Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) at Buffalo Bills (13-3)
Game Info: Sunday, January 22, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. EST (Highmark Stadium)
Betting Odds: Bills (-6) / Over/Under (48.5)
Pick: Bengals (+6)
In a rematch of a game we got a few weeks ago that was cut short by the tragic incident involving Damar Hamlin, in the first Divisional game on Sunday the Bengals will take on the Bills in Highmark Stadium.
Cincinnati has been the hottest team in the league in the last few months. They have won 9 straight games, covering in 7 out of 9 of those along the way. Joe Burrow will be without 3 of his starting offensive lineman in this one, but they haven't been particularly good all year blocking in the first place, so the difference isn't as big as everyone is expecting. On the perimeter, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd will be up against a below-par secondary that they should be able to feast on all game. Head Coach Zac Taylor and Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan have been able to put out outstanding game plans in the last few weeks, and I see no reason why that won't continue this week. A quick pass game is the way to go to beat this Bills team in order to keep their potent offense on the sideline, and the Bengals have the perfect combo to exploit this. If they can limit the big plays let up on defense, we could be in for a tight match on Sunday afternoon.
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Buffalo is widely accepted as one of the best teams in the league, and we are certainly right to believe that. In saying this though, they aren't invincible. Josh Allen has the most turnovers in the league at the quarterback position with 19, in which goes under the radar frequently. He is going to make tons of flashy plays all night as he always does, but against one of the best offenses in the league, if he makes a few too many mistakes as he has been prone to all year, Buffalo may be on the ropes early. This is me pointing out the negatives though. Every team has a few downsides, but the Bills have far more positives than negatives, so let's take a look at a few of those. They rank 5th in yards per game on offense, 6th in rushing, and 3rd on 3rd down conversion percentage. All of these pair up extremely well for a 13-3 team. They have won 8 games in a row, covering in half of those games. But, this will by far be the toughest team they have played since week 6, when they beat the Kansas City Chiefs by 4, so they must come out of the gate ready to go. If they can win, we will get another chapter in the Chiefs-Bills series which has delivered epic performances in the last few years.
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Cincinnati is 9-1 ATS in non-Division games
- Joe Burrow is 12-3 ATS since entering the league as a 3+ point underdog
- Buffalo is 3-5 ATS as a home favorite
I was totally shocked to see the spread of this game climb up to the 6 point range that it is currently sitting at now. The line opened up at 3.5 in favor of the Bills, and I figured it would stay in that range, even if the Bengals O-line was banged up. But...it hasn't. I am all over the Bengals in this one. They will be able to consistently move the ball down the field with their elite trio of receivers. On top of this, the over-adjustment of the line because three starting O-lineman are out for the Bengals just doesn't make too much sense to me. Burrow has dealt with a banged up line his whole career and has prospered time and time again, so why would it change now. Give me the Bengals in this one, as they have way too much value in order to pass up on.
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