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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals Point Spread - Pick

Baltimore Ravens (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, September 13, 2018 at 8:20PM EDT
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: NFL Network

By Loot Levinson, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Betting Odds: BAL -1.5/CIN +1.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5

The Baltimore Ravens come to Paul Brown Stadium for a Thursday Night Football matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. This AFC North battle features a pair of teams who were both successful on week one. Baltimore absolutely clobbered the Buffalo Bills, 47-3, for a very promising opening-week to the season. Cincinnati, meanwhile, scored a minor upset with a road win over the Indianapolis Colts, 34-23, coming off the pace for the big away-win. Which divisional team can push their mark to 2-0 this week in Cincy?

Both teams were impressive in week one. Sure, a lot of things Buffalo did wrong led to the mammoth Baltimore win in week one. The Ravens also had a lot to do with that, featuring big things on both sides of the ball. This "D" could be special, featuring a lot of horsepower and a nice mix of vicious vets and blossoming youngsters. On offense, a revamped receiver crew and some other new faces resonated well and they naturally look for more of the same moving forward.

With three TD throws on 25-for-34 passing, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco looked good to start the season. Some new additions will help and have already produced fruit, with first-year Ravens ball-catchers Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead, IV. all hauling in TD grabs on Sunday. Rookie Lamar Jackson came in with the game out of hand, but could serve as a valuable weapon this season, along with running backs Alex Collins, Javorious Allen, Kenneth Dixon (questionable), or anyone else who may step up and make something happen.

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A good Baltimore team always seems to come with a deep defense and this season's group looks to have followed suit. Buffalo quarterbacks had Pop Warner numbers on Sunday and were completely in knots. They honed in on LeSean McCoy and made him a non-factor. Their secondary is deep with difference-makers Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, and others. Terrell Suggs still brings the heat, with CJ Mosley a sideline-to-sideline patrolman. They have big beef up-front to assuage the opposing run-game and we'll see what the Bengals come up this week that Buffalo couldn't produce on Sunday.

The Bengals weren't a team a lot of people were talking about in preseason and almost on nobody's list of compelling conference or even division contenders. Week one might not have put a new light on that completely, but they're worth watching carefully after a heartfelt comeback road-win in Indy to start the season. With Andrew Luck making his return, the crowd and Colts were into it, until the Bengals started storming back. A pair of Andy Dalton TD throws gave the Bengals the lead, with a late defensive score sealing it in what was a dramatic about-face in a game that seemed headed Indy's way.

There were some positive developments for the Bengals offense on Sunday. After a slow start, Dalton started clicking, hitting old-reliable AJ Green for an eye-catching score, following a scoring strike to WR John Ross, who the Bengals are hoping steps up this season and fulfills his first-round potential after injuries wrecked his rookie season. RB Joe Mixon could be the X-factor to this team's fortunes and his week one performance with 95 yards and a score was a good sign. TE Tyler Eifert came through with some nice catches and WR Tyler Boyd made a lot of plays, some of which don't show up in the box score.

Like the Ravens, a good Bengals team is always accompanied with a sterling defense. Some additions and the benefit of rising youth might be enough to give this defense a boost. It's a nice mix of old and new on this defense, as well. We see young guys like LB Nick Vigil, S Jordan Evans, and DT Ryan Glasgow, LB Clayton Fejedelem, and S Jessie Bates all over the field. Also lying in wait are old stand-bys Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. It's a deep unit with a lot of menace that might be prepared to start really hitting its stride in 2018.

We just don't want to emerge from week one with any concrete takeaways. It's so hard. For months, football-starved fans have been craving a result they can sink their teeth into, but it's still a one-game window at the end of the day. If the Bengals beat the Colts in week 13, it would barely register a ripple. Last season, the Ravens beat Miami 40-0 in week eight, What did it really matter when it was all told? So yeah, the first games of the season are all we have to go on, but discretion is strongly advised.

By now, with all the changes, it's not even sure how much it matters, but Baltimore blanked Cincy 20-0 in week one last season, as the Bengals started the season all screwed-up. The Bengals came back in week 17 to beat the Ravens in Baltimore, 31-27, with Baltimore fighting for a playoff spot. They're division-rivals, so they don't need extra reason to get fired-up for this. I sense a competitive game where points aren't as easy to come by as they were last week. I'll take the under.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting "under" 44.5 points in the Ravens vs. Bengals game. Bet the Ravens vs. Bengals game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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