Cincinnati Bengals (3-4-1 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. New York Giants (5-3 SU, 4-3-1 ATS)
Sportsbook.ag Odds: Cincinnati (-1); Total Set at 47.5
This MNF line has already seen plenty of movement this week as the New York Giants opened up in the -3 range, as there still appears to be very few believers in Eli and company. The Bengals do have that angle that every better loves to back in that they are coming off their bye week, but I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on that angle here as it looks like everyone has been quick to do.
The Bengals are a team that have definitely underperformed relative to their preseason expectations and while there still is time for this team to turn it around, just one win in their last four contests is a quite worrisome if I was looking to back the Bengals here.
New York enters this prime time showdown having won three straight and are right back on the Cowboys heels in the NFC East. QB Eli Are bettors unwilling to let go of their preseason projections of Cincinnati competing for an AFC North crown? Are they simply supporting the rested team here? Are all the Bengals bets more of a play against the Giants? Or is it a combination of all those factors and even more?
For bettors that haven’t touched or broken down this game yet, it’s nearly impossible to take the Bengals now. All the line value is gone with this game moving to basically a pick’em and we will likely see some buyback on this game by the time Monday rolls around.
Yet, I have a tough time believing this move in the first place as Marvin Lewis is arguably one of the worst coaches in the league in terms of clock management, game planning, and predictability with play-calling in downs and distance, and it feels like the rest of the league has finally caught on to that 100%.
Lewis has kept his post as the head man in Cincinnati this long in spite of himself as he’s had been bailed out by quite a bit of talent around him – on the field and in the coaching ranks – as there are three of his recent former assistant coaches now leading teams:
Mike Zimmer (Minnesota), Jay Gruden (Washington), and Hue Jackson (Cleveland). Jackson has had a rough year in across the state in Ohio, but the Browns simply don’t have NFL-calibre talent on their roster.
Zimmer and Gruden have taken their respective clubs to the playoffs recently, and without any of those guys around anymore in Cincinnati, this 3-4-1 SU team might be the true reflection of a Marvin Lewis coached squad when he doesn’t have quality help.
Secondly, betting against streaks is a risky proposition and with this line now at pick’em, you would be betting against New York’s three-game winning streak. For all the turnovers Eli has caused, and all the lack of luck the Giants defense has had in forcing turnovers – especially recovering fumbles, this team is still finding ways to win. For years the Giants typically would find ways to lose these tight games (aside from their Super Bowl years) and this year is shaping up much differently.
One week it’s the offense making a clutch late drive to close out things like when they beat Baltimore a few weeks back, and last week it was the defense stepping up in the final minutes to finish off the Eagles. The perception of the Giants may still be overwhelmingly negative, hence the line move already on this contest, but the win/loss column says otherwise.
If you’ve followed along with my NFL betting previews all season long you’ll know I’m never afraid to go against the consensus, and this looks to be another one of those games. The Bengals are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games against a team with a winning record and with the Giants at home in a prime time atmosphere you’ve got to like their chances.
If this game was in Cincinnati, this new line suggests that the Bengals would be -6 or -7 against New York and that’s absurd.
Manning still had some turnover issues in the win vs. Philly last week, and the Giants are still searching for a running game, but to see bettors flock to go against a team on a three-game winning streak is a little surprising.
It’s even more surprising when you see that the Bengals have only beaten a winless Cleveland team and Miami – before they got hot – since Week 2. Cincinnati is also 0-3 SU and ATS in road games since Week 2 and that’s what makes this line move so intriguing.