home games
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