The Bengals are overseas in Week 8 as they face Washington at Wembley Stadium in London.
This will be the first time both Cincinnati and Washington take part in the NFL’s London series. It will also feature a rare kickoff time of 9:30 a.m., so this will be a new experience for everyone involved.
Both teams come into this game with strong playoff aspirations after making it to the postseason last year thanks to winning their respective divisions. Washington went 9-7 and claimed the crown of what was arguably the worst division in football (though, the AFC South gave them a good run for their money). They’re 4-3 this year and right back in the thick of the division hunt, but need a win this week to keep pace with 5-1 Dallas and 4-2 Philadelphia.
The same is true of the 3-4 Bengals, who need a win this week to keep pace with the 4-3 Steelers atop the AFC North. With Pittsburgh on a bye this week, Cincinnati can finish Week 8 tied in the win column for the division lead.
The Bengals come into this game as a one-score favorite in most sportsbooks. OddsShark has Cincinnati pegged as a three-point favorite as of Saturday morning. That’s where the line has stood pat for most of the week, though a couple of sportsbooks had Cincinnati as a 2.5-point favorite at different points.
Here are some of the recent betting trends for both teams, courtesy of Odds Shark:
- Cincinnati is 2-5-2 against the spread in its last 9 games
- Cincinnati is 2-4 straight up in its last 6 games
- Cincinnati is 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games when playing Washington
- Washington is 4-1 against the spread in its last 5 games
- Washington is 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games
- The total has gone over in 10 of Washington's last 12 games
- Washington is 2-3-1 against the spread in its last 6 games when playing Cincinnati
Even though Washington has the better record, most of the experts see Cincinnati as the bitter team, at least for this matchup.
- At ESPN, eight of their nine expert pickers are siding with Cincinnati in this one.
- CBS Sports’ eight-man crew features seven picks for the Bengals in London.
- FOX Sports’ five-man crew features a 3-2 edge in favor of Cincinnati. What If Sports projects a Bengals win.
- Nine of the 10 pickers at SB Nation, including the OddsShark computer, are going with Cincinnati in this matchup.
- NFL Picks Watch, which takes into account all of the expert pickers across the internet, has Cincinnati getting 78-percent of the picks at the time this post was published.
It’s safe to say the Bengals are viewed as the favorite in the eyes of most for this matchup. That ultimately means very little, but if you’ve watched both of these teams play, it’s easy to see why the Bengals are viewed as the slightly-superior team, so it’s nice to get confirmation of that from the majority of experts.
That said, the margin between these two teams is small enough that this should be a close game that takes all four quarters to decide. And, anything can happen in London, in unfamiliar territory. Here’s to a game that’s worthy of us waking up early for!