5* graded play on the Bengals as they
take on the Falcons in NFL exhibition action Thursday night. The Bengals beat the Jets, easily covering the 1.5 point favorite line. As for the Falcons, they were manhandled by the Ravens, failing to cover as one point favs.
The Jets played poorly, which isn't exactly surprising given the media frenzy and practice field brawls. The Jets gained 116 rushing yards on 27 carries but completed just 12 of 20 pass attempts for 57 passing yards. I think pretty
much any NFL team could defeat the dysfunctional and unfocused band of football
players from New York right now.
The Falcons got it handed to them, 31-17, by the Baltimore Ravens and failed to cover as skinny one point
favorites. The total easily played OVER the posted total of 35 points. The
Falcons gained 71 rushing yards on 21 attempts and gained 273 passing yards on
24-for-43 passing. The defense allowed the Ravens to gain 118 rushing yards on
35 carries and 203 passing yards on 24-for-44 passing. The difference in this
game was that the Falcons had four turnovers to the Ravens one.
The simulator shows a high
probability that the Bengals will lose this game by three or fewer points.
Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 63-33 for
66% winners since 1993. Play on road dogs of 3.5 to 10 points after allowing
three points or fewer in the first half of the previous game.
First Half Wager Opportunity
The current betting line for the first
half shows most shops have the Falcons installed as two point favorites.
This supporting first half system has produced a 31-11 ATS mark for 74% winners
since 2002. Play against favorites using the first half line in non-conference
games and are off an upset loss as a home favorite.
The Bengals hope to make
significant strides on offense in order to compete with division foes
Pittsburgh and Baltimore this season. In 2011, the defense played solidly, ranking ninth with 211.6 passing yards allowed per game and 10th with 104.7
rushing yards allowed per game. It was the offense that sputtered, ranking 20th with 208.8 passing yards per game and 19th with 111.1 rushing yards per
On defense, there has been
further improvement. One of the surprises and "feel good" stories is the
emergence of linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who showed at camp as an undrafted free
agent. He had several problems while attending Arizona State and simply took
his projected first round draft status for granted. Well, he gained far too
much weight, didn’t work out and, when looked at during the combines, put
in some very weak efforts. Consequently, he was not even drafted in 2012. Well, that has been a blessing in disguise for the young man; he has gotten his act together since, and head coach Lewis has stated that he will "unquestionably" be a starter this season.
Already deep at linebacker, his addition will only augment an improving defensive unit. Keep an eye out for him on Thursday as we expect him to be a playmaker in the game.
Pick: Take the Bengals.