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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Point Spread - Pick

Cincinnati Bengals (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS)
Week 9 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 1PM EDT
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CIN +4/JAC -4
Over/Under Total: 39.5

The Cincinnati Bengals come to EverBank Field to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in week nine AFC action. The Jaguars are coming off a bye-week, following a topsy-turvy first 7 games that has them at 4-3. In their last game before the bye, they went into Indy and posted a 27-0 shutout win. They still haven't won at home this season and look to give their hometown supporters something to cheer as the Bengals come into town on Sunday. Cincy was able to rely on a big play from its defense to come out ahead in a 24-23 squeaker against the Colts at home on Sunday. While not being overly-impressive, Cincinnati has been able to bounce back nicely from a rough 0-3 start to the season and look to get to .500 against a tough and rested Jags' bunch.

Jacksonville has alternated wins and losses every game this season since beating the Texans in the opener. They've also been really good on the road, losing to the Jets, but beating the Steelers, Texans, and Colts away from home by a combined score of 86-16. And with only two games at home so far, they get the next two and five of the next seven at home. This is a mid-stretch of the season that will tell the tale for the Jags and they look to come off the bye strongly. Making it all come together is an offense that can really run the ball, bolstered by an exciting rookie back in Leonard Fournette (questionable). And on the other side of the ball, the Jaguars' defense has been an impactful group, capable of changing a game, while also being very stingy against the pass.

Blake Bortles has been more or less his typical self this season, a smooth operator of the offense, but not the most-accurate passer. Losing top target Allen Robinson hasn't helped, but he has decent weapons in Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, TE Marcedes Lewis, along with backs Fournette and Chris Ivory. Giving the offense a long-missing explosive component has been Fournette, who has broken off some huge runs this season. Ivory has also been a useful weapon. They've gone to an upper-half offense this season and with the other side of the ball really coming around, the optimism around Jacksonville is well-placed.

Jacksonville's defense is really loaded and making a lot of good things happen this season. The pass-rush has been immense, with Calais Campbell already with ten sacks. Also getting to quarterbacks this season has been Dante Fowler, Jr., and Yannick Ngakoue, In the middle, Telvin Smith and Myles Jack have been active and very effective. And big credit goes to a secondary that has really whipped itself into shape, with Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Aaron Colvin and Teshaun Gipson. They have secured 16 turnovers through 7 games, scoring four times. Though the front has been adept at rushing the passer, they have been leaky against the run. In the bye-week, they hope to have boosted their play in that area with the trade to Buffalo for Marcell Dareus, a talented, yet troubled defensive tackle.

The Bengals haven't been getting anyone's blood pumping with three wins in their last four games, but there is something to be said for teams who are able to turn around the momentum. And after an 0-3 start, not many people would have picked them to win three out of four. Still, in a back-and-forth home battle against the now 2-6 Colts, they needed a late pick-six from DE Carlos Dunlap to notch a one-point win. In this league, a win is a win and the Bengals have managed to keep their head above water so far. It gets tougher this week.

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Andy Dalton was more-efficient on Sunday with two touchdowns and 243 yards through the air. After throwing four picks in his last two games, he didn't have any on Sunday, though fumbles from rookie Joe Mixon and WR Alex Erickson were almost very costly. Their lack of a consistent run-game is a byproduct of a dicey offensive line and some level of underachievement from running backs like Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard. Mixon did have some big catches, including a 67-yarder. AJ Green caught a TD pass from Dalton, as did rookie Josh Malone, who caught his first-ever NFL touchdown.

One clear sign of positivity over the last month for the Bengals is a tough and playmaking defense. On Sunday, with everything else wishy-washy late in the game, it was the Cincy defensive line that took over the game. Geno Atkins was pushing people around all day and added a sack. Carlos Dunlap added a sack, while picking off a pass and returning it for a touchdown. Edge-rusher Carl Lawson is becoming a dependable force against opposing quarterbacks. With Dre Kilpatrick, Adam Jones, George Iloka, and Shawn Williams, the secondary has been making life tough on quarterbacks and receivers and look to do so again this week against Blake Bortles and Company.

Granted, the Jaguars are rested, but after alternating wins in their first seven games of the season, there is a certain level of inconsistency about them. Cincinnati has a defense on all levels that could trouble this Jaguars' offense. The reverse is also true and Jacksonville is overdue to shine at home and this isn't a bad spot for that to happen. I see Jacksonville having put the bye to good use and getting the win and cover this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars minus 4 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Cincinnati vs. Jacksonville game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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