BALTIMORE (-8.5) 24 Cincinnati 17
Baltimore is still winning games, but the Ravens are doing things a bit differently this season by winning with a better offense and a mediocre defense rather than a dominating defense and a mediocre offense. The Ravens actually haven't been all that great so far, as their improved offense is only 0.3 yards per play better than average (6.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl to an average team) while their defense has given up 5.2 yppl to a collection of teams that would average only 5.2 yppl against an average team.
The Ravens were able to limit bad offensive teams Kansas City and Cleveland to an average of just 187 total yards but they gave up an average of 397 yards at 6.1 yppl to San Diego and New England. Cincinnati's offense is somewhere in between, as the Bengals are not as bad as KC and Cleveland but not as good at the Chargers and Pats.
Cincy is actually slightly worse than average offensively so far this season, averaging 5.0 yppl against teams that would allow 5.2 yppl to an average team, but the Bengals' defense has played well in allowing just 5.1 yppl (excluding the fluke 87 yard tipped pass TD by Denver that beat them in week 1) to teams that would combine to average 5.4 yppl against an average defensive team.
The Ravens only have a slight edge on Cincinnati overall from the line of scrimmage, but they have an edge in special teams and in projected turnovers.
My math model favors Baltimore by just 5 1/2 points and I'll lean with the Bengals plus the points despite a solid 176-98-5 ATS statistical indicator that favors Baltimore.
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