Pick Bengals Spread vs. Falcons in Week 2 NFL Betting

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 7:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 9, 2014 7:47 PM UTC

Atlanta Falcons are after a statement-making win over the New Orleans Saints. Can they make it two in a row when they descend on the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also after a winning start to the season? Here’s a primer on this Week 2 NFL clash complete with free picks.

Falcons (1-0, 0-0 away) win in overtime
Atlanta Falcons are after a big win over NFC South division rivals New Orleans in their home opener, beating the Saints 37-34 in overtime. Matt Ryan enjoyed a stellar performance, throwing for a franchise record 448 yards after completing 31-of-43 passes and three touchdowns. He recorded a 72.1 completion percentage and a passer rating of 128.8.

Outgunning Drew Brees is no mean feat, as well many NFL bettors know. That’s not to say the prolific quarterback had a bad day. On the contrary, Drew Brees went 29-of-42 for 333 yards and a touchdown (no sacks) for a 69.0 completion percentage and a passer rating of 90.7. But it was all about Ryan that day as he rose to the occasion to lead the Atlanta Falcons to the home victory, kick starting their season in fine style.

Week 1 is a small sample size but it raises several intriguing questions: can Matt Ryan keep up at the pace he set in week 1 when he takes on Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2? Are the Atlanta Falcons back on track after their abysmal 2013 season? Is it too early to consider them a playoff contender? 

At the moment, the NFC South is off its axis, with the Atlanta Falcons sitting atop the pile (along with the Panthers) while the Saints and Bucs are keeping the hearth warm at the bottom. It’s a bizarre sight after last season’s many disappointments (exacerbated by injuries and the sort), but let’s not forget the Falcons did reach the playoffs three years in a row since 2010. Last year could have been just an aberration.


Cincinnati Bengals (1-0, 0-0 home) shock Ravens at home
Cincinnati Bengals raced to a 15-0 lead against the Baltimore Ravens, courtesy of five straight field goals by Mike Nugent (from 22 yards up to 49 yards), only to frit away the kicker’s stellar efforts in the second half. Ravens scored a touchdown with 2:20 left in the third quarter and then added another touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter to take the 16-15 lead for the first time in the game with just a little over than five minutes left on the clock. Delicately poised so, it was anybody’s game, a game odds makers had chalked on a 1.5-point spread with the hosts favoured to cover. Then, on a dime, the game turned when A.J. Green caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to lift the Bengals to a 21-16 lead and Mohammed Sanu caught another pass from Andy Dalton for the two-point conversion that gave the Bengals the 23-16 victory.

Dalton went 25-of-38 for 301 yards and a touchdown, yielding a 65.8 completion percentage and a 98.7 passer rating.


Falcons at Bengals Betting Preview and Tips
NFL Betting Lines:
Atlanta Falcons +205, +5.0 (-110) O/U 48.0
Cincinnati Bengals -245, -5.0 (-110) O/U 48.00
Venue: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Match Time: 1:00 PM EST, Sunday, September 14

Analysis: Falcons and Bengals will be looking to extend their seasons to a 2-0 start when they collide at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. Something is going to have to give, obviously. If the odds were any indication, the Bengals are expected to win as the home favourites at -245. (Home teams went 10-6 SU in Week 1, of which 8-5 straight up were home favourites.)

Bengals notched the crucial win over their AFC North rivals, but for a stretch the game could have gone either way. That has to be concerning for Bengals fans. Allegedly solid on defense, the Bengals somehow still allowed the Joe Flacco and the Ravens to rack up 420 yards on offense (329 passing and 91 rushing) to frit away the lead and very nearly the win. Undoubtedly, Bengals’ defense will have to be alert when Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Devin Hester swoop into town and try to play spoilers as the Falcons top the offensive charts after gobbling up 568 yards at the expense of the Saints.

Relevant Trends:
Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals
Falcons 3-0 SU & ATS last 3 games vs. AFC North
Falcons 4-0 ATS last 4 games as underdogs of 5 points or more
Bengals 7-0 ATS last 7 games as home favourites of 5 points or more
UNDER 4-1 in Atlanta’s last 5 road games vs. AFC North

Atlanta Falcons are matched at hefty +205 NFL odds for the road win, which suggests bookies aren’t buying what they are selling. Well, not just yet. One win isn’t about to turn the market on its head apparently, even if the Falcons delivered as the home underdogs in opening week at +130 NFL odds for the SU win and the 2.5-point underdogs ATS. Perhaps, shades of last season’s road form, which saw the Falcons go 1-7 SU on their travels around the league, have a hand in this outlook.

For NFL bettors, mired in sepia-toned memories when the Falcons were a force to be reckoned with (2010-2012) after week 1 revived those happy days, their hefty NFL odds might seem a tempting tickle. (Consider Falcons went 6-2 on the road in 2012 when they dominated the NFC South behind a 13-3 overall record on the season.) Against the New Orleans Saints the Falcons tallied 568 yards in total offense (445 passing and 123 rushing), which by far was the highest offensive contribution of the week. (Pittsburgh came in second with 490 yards in total offense).  If Bengals can give up 420 yards to Joe Flacco and Company, they have to like their chances. Then again, the Falcons gave up 472 yards to New Orleans (333 yards passing and 139 rushing).


NFL Betting Verdict
Atlanta Falcons turned in a great performance in their season opener, raising a few eyebrows as they came through as underdogs SU and ATS. Bengals got the win too and they are 1-0 ATS as underdogs after week 1, but their performance left much to be desired. Home advantage this time for the Bengals should settle them down and they should recover from some of their wobbles in week 1.  The Bengals were 8-0 SU last season at home; 12-4 since 2012. They were 6-1 ATS as the home favourites as well last season. So take the Bengals to win SU and to cover as part of your NFL picks. 

NFL Picks: Bengals SU & -5.5 at 5Dimes

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