The final regular season MNF game takes place in Cincinnati tonight between a pair of AFC Division leaders. Fortunately for NFL bettors, this experienced handicapper is eager to share his free pick.
Denver Broncos (-3-/47) vs. Cincinnati Bengals 8:30 ET ESPN
The Bengals record of 9-4-1 SU leads the AFC North over Pittsburgh in a narrow race that will be decided next weekend when the Steelers host the Bengals on the final week of the regular season. For Denver, the Broncos hold a comfortable 3-game divisional lead in the AFC West and have clinched that crown with their win last week at San Diego. Nonetheless, Cincinnati needs to win to clinch at least a Wild Card position, as well as their 4th consecutive trip to the playoffs. Denver is playing for a 1st round bye and home field advantage. They currently trail New England by a game in the win column.
Cincinnati played a complete game last week in their 30-0 victory at Cleveland when they outrushed the Browns 244-53 and held Cleveland to 54 passing yards in QB Manziel’s first start. Home teams who pitched a shutout in their previous game have won 80% of the pointspread decisions in the following game recently. But, the Bengals have been troubled under the lights this season, going 0-2 SU in primetime, including a 24-3 loss on this field to Cleveland on November 9th. That home loss was followed by their most previous game on this field, a 42-21 loss to division rival Pittsburgh on December 7th. Ironically, the Bengals have won all 4 road games since that Cleveland loss. After entering the season with incredible dominance on this field, the Bengals have slipped to 4-2-1 SU, 3-4 ATS at home this season. QB Dalton leads a modest attack that averages 130/4.3 overland but scores just 22 PPG on 348 YPG. In that regard, they are inferior both on offense and defense to this Broncos team.
In their Super Bowl season of last year, the Broncos were carried by the strong right arm of Peyton Manning. This year, Denver has added a top rated defense and a recent running game to their arsenal. In fact, in the last 4 weeks, the Broncos have averaged 165 running yards per game. Defensively, Denver has allowed 17 or less points in each of their previous 3 games. The run defense has significantly improved at 77/3.4, the best mark in the AFC. In total defense, Denver is allowing just 309 YPG and 5.0 defensive YP play. That second number is again the best in the AFC. History is strongly on the side of the Broncos in this matchup. Denver stands 13-2 SU in the series with Cincinnati and has won 8 consecutive meetings vs. the Bengals. The Broncos are also recently 13-4 SU on MNF. They have won all 4 of their night games this season.
Keep in mind when placing you NFL Pick that each team is playing with late season need in this contest. As a result, we will simply side with the team who has the better offense, the better defense and the notably better QB. Along with the numbers noted above, the Broncos get the victory tonight.
Of equal note is this year’s history of primetime OVERs. After the Arizona/Seattle OVER last night, the record on primetime games is now 34-14 OVER, including 21-4 OVER in non-div primetime games.
Free NFL Pick: Take Denver Broncos -3.5 at The Greek
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