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Ravens vs Bengals: Odds, expert picks, analysis, predictions for Week 17

Cincinnati is viewed as the slightest of underdogs this week when Baltimore comes to town fresh off their playoff-eliminating loss in Pittsburgh.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After a dismal 2016 season, the Bengals will look to end on a high note and build momentum toward next year when they host the Ravens in Week 17.

Both teams enter their regular-season finale with bad tastes in their mouths following gut-wrenching losses last week. Cincinnati’s 12-10 loss in Houston was the same old story: A hard-fought game highlighted by a strong defensive performance that was wasted by an offensive struggle and missed field goal that proved costly.

Meanwhile, the Ravens lost a heartbreaker in Pittsburgh as the Steelers rallied for a 31-27 win that knocked Baltimore out of playoff contention. All the Ravens and Bengals now have left to do is hope a win in Week 17 builds toward a better year in 2017.

Odds

This game has been one of the most tough games to call in Week 12. Cincinnati was favored when the opening lines came out, and the line rose to as many as 2.5 points for the home team, but now the road team is favored

As of Saturday morning, the Ravens come into this game as a one-point favorite, according to OddsShark. Some oddsmakers have this game as a pick ‘em, so it’s safe to say it’s one of the harder Week 17 games to project.

That’s expected when neither team has anything to play for. Projecting the effort level one or both teams put out is impossible to do, which is why the lines on games like this will stay pretty even heading into kickoff.

Here are some of the recent betting trends for both teams, courtesy of OddsShark:

  • Cincinnati is 5-10-2 against the spread in its last 17 games
  • Cincinnati is 2-5-1 straight up in its last eight games
  • The total has gone under in 6 of Cincinnati's last seven games
  • Cincinnati is 3-6-1 against the spread in its last 10 games at home
  • The total has gone over in 4 of Baltimore's last five games
  • Baltimore is 1-5 against the spread in its last six games on the road
  • Baltimore is 0-5 straight up in its last five games on the road
  • Cincinnati is 4-2 against the spread in its last six games when playing Baltimore
  • Cincinnati is 5-1 straight up in its last six games when playing Baltimore
  • Cincinnati is 8-3 against the spread in its last 11 games when playing at home against Baltimore
  • Cincinnati is 6-1 straight up in its last seven games when playing at home against Baltimore

Picks

To no surprise, the majority of the experts are picking Baltimore to win, but not by a wide margin.

  • Over at CBS Sports, six of their eight experts went with the Ravens.
  • At ESPN, five of their nine experts think the Bengals will win it.
  • At SB Nation, it's a similar spread with five of nine picks coming in for Cincinnati.
  • FOX Sports’ six-man crew features two pickers going with the Bengals while the other four picked the Ravens.
  • What If Sports projects a 23-16 Ravens win.
  • NFL Picks Watch, which takes into account all of the expert pickers across the internet, has Baltimore getting 58-percent of the picks at the time this post was published.

It’s safe to say the Bengals are viewed as the underdog in the eyes of most experts for this matchup, but not by much. Again, with neither of these teams having anything to play for, it’s hard to project how hard both teams will fight to get what amounts to a meaningless win.

Then again, Baltimore does have the chance to at least clinch a winning record as they sit at 8-7. As for the Bengals, the difference between 5-10-1 and 6-9-1 is like the original version of a movie vs the uncut edition. It has some nice additions, but does little for the overall product.