NFL Picks, Odds & Preview for Week 11's Bengals vs Saints

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 6:42 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 6:42 PM UTC

The New Orleans Saints have been almost an automatic bet-on team at Home over past years and playing a potentially overrated Bengals team in The Big Easy seems like a good chance to back the Favorites. But is it?

Odds Overview
Cincinnati Bengals at New Orleans Saints (Saints -7, 50½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 18:00 (CBS, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT): The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans is the site of this interconference game between the host New Orleans Saints (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS)—the actual leaders in the paltry NFC South with that 4-5 mark—and the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3-1 SU, 4-4-1 ATS), a game important for both teams as the regular season begins to slowly fade away. Both the Bengals and the Saints come into this game off losses (Browns, 49ers) and can ill-afford another one for a variety of reasons.

NFL Odds made the host Saints healthy 7-point Favorites over Cincinnati (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)—the Advanced Line at the SuperBook last week was -5—with the Total Points set at 50½. The Money Line (Winner) odds see New Orleans at -275 with the Bengals at +225 (Sky Bet) while the Saints Total Team Points is 29 (Stan James) with the Bengals Total Team Points at 20½ (Paddy Power). A random bet worth consideration here is the Race to 20 Points prop (Paddy Power) which has New Orleans at a gaudy -400 and Cincinnati at +250.

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals looked really bad in their 24-3 loss at Cleveland on Thursday Night Football last week where the return of WR AJ Green (3 receptions, 23 yards, targeted a team-high 10 times) was less than Cincinnati expected and the rival Browns spanked them with a serious reality check. Playing in the rugged AFC North this season is no fun at all but when you get beat by a team that got beat by the Jaguars—their lone win of the 2014 NFL season so far—well, then you’re probably not as good as you thought you were. And QB Andy Dalton (171 completions, 1,960 yards, 8 TDs) is starting to show signs that maybe he’s not the saviour Bengals fans thought he was. Cincinnati ranks 21st in the league in Passing (12th in Rushing) and was only 3-for-17 on 3rd Down against Cleveland, so thoughts of a high-scoring pass-fest here may be more dependent on the Bengals ability to get their offense going than on the Saints. Cincinnati will be coming in off 9 days of rest and will no doubt be bitter after being embarrassed by a division rival on national TV in its last outing. And this is the start of a 3-game Road swing for the Bengals (8-5-2 ATS Road Dog L3+ seasons) who have surprisingly played only 3 Road games so far heading into this Week 11 affair.

The Bengals (1-4-1 ATS L6) defense is below average against the Pass (#20) and really poor against the Run (#31), so New Orleans may be able to get its offense churning while the visiting Bengals will need Dalton (8-9-3 ATS off Loss), RB Giovani Bernard (109 rushes, 446 yards, 5 TDs) and WRs Green (23 receptions, 381 yards, 3 TDs, 16.5 ypc) and Mohamed Sanu (41 receptions, 648 yards, 4 TDs, 15.8 ypc) to all have big games to possibly pull off the Road upset, although the 7 points the oddsmakers are giving Cincy (2-5 SU L7 Road) seems really generous, especially in the context that it was 5 in the SuperBook’s Advanced Line a week ago.

On the injury front, Cincinnati could also be doing a little bit better with LBs Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and Vontaze Burfict (knee) and TE Tyler Eifert (elbow) all Out Indefinitely, WR Marvin Jones (ankle) on the I-R list and T Andre Smith (ankle), CB Leon Hall (head), DT Geno Atkins (knee) and RB Bernard (hip) all listed as Questionable (on Tuesday) for Sunday’s game.

For a much more detail stat on NFL's injurries, check the Sbr's NFL Injury Page.

New Orleans Saints
Playing in the worst division in the NFL this season—the NFC South—one would think that the New Orleans Saints would be in a bit better shape than they are now in the standings with the Buccaneers (1-8), Falcons (3-6) and Panthers (3-6-1) all having such horrible seasons. But no, the Saints still have to worry. New Orleans has been absolutely terrific at Home ATS over recent years and is 9-2-1 ATS over its L13 at Home (11-1 L12 SU Home). But the loss (and non-cover) to San Francisco showed that maybe this isn’t the team that can go up and down the field at will like it was, although the Saints #3 rank Passing (304.8 ypg) and #6 rank Rushing (130.2 ypg) would definitely state otherwise.

With QB Drew Brees (257 completions, 3,816 yards, 18 TDs) calling the shots and RB Mark Ingram (115 rushes, 551 yards, 6 TDs) evolving into an impressive rusher and rookie WR Brandin Cooks (Oregon State, first round, 20th pick) proving his worth and ever-dependable TE Jimmy Graham (56 receptions, 504 yards, 7 TDs) back in a Graham-like groove, the Saints should be able to hang with anyone offensively and still definitely hold one of the strongest homefield advantages in professional football.

New Orleans’ RBs Pierre Thomas (ribs) and Khiry Robinson (forearm), WR Robert Meachem (ankle) and LB David Hawthorne (hand) are all listed as Questionable for Sunday while CB Keenan Lewis (knee) is listed as Probable. But expect all to be ready for this one.


Best Betting Approaches
With Brees (54-42-2 ATS Home) and the Saints having always been so tough as Home Favorites (21-5 ATS L 4+ seasons), it’s easy to want to back the hosts here, especially after watching the Bengals struggle last Thursday night. The Saints defense versus the Bengals offense should be the determining thing in the end in this one, as if Cincinnati (3-8-1 ATS L12) is again anemic and Green is again invisible, then the Saints win this by double digits. But the Bengals are a perfect 4-0 ATS L4 against the Saints so, as Walter White would say, “tread lightly.” And, it’s hard to recommend backing New Orleans laying 7 when it was at 5 a week ago in the Advanced Line. Those 2 points seem like a big 2 points here.

Looking at the Total and the recent relevant trends associated with this NFL Pick, the Under is 5-2 in the L7 Bengals Road games while the Under is 4-2 L6 in this series. But the Over is 5-1 in the L6 Saints games and 4-1 L5 Home here in Louisiana while the Over 4-2 in Cincinnati’s L6 games. So, the Total is spot on and again, how well the Bengals offense will play here will likely be the big thing. And expect Cincinnati to rebound, as it did after losses No. 1 and No. 2 this season, scoring 37 (Panthers) and 27 (Ravens) points respectively. And with Bernard and Green and Sanu and RB Jeremy Hill and Dalton with a chip on his shoulder, the Bengals have enough weapons to get their offense going on the UBU-Synthetic Turf and artificially induced temperatures of the Superdome. This one could see both teams edging Over their individual Team Totals with many pigskins and a sense of desperation both likely in the air for both teams with Brees and Dalton potentially engaging in a back-and-forth “We can’t afford to lose this one,” high-scoring, 31-24-type affair which may end up being pretty entertaining.

The Bengals will be well-rested, mad and know that this is the first of 3 straight Road games and will do everything they can to win this one with the Browns, Steelers and Ravens looming in the back of their black-and-orange minds. And Cincinnati’s defense just isn’t good enough to stop the Saints offense (#6 in NFL in scoring, 27.9 ppg, 32.0 L3) and head coach Sean Payton (70-59-2 ATS) at Home. So, fear equals points in this particular equation.

FREE NFL PICK: Over 49½ -129 at Bet365
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