The Atlanta Falcons (3-3) visit the Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm ET. Below we continue our NFL odds series with a Falcons-Bengals prediction and pick.
Atlanta sits firmly a .500 six games into the season. After dropping games to the Saints and Rams to start the year, the Falcons have won three of their last four games. Although they dropped a week five matchup with the Buccaneers, they’ve notched wins against the Seahawks, Browns, and 49ers. Last week’s win was their best showing of the season as they took down San Fransisco 28-14. Atlanta is second in the NFC South despite losing both division games. The Falcons are 6-0 ATS. Three of their six games have gone under.
Cincinnati, too, is 3-3 heading into week seven. The Bengals lost to the Steelers and Cowboys to start the year but have rebounded to win three of their last four games. They’ve defeated the Jets, Dolphins, and Saints and lost a tight game to the Ravens. The Bengals are second in the AFC North despite losing both division games thus far. Cincinnati is 4-2 ATS. Five of their six games have gone under.
Here are the Falcons-Bengals NFL odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NFL Odds: Falcons-Bengals Odds
Atlanta Falcons: +6.5 (-105)
Cincinnati Bengals: -6.5 (-115)
Over: 47.5 (-110)
Under: 47.5 (-110)
Why The Falcons Could Cover The Spread
The Falcons have vastly outperformed preseason expectations six games into the season. They were tied for the lowest O/U for wins with 4.5 but need to win just two games the rest of the way to top that. Atlanta has had a surprisingly good offense under Arthur Smith as they’re eighth in the league in points per game. Defensively, the Falcons have been middle of the road. Although Atlanta is 13th in total DVOA, they’re 29th in defensive DVOA.
Offensively, Atlanta lives on the run game. They run on 57% of offensive plays which is second in the league. Last week they ran a season-high 40 times. This is despite not having a true workhorse back and with starter Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve. However, rookies Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley have done a serviceable job in his absence. Allgeier has rushed for 4.4 yards per carry, while Huntley has racked up 4.3 yards per carry. Even quarterback Marcus Mariota has contributed on the ground as his 206 yards are third on the team. The Bengals have a below-average rush defense (21st in yards per game allowed) and will be without star defensive tackle DJ Reader. The Saints gouged the Bengals on the ground for 228 yards. This seems like a prime opportunity for one of the league’s premier rushing attacks.
Defensively, the Falcons are middle-of-the-road. They’ve been stout against the run but have gotten torched through the air. Atlanta is ninth in rush defense but 31st in pass defense. The front seven is in a nice spot to shut down a Cincinnati team that has struggled to run the ball. The Bengals have a middling rush attack as they’re 29th in the league in yards per rush and 27th in rushing yards per game. Atlanta should dominate the trenches but will need to keep up their high turnover rate (5th in takeaways per game) if they want to slow down Cincy’s pass game.
Why The Bengals Could Cover The Spread
The Bengals appeared to be suffering a Super Bowl hangover to start the year. After their cinderella run to the championship last year, the Bengals lost their first two games. However, they’ve turned it on in recent weeks. Cincinnati is 12th in total DVOA despite being 21st in offensive DVOA. The offense has started out slow but with their weapons, this is something that could turn around as soon as this week.
The Bengals’ offense hasn’t been bad – just not as good as they were projected to be in the preseason. Quarterback Joe Burrow has looked good, especially as of late. He and star wideout Ja’Marr Chase finally got on the same page last week after some early struggles. Chase is 8th in receiving yards after his 7-catch-132-yard performance against the Saints. With fellow wideout Tee Higgins getting healthier every week, the Bengals are in a prime position to explode through the air this week.
The Falcons’ secondary has been abysmal this year. They’re 29th in defensive DVOA and near the bottom of the league in completion percentage allowed (31st) and yards per game (31st). They also struggle to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks (32nd in sack %) and lost starting cornerback Casey Hayward to injury last week. Joe Burrow and co. have an excellent opportunity to build off last week’s win and light up Atlanta’s secondary.
Final Falcons-Bengals Prediction & Pick
The Falcons continue to be disrespected despite covering in every game this season. Unfortunately, that streak should come to an end this week. Atlanta just doesn’t have the personnel to deal with Cincinnati’s pass attack.
Final Falcons-Bengals Prediction & Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 (-115)