The Bengals vs Cowboys game is easily one of the best matchups that Week 5 has to offer.
That's why it will have a large audience as the late CBS game. Cincinnati comes into this game with a 2-2 record, though they've shown enough promise to think they're still capable of becoming a title contender.
The same appears to be true for Dallas, who enters this game at 3-1 and winners of three straight.
They've done so with a fourth-round rookie at quarterback, as Dak Prescott has replaced the injured Tony Romo and played like a seasoned veteran. Prescott has yet to commit a turnover this season, but he'll face a Bengals defense that thrives off of taking the ball away.
Odds and Betting Trends
This has been a difficult game for oddsmakers to get a feel on. The Bengals are a 2.5-point favorite as of Saturday morning with an over/under of 45, according to OddsShark.
However, Dallas opened as a 1.5-point favorite early in the week. You don't usually see NFL lines shift this much, but it makes sense in the case of Dallas. The Dez Bryant and/or Tyron Smith injuries are likely swaying oddsmakers into favoring Cincinnati.
Smith is one of the game's best offensive tackles, and potentially losing him against a Bengals defense that thrives of rushing the passer is bad news.
Bryant is one of the game's best receivers and Dallas' top pass-catcher. His loss is magnified due to the fact Dallas has only Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Brice Butler to step up in his absence.
Here are some of the recent betting trends for both teams, courtesy of OddsShark.
- Cincinnati is 1-3-2 against the spread in its last six games
- Cincinnati is 14-7 straight up in its last 21 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Cincinnati's last 15 games
- Cincinnati is 8-1-1 against the spread in its last 10 games on the road
- Cincinnati is 7-3 straight up in its last 10 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in four of Cincinnati's last five games on the road
- Cincinnati is 4-2 against the spread in its last six games when playing Dallas
- Cincinnati is 2-5 straight up in its last seven games when playing Dallas
- The total has gone OVER in six of Cincinnati's last nine games when playing Dallas
- Dallas is 6-10-2 against the spread in its last 18 games
- Dallas is 5-13 straight up in its last 18 games
- The total has gone UNDER in six of Dallas's last nine games
- Dallas is 1-3-2 against the spread in its last six games at home
- Dallas is 1-8 straight up in its last nine games at home
- The total has gone OVER in four of Dallas's last six games at home
Expert Picks and Predictions
Despite going on the road, the Bengals are generally favored among experts in this game.
- At ESPN, six of nine writers are going with the road warriors
- CBS Sports writers favor the Bengals by a 7-1 margin.
- It's a little split at SB Nation, though six writers picked Cincinnati compared to three picks, plus the OddsShark computer, for Dallas.
- FOX Sports' experts have yet to make their Week 4 picks, but their WhatIf simulator has Cincinnati winning 26-23 and gives them a 59.3-percent chance of winning.
- Iron Rank predicts the Cowboys to win by one .5 points, though they have Cincinnati having a slight advantage in most offensive and defensive categories.
- NFL Picks Watch, which accounts for all of the picks across various websites, has Cincinnati getting 63 percent of picks as of the time this story was published.
It's safe to say that this should be a competitive matchup that comes down to the wire. That would likely be the case regardless of where the game was being played, but even though the game is in Dallas, Cincinnati is in good position to pick up the win.
The Bengals really do need this win with a road game at New England coming in Week 6. A loss this week means 2-4 is a very real possibility for the Bengals. We've seen this team come out of bigger holes to make it to the postseason, but you'd like to think the Bengals not begin their season with four losses in their first six games.