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On Monday night in Cincinnati, the AFC North leaders Bengals (11-4, 5-1 h, 12-3 ATS) host the Buffalo Bills (12-3, 6-2 a, 7-7-1 ATS). who have already suspended the AFC East and can retake the conference No. 1 from the Chiefs with a win. The Bengals would earn their second straight title with a win and would continue to chase the top seed in the AFC portion of the NFL playoff bracket.
The odds on the game are razor sharp. Buffalo is currently a 1.5-point street favorite in Monday’s NFL odds, having opened at -1.
Bills vs Bengals odds
|team||spread||money line||In total|
|bills||-1.5 (-110)||-122||49.5 (-114)|
|Bengal||+1.5 (-110)||+104||49.5 (-106)|
The game total remains at 49.5, which is unchanged from the week 17 opening odds.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST at Paycor Stadium. ESPN will carry the show.
Two long winning streaks at stake
On Monday, the two longest winning streaks in the AFC will go head-to-head. Only the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers — winners of nine straight games — have a longer active streak than the Bengals (7) and Bills (6).
ATS trends haven’t been nearly as kind to Buffalo. Despite a 12-3 straight-up record, the Bills are just a .500 team against the spread and sit at 7-7-1 on Monday. They’re 3-6 ATS in their last nine.
The Bengals, on the other hand, have the best ATS record in the league at 12:3. Cincinnati covered the span in all 11 of his wins, plus a 19-17 loss at Baltimore in Week 5 as three-point underdogs.
Bills and Bengals have both redeemed many Unders
Both teams have dropped significantly this season. Buffalo is 5-10 over/under while Cincinnati is 5-9-1 o/u. However, this trend was a lot of at the beginning of the season more clearly than lately.
In the first five weeks of the season, they combined 1-9 o/u. In the last 14 games combined they are tied 7-7 o/u. (Buffalo is 4-3 over; Cincinnati is 3-4.)
There is no recent history between the pages, at least none relevant. They last met at Orchard Park in 2019 when sophomore Josh Allen led the Bills to a 21-17 win over an Andy Dalton-led Bengals team. (Joe Burrow was busy winning a national championship at LSU.)
Injury news and notes
Cincinnati lost offensive tackle La’el Collins to a cruciate ligament tear in Week 16. Hakeem Adeniji, a 2020 sixth-round pick from Kansas, will be his replacement. Many pundits considered Collins’ loss significant, but the PFF player ratings disagree to some extent. Collins had a rating of 57.9, which represented a low 70th place out of 81 qualified OTs. Adeniji’s rating is only slightly lower (52.8).
The Bengals could also do without the team’s sack leader, Sam Hubbard (6.5 sacks). The edgerusher is questionable with a calf injury.
On the Buffalo side, Jordan Poyer’s safety is in question with a knee injury. His absence would be a blow as the Bills have already beaten Micah Hyde and Christian Benford in secondary school.
Bill’s vs. Bengal’s prediction
What the Bengals’ impressive winning streak doesn’t show is that Cincinnati have had a hard time bringing two good halves of football together over the past three weeks. They were ruled out for the first 20+ minutes against the Browns in Week 14; they were trailing Tampa Bay 17-3 at halftime in Week 15; and they nearly gambled away a 22-0 halftime lead against New England in Week 16, holding on to a 22-18 win thanks to a Patriots fumble at the 5-yard line in the last minute.
In short, Cincinnati’s performance is too contradictory for me to bet against arguably the best team in the NFL. But I also don’t feel comfortable betting against the Bengals at home. When this offense clicks, it’s borderline unstoppable.
Instead, my favorite play in this game is a player assist: Joe Burrow under 0.5 interceptions at odds of -108. Buffalo is in the top half of the league at 14 INTs a year, and Burrow is averaging nearly one a game (13 picks in 15 games). But his track record at home over the past two seasons speaks for no interceptions. Burrow didn’t throw an interception in five of nine home games last season, and he’s kept a clean stat line in four of six home games this season.
The Buffalo defense has picked up at least one pick in its first four away games this year but hasn’t caught a single one in the last four. With the Bills finishing high school, I’m betting this series will be five games Monday night.
Best Bet: Joe Burrow under .5 interceptions (-108)
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