The Baltimore Ravens quest to defend their Super Bowl championship could end today when they battle the favored Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. This afternoon's meeting between the two AFC North rivals is scheduled to kickoff at 1:00pm ET on CBS. Updated NFL Odds are favoring the hosting Bengals at -6.5 against the spread; the Over/Under is set at 43.5 points.
The Ravens had protected their home turf almost as well as any team in the league going into Sunday's clash with the Patriots, but that did not keep them from absorbing a painful 41-7 loss to New England.
The setback did not shatter Baltimore's playoff hopes, but it certainly damaged them. The Ravens now need a couple of things to happen in order for them to have an opportunity to defend their championship.
First and foremost, Baltimore must defeat the Bengals. If the Ravens lose to Cincinnati, they will need the Dolphins, Chargers, and Steelers all to lose as well. If the Ravens beat the Bengals, they still need help, but not near as much. In the event of a win on Sunday, Baltimore must have either the Dolphins lose to the Jets or the Chiefs knock off the Chargers.
The Bengals, despite having already secured a playoff berth, do not enter this contest without incentive, though. Cincinnati can still earn the two seed and thus secure a week off as well as a home game in the divisional round of the playoffs. That sounds much better than having to host either Miami or Kansas City in a Wild Card contest.
And the Bengals appear as dangerous as it gets when playing with incentive at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati is a perfect 7-0 at home this season and it has defeated the last four visitors to the venue by an average of 25.8 points per game.
The Bengals are also 6-2 both straight up and against the spread in their last eight home games against the Ravens.
Notable Trends: Cincinnati is 8-0 straight up and 7-0-1 against the spread in its last eight games as a home favorite with a spread between 4 and 7.5 points.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals NFL Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +6.5 (-110), Over 43.5 (-110), +215 (Moneyline)
Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 (-110), Under 43.5 (-110), -255 (Moneyline)
NFL Free Picks: Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about betting Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons on Sunday (12/29/13) -- a free pick from Pregame.com's Bryan Leonard with Ken Thomson.
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