NFL Picks: Bet Bengals & Ravens to Go 'Under' 44.5

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 24, 2015 11:33 PM GMT

The Cincinnati Bengals have gotten off to another hot start. The Baltimore Ravens are slumping. Which side of the total belongs in our NFL picks for Sunday's matchup?

Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 23: 11-5 ATS; 0-1 ML (–1.00 units); 4-4 Total

It's all over, folks. The great, wonderful “new” NFL is already dead; as we go to press, there isn't a single total of 50 points or more on our NFL odds board for Week 3. That includes Sunday's contest (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) at M&T Bank Stadium between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals. They're staring at a total of 44.5 points, and according to our consensus reports, 54 percent of early bettors are on the UNDER for this AFC North matchup.

Seems reasonable. For one thing, there's a 30-percent chance of rain over Baltimore at kick-off, which could help keep the scoring down. And the Bengals have a reputation for defense, cashing in the UNDER in eight of their last 11 games (regular season and playoffs). Should we make the same choice with our Week 3 NFL picks? Well...

 

Needs More Ginger
Let's not close the lid on the NFL's coffin just yet. Yes, totals are down this week, and scoring was down across the league last year, from a near-record 23.4 points per team per game in 2013 to 22.6 points in 2014. But after two weeks of the new season, we're back up to 23.3 points, and the OVER is 16-15. Plus, scoring tends to rise after the first couple of weeks, as offenses figure out the game plan and get more comfortable.

The Bengals definitely seem comfortable enough. They have the No. 5-ranked offense in the league at Football Outsiders, including the No. 3-ranked air attack. A strong start from QB Andy Dalton? Sounds familiar. Dalton has been, shall we say, a bit up-and-down during his previous four years in Cincinnati. In 42 wins thus far, Dalton has 76 touchdown passes and 34 INTs. In his 23 losses, Dalton has thrown 26 TDs and 30 picks. Whoopsie.

 

Only In Monroe
We expect much steadier play from Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Then again, Flacco has 100 TDs and 31 INTs in his 72 wins, compared to 50 TDs and 62 INTs in his 42 losses. Weren't these supposed to be two “game manager” quarterbacks? Flacco's off to a bumpy start this year; he ranks No. 24 at his position with –22 passing DYAR, barely outperforming Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles at –23 DYAR.

Getting some of his injured teammates back should help. Starting LT Eugene Monroe suffered a concussion in Week 1, and WR Breshard Perriman (sprained knee) practiced Thursday for the first time since July, but neither will play against the Bengals. This might be enough to get us to throw a couple of pfennigs on the UNDER for Sunday's game, given the weather reports and the early action, but it's a lukewarm recommendation at best. May the prolate spheroid be with you.

NFL Pick: Take UNDER 44.5 at GTBets

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