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The Baltimore Ravens are hosting perhaps the most important game of the season on Thursday night when they face the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams are trying to avoid a second consecutive loss within the tight and competitive AFC North.
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As mentioned, both the Bengals and the Ravens lost last week. Those losses helped to tighten the race in the AFC North, which is the only division where all four teams have a winning record. With the Steelers and Browns playing each other on Sunday in another AFC North clash, Thursday’s game has huge ramifications in the race for the division title.
Here are the Odds DraftKings is offering for Thursday’s Bengals vs Ravens game. Bet just $5 on DraftKings and get $150 in Bonus Bets!
|Cincinnati Bengals||+4 (-112)||+160||Over 46 (-110)|
|Baltimore Ravens||-4 (-108)||-192||Under 46 (-110)|
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The Ravens suffered a last-second loss to the Browns last week, snapping Baltimore’s four-game winning streak. Despite the loss, the Ravens are holding a slim lead atop the AFC North standings. However, a loss on Thursday night would mean that the winner of Sunday’s Browns-Steelers game would overtake the Ravens for first place in the division.
Last week’s game could be considered something of an aberration for the Ravens, who allowed 33 points, which is the most they’ve allowed all season. Despite that high point total, the Baltimore defense has still allowed the fewest points in the NFL season, giving up just 15.7 points per game. In fact, the Ravens have held four of their 10 opponents under 10 points. However, that wasn’t the case in Week 2 when they eked out a 27-24 win in Cincinnati.
The Bengals managed to make that a close game despite getting off to a slow start this season. They didn’t hit their stride until a few weeks ago, allowing them to rattle off four straight wins, including a road win over the 49ers. Alas, last week’s 30-27 loss to the Texans broke up Cincinnati’s momentum. Plus, after losing at home last week, the Bengals have to go on the road this week, winning just once in their last five trips to Baltimore.
Cincinnati’s challenge is even greater this week with Tee Higgins set to miss his second straight game. Higgins was the team’s leading receiver against the Ravens in Week 2. He was also on the receiving end of both of Joe Burrow’s touchdown passes in that game. The good news is that Burrow is a lot more mobile now than he was in Week 2 when he was still battling a calf injury. But even with Burrow helping as a runner, the Bengals still have the fewest rushing yards in the league, so they don’t exactly have a balanced offense.
On the contrary, the Ravens lead the NFL in rushing yards, gaining nearly 155 yards per game on the ground. While Baltimore's downfield passing game still leaves something to be desired, Lamar Jackson has completed over 70% of his passes this season, making him one of the most efficient passers in the league. With the best defense in the league supporting Jackson and a balanced Baltimore attack, the Ravens should have enough to win and cover the spread at home Thursday night against a Cincinnati team that’s been hard to predict during an up-and-down season.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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