Free Expert NFL Picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianaplois Colts Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 10/15/2014
Clearly the best overall matchup on Sunday in the NFL is 49ers at Broncos, a potential Super Bowl preview. In fact, that is currently priced at +1200, the second-favored exact Super matchup on Sportsbook.ag. The favorite is Seattle-Denver at +650. However, I looked at the Niners on Monday night and will examine the Broncos in the Thursday Week 8 game. Both will be previewed often because they are marquee teams.
So for my Sunday preview this week I will check out the best early-starting game: Bengals at Colts. This also could easily be a playoff preview. I projected Cincinnati to win the AFC North, and it is atop it right now by one in the loss column over Baltimore. The Bengals are +140 favorites to win the North at Sportsbook.ag. Indianapolis was the easy choice to win the AFC South again this year, and after a slow start that appears likely to happen. The Colts lead second-place Houston by a game atop the South, and they are big -500 betting favorites.
Most everyone thinks that the Broncos and Patriots will be the top two seeds in the AFC, just like last year. Maybe that's true, although I'm still not sold on New England. Still, the winner of this could have a potentially very important tiebreaker edge for hosting a playoff game. Indy is +600 to win the AFC title and Cincinnati +900.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Betting Story Lines
Cincinnati had one of the AFC's best defenses last year and was expected to again in 2014. That was very true when the Bengals started 3-0 as they didn't allow more than 16 points in a game. Then came a Week 4 bye, and the team has been out of sorts since. Cincinnati gave up 43 points and 505 yards in a Week 5 blowout loss at New England. Last week the Bengals tied Carolina 37-37 and gave up 431 yards to a Panthers offense that isn't exactly explosive. Cincinnati is allowing 183.5 rushing yards per game in the past two after 113.3 in the first three.
The Bengals (3-1-1) should have won that Panthers game, but kicker Mike Nugent missed a 36-yarder on the final play of overtime. I am moderately surprised the team didn't at least work out other kickers this week as Nugent is just 11-for-17 overall in kicks this year and hasn't made one at 50-plus.
That tie obviously is better than a loss, but it could be costly down the road. The Bengals played last week without star receiver A.J. Green because of a toe injury. He hasn't practiced this week as of Wednesday, and he's almost surely not going to play again. The team needs to get him 100 percent healthy and already has used its bye. In addition, this week the Bengals put receiver Marvin Jones on season-ending IR. He was expected to be the No. 2 this year after catching 51 balls for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013. However, he had yet to play due to an ankle injury. Expect another big day here from Mohamed Sanu, who caught 10 balls for 120 yards (both career highs) and a score last week.
The Colts (4-2) have won four straight, and their offense is rolling along behind the NFL's leading passer, Andrew Luck. Indy played last Thursday, a 33-28 win in Houston. The Colts nearly blew a 24-0 lead but recovered two late Texans fumbles to hang on. Luck had his fourth straight 300-yard game, passing for 370, three TDs and a pick. T.Y. Hilton caught nine passes for 223 yards (two shy of franchise record) and a touchdown. He's fourth in the league in receiving yards and tied for fourth in plays of at least 20 yards.
Cincinnati has beaten Indianapolis the past two meetings. Last season they met Week 16 at Paul Brown Stadium, and the Bengals won 42-28. The score was a bit misleading as Cincinnati led 21-0 early in the third quarter. The Colts did get within 21-14 before the Bengals pulled away again. Luck threw for 326 yards, four touchdowns and zero turnovers. Dalton threw for 275, three TDs and zero turnovers. Green and Jones each caught a TD pass. Cincinnati dominated time of possession, holding the ball more than 15 minutes longer.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts NFL Week 7 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Indianapolis is a 3-point favorite (-120) with alternate lines of -3.5 (+105) and -2.5 (-145). Indy is -170 on the moneyline and the Bengals +150. The total is 49.5 (both -110). Cincinnati is 3-2 against the spread (1-1 on road) and 2-3 "over/under" (1-1 on road). Indianapolis is 5-1 ATS (2-1 at home) and 5-1 O/U (2-1 at home).
The Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their past five on the road against a team with a winning home record. Cincinnati has covered only two of its past 11 after allowing more than 30 points in its previous game. The Colts are 5-0 ATS in their past five vs. teams with a winning road record. Indy is 5-2 ATS in its past seven after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. The over is 5-0-1 in Cincinnati's past six October games. The over is 9-2 in the Colts' past 11 vs. teams with a winning record.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
Tough one here because I fully expect the Bengals to snap out of it. They played one very good road game (Baltimore) but one terrible one (New England). Indy has played well at home and should be unbeaten there except for some calls that went against the Colts in Week 2 vs. the Eagles. If Green were healthy I'd probably take the points. The Bengals have more overall talent. But since he's not, I'm taking the 2.5-point alternate line and the Colts. Also go over.
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