The Cincinnati Bengals (10-4) visit the New England Patriots (7-7) on Saturday afternoon. Action kicks off at 1 pm ET. Below we continue our NFL odds series with a Bengals-Patriots prediction and pick.
Cincinnati has won and covered in six consecutive games after last week’s win over Tampa Bay. The Bengals lead the AFC North and have clinched a playoff berth. They’re just one game behind Buffalo for the top overall seed and have a looming matchup with the Bills next week. Cincinnati is a league-best 11-3 against the spread while 62% of their games have gone under.
New England has lost three of their last four games following one of the most inexplicable losses in NFL history last week. The Patriots are one game back of the Dolphins and Chargers for the playoffs and have a massive matchup with the Dolphins next week. New England is 7-6-1 against the spread while 57% of their games have gone under.
Here are the Bengals-Patriots NFL odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NFL Odds: Bengals-Patriots Odds
Cincinnati Bengals: -3 (-115)
New England Patriots: +3 (-105)
Over: 41.5 (-105)
Under: 41.5 (-115)
Why The Bengals Could Cover The Spread
The Bengals travel to the northeast as the single-hottest team in the NFL. Since their Halloween beatdown by Cleveland, Cincinnati has gone 6-0 on the field and against the spread. They’ve done so thanks to an explosive offense that ranks fifth in scoring (26.4 PPG) and 10th in total offense (362 YPG). Defensively, the Bengals rank 10th in points allowed (20.6 PPG) but allow the 16th-most yards per game (336 YPG). Cincy will notably be without star defensive lineman Sam Hubbard due to an injury while tight end Hayden Hurt is listed as questionable.
Cincinnati has a great chance to cover thanks to their all-around offense. The Bengals do like to throw a lot, ranking 10th in pass rate (61%). Quarterback Joe Burrow has snuck into the MVP conversation as he ranks fourth in passing yards (3,885) and second in passing touchdowns (31). With a stellar 68% completion percentage, Burrow has been able to find his slew of receivers with ease. Ja’Marr Chase (71 receptions for 881 yards and eight touchdowns) and Tee Higgins (65 receptions for 894 yards and six touchdowns) form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. The Patriots are stout against the pass, ranking eighth in opponent yards per attempt (6.0 YPA). That being said, they’ve yet to play a receiving core of Cincinnati’s caliber – something to keep in mind before making a Bengals-Patriots prediction.
While their offense is the focal point, the Bengals’ defense is what really sets them apart and gives them the best chance to cover on Saturday. Cincinnati has a number of playmakers on defense including edge rusher Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson has put together six sacks this season and could be in for a disruptive performance against a New England team that’s given up 2.4 sacks per game (15th). Their defense records the 10th-most takeaways per game and should feast on New England’s careless offense that gives the ball away the ninth-most times per game.
Why The Patriots Could Cover The Spread
The Patriots return home following one of the most shocking and heart-wrenching losses in recent history. The Patriots are firmly in “must-win” territory as they close out the season with games against the Dolphins and Bills. New England features a sputtering offense that ranks 17th in scoring (21.4 PPG) and 25th in total offense (320 YPG). They possess a stout defense that ranks seventh in points allowed (19.2 PPG) and sixth in total defense (312 YPG). Rhamondre Stevenson, Jakobi Meyers, and Damien Harris are all listed as questionable for Saturday’s game due to injuries.
If the Patriots are going to cover on Saturday, they have to dictate the pace of the game. New England ranks just 18th in rushing (112 YPG) despite rushing at the 13th-highest rate in the league (44%). Both of those numbers need to go up given Mac Jones’ struggles and the weather forecast. Jones has eclipsed 250 yards passing just three times this season, while the weather is expected to be frigid. With a high of 19 degrees and wind gusts up to 28 mph, the Pat’s would be wise to rely on running back Rhamondre Stevenson assuming he’s healthy. Cincinnati has a stout defense that ranks in the top 10 in yards per rush allowed. That being said, Stevenson is coming off his best rushing game of the season – a 19-rush, 172-yard performance against the Raiders,
Final Bengals-Patriots Prediction & Pick
Given how well Cincinnati has played over the last two months, it’s hard not to pick them. The line being only three gives me some pause, but feel confident backing the significantly better team.
Final Bengals-Patriots Prediction & Pick: Bengals -3 (-115)