NFL Week 1 Spread Ravens Vs BengalsJosh Bailey
Can Flacco Shake Off Rust to Help Baltimore Win in Cincinnati in Week 1 AFC North Divisional Battle?
The Baltimore Ravens will be hoping that starting quarterback Joe Flacco can shake off the rust when they hit the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an intriguing Week 1 regular season opener for both longtime AFC North division rivals. Not only will Flacco be making his 2017 debut after missing the entire preseason with an injury, but he’ll be doing so against a Bengals team that looks like it significantly improved because of a series of smart offseason moves.
The NFL Week 1 spread favors Cincinnati by 3-points to beat Baltimore. Now, let’s find out which AFC playoff hopeful is going to get the win on Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 PM ET, live from Paul Brown Stadium with this matchup airing on CBS.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals NFL Week 1 Spread & Pick
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
When: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Stream: CBS Sports
NFL Odds: Cincinnati -3
Why Bet the Baltimore Ravens Spread At +3
The Ravens went 4-0 in the preseason by beating the Redskins, Dolphins, Bills, and Saints. In their Week 4 win, the Ravens narrowly got past New Orleans 14-13 as backup quarterback Chase Daniel went 11-for-19 for 103 yards and one touchdown. Now, they’re turning to their longtime starter and hoping for the best although Flacco hasn’t thrown to any of his top three receivers in more than a year.
“It feels good to be back out here with the guys and be a part of everything again,” Flacco said after a recent practice. “Really, it’s been a weird situation the last few weeks, because it’s just something you have to wait out.
When asked about Flacco potentially being rusty, head coach John Harbaugh replied, "I think it’s always a concern as far as the timing and the precision and all that with what you do," Harbaugh said. "I’m sure that’ll be something that we’ll be working on all year.
Baltimore went 8-8 last season and I believe they needed to improve an offense that finished an underwhelming 21st in scoring (21.4 ppg) instead of a defense that finished a respectable ninth in points allowed (20.1 ppg). Instead of addressing their offensive needs, Baltimore did actually improve their defense, particularly in the secondary where they added strong safety Tony Jefferson and veteran cornerback Brandon Carr.
Why Bet the Cincinnati Bengals Spread At -3
Cincinnati went 1-3 in the preseason by beating Tampa Bay in their opener and losing to the Chiefs, Redskins, and Colts. In their 7-6, Week 4 loss to Indianapolis, backup quarterback A.J. McCarron went 20-for-30 for 216 yards. The Bengals went 6-9-1 in 2016 to see their five-year run of reaching the playoffs unceremoniously snapped while finishing third in the AFC North behind both, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
However, Cincinnati made a bunch of excellent moves in the offseason by drafting speedy wide receiver John Ross and gifted running back Joe Mixon while adding veterans like linebacker Kevin Minter and tackle Andre Smith.
The Bengals finished 2016 ranked a solid eighth in points allowed (19.7 ppg) but they struggled offensively by sinking all the way to 24th in scoring (20.3 ppg) after having previously been one of the more potent offenses for a handful of seasons. Now, after their additions that bring both, youth and speed, the Bengals are hoping to become explosive again offensively in 2017.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals NFL Week 1 Pick
While Baltimore beat Cincinnati at home last year 19-14 to snap a five-game losing streak against the Bengals, but Cincinnati extracted their revenge by handing the Ravens a 27-10 loss in their second meeting last season.
More importantly, I can’t understand why the Ravens wanted to improve their secondary but didn’t look to improve their offense more than they did in the offseason when it was clear that they needed to. With the Bengals ranked in the top 10 in points allowed last season, but struggling to score the ball, they addressed their offensive needs in a big way.
The Ravens are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games against their AFC North division rivals but they’re also 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games.
Cincinnati has gone 3-0-1 ATS in their last four Week 1 games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. The Ravens have not won a game in Cincinnati since January 1st, 2012 and they won’t win this one either.
Pick: Cincinnati -3