The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers are going to face off this Sunday. More importantly, it will be the first of likely many meeting between Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. Both quarterbacks were drafted in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and after this season it looks like both of these guys will be making runs at the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
Even though many will focus on the quarterback duel, it will be the surrounding cast around these quarterbacks that will decide this game. That has the oddsmakers and experts feeling fairly confident in Cincinnati.
The Bengals are currently three-point favorites against the Chargers, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. These teams being viewed as practical equals is a bit interesting. The main difference in these teams seems to be Cincinnati’s solid defense that looks like it is back on track and Los Angeles’ defense that can’t stop the run at all.
The over/under is set at 50.5 points, which is a pretty conservative number for these two offenses. The Bengals riding Joe Mixon like they have in previous games could shorten the game quite a bit. Still, these offenses seem more than capable of getting to that 50.5 point mark.
- Cincinnati is 4-2 against the spread in their last six games.
- The total has gone over in four of Cincinnati’s last five games.
- Cincinnati is 6-3 straight up in their last nine games.
- The total has gone under in six of Cincinnati’s last six games against Chargers.
- Cincinnati is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games at home.
- Cincinnati is 2-5 straight up in their last seven games when playing at home against the Chargers.
- The total has gone over in four of Cincinnati’s last six games this season.
- The total has gone over in four of Cincinnati’s last five games against an opponent in the AFC.
- Cincinnati is 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five games against an opponent in the AFC West.
- Cincinnati is 7-13 straight up in their last 20 games played in December.
- The Chargers are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games.
- The Chargers are 10-5 straight up in their last 15 games.
- The Chargers are 1-6-1 against the spread in their last eight games against Cincinnati.
- The total has gone under in four of the Chargers’ last five games on the road.
- The Chargers are 5-2 straight up in their last seven games when playing on the road against Cincinnati.
- The Chargers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games this season.
- The Chargers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against an opponent in the AFC.
- The total has gone under in six of the Chargers’ last eight games against an opponent in the AFC North.
- Eight of ESPN’s experts are picking the Bengals
- CBS Sports has seven of their eight experts going with Cincinnati
- Six of the eight experts for the Athletic think the Bengals will win
- NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks from across the web, has Cincinnati receiving 73 percent of the picks.
It is still a bit weird to constantly see the Bengals favored so heavily by experts. This offseason you could barely find any analyst or expert that believed in what Cincinnati was doing, but this team has gelled together about as well as even the most optimistic fan could have hoped coming into the season.
Since the bye week, the Bengals have proven that their defense can tackle again. They also showed that they don’t have to rely on their passing game, especially if teams are going to focus on taking away Ja’Marr Chase. Joe Mixon should be in line for another big day against a Chargers defense that simply hasn’t slowed down any running game in recent weeks. That seems like a safer bet than a team that is going to have to rely on Justin Herbert to likely throw the ball well over 30 times.
If the Bengals get an early lead like they did last week, it could get out of hand pretty quickly.