Sports Online Betting Overview:
The Cincinnati Bengals need to go back to the drawing board when this game is over and try to figure out what went wrong this season. The NFL betting world was expecting the Bengals to at least challenge for a playoff spot this season, but Cincinnati wound up being one of the worst teams in the league. A telling sign on what may have happened this season happened in week 16 when wide receiver Terrell Owens was out with an injury and the offense played its best game of the season upsetting the San Diego Chargers.
Carson Palmer has his best offensive showing of the season in week 16 against the Chargers. Palmer threw for 269 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. One of the reasons could be that the pressure to throw to Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco was not there because both wide receivers were not in the game. Owens and Ochocinco have garnered much of the attention in Cincinnati, and they have also dropped a lot passes this season. Palmer hooked up with receiver Jerome Simpson to win this game that could spell the end of the Owens and Ochocinco show in Cincinnati.
The Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has improved dramatically in the past few weeks. There was a point where the betting services were counting the Ravens out of the playoffs because Flacco had been so inconsistent that the defense needed to continually bail him out to win games. But Flacco has been on fire lately, and he brings his hot hand to this game against the Bengals.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a decent defense, but it is not going to be enough to stop all of the weapons that the Ravens have. If running back Ray Rice does not run the ball right past the Bengals defensive line, then Flacco will throw the ball over the top to wide receivers Anquan Boldin or Derrick Mason. Don’t forget tight end Todd Heap whose sure hands create a problem for any secondary.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens are in the playoffs, but they want to keep the winning going. The Bengals have already surprised one AFC team that thought it was headed to the playoffs in the San Diego Chargers. Without Terrell Owens, the Cincinnati offense may be enough to beat the Ravens.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens
Join ESPN Insider today for the best sports analysis online, plus ESPN The Magazine!