The two early co-leaders of the AFC North will meet in Cincinnati on Thursday night when the Bengals (1-0) host the Baltimore Ravens (1-0) in a near-pick’em matchup at sportsbooks.
Cincinnati and Baltimore were both impressive last week in season-opening wins, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns battled to a tie.
NFL point spread: The Ravens opened as three-point favorites; the total was 43 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 21.3-20.4 Ravens (NFL picks on every game)
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Why the Ravens can cover the spread
The Ravens are an impressive 12-3 against the spread in their last 15 games versus divisional opponents, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. This includes a surprising 20-0 win over the Bengals as 2.5-point road underdogs in last year’s season opener.
Baltimore routed the Buffalo Bills 47-3 on Sunday in the most dominant performance of any team in Week 1, with veteran quarterback Joe Flacco connecting on three touchdown passes to three new receivers who were all added in the offseason.
The 33-year-old remains a Super Bowl champion with outstanding experience and leadership.
Why the Bengals can cover the spread
Cincinnati has been a talented yet underachieving team over the previous five years, winning the division twice during that stretch but failing to earn a playoff victory.
This is a new season, though, and many experts have been high on the Bengals considering the AFC North is wide open in 2018 as long as Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell continues to hold out due to a contract dispute.
Cincinnati is perfectly positioned to make a run at another division title and can make a statement here.
Smart betting pick
The Ravens may have played the worst team in the league last weekend in the Bills, but many bettors will likely look at the final score and assume they are better than they really are.
Meanwhile, the Bengals dealt with more adversity in rallying back from a 23-10 deficit to defeat the Indianapolis Colts 34-23 on the road and easily could have let that game get away from them. Instead, they came together as a team and scored 24 unanswered points, including 17 in the fourth quarter alone.
In Cincinnati’s home opener, there is value on the host to come through with a key win.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone under in three of the Ravens’ last four games against the Bengals.
The total has gone under in six of the Bengals’ last seven games at night.
The Bengals are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagramor head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.