After a two-year playoff absence, the Baltimore Ravens were poised for a postseason return. All they needed to do was beat the division-rival Cincinnati Bengals, whom they blanked 20-0 in Week 1. But a determined Cincinnati squad played spoiler and brought the Ravens' 2017 season to a screeching halt in Week 17. After a long eight-month wait, Baltimore finally embraces its chance for revenge on Thursday Night Football when it takes on the Bengals at 8:20 p.m. ET. The Bengals vs. Ravens odds have flipped quickly. Baltimore opened as a three-point favorite, but is now a one-point road underdog. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, has slowly risen from 43 to 45. But before you make your Bengals vs. Ravens picks, you need to see what SportsLine's R.J. White has to say.
White, one of SportsLine's most proficient NFL prognosticators, cashed big last season in the world's most prestigious handicapping tournament, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, tying for 18th out of 2,748 contestants with a 52-29-4 mark against the spread. It wasn't a fluke, either, as he also drove deep in 2015. Anyone who has followed his advice is up big.
He is focused on the NFL season right now and is on a remarkable 13-4 hot streak on against-the-spread picks involving the Bengals, so you'll definitely want to see what he's picking.
He has scrutinized Ravens vs. Bengals from every possible angle to reveal a strong point-spread pick that he's sharing only over at SportsLine.
White knows that the Ravens dominated the Bills in Week 1. The Ravens sacked Bills starting quarterback Nathan Peterman three times and forced two interceptions before he was benched for rookie Josh Allen. The newcomer also struggled against Baltimore's defense, going just 6-for-15 for 74 yards. He also took three sacks.
The Bills' run game was also stymied against Baltimore. LeSean McCoy had just seven carries for 22 yards and lost yardage in the passing game on three targets. The Ravens dominated in first downs (26 to 10), total yards (369-153), passing yards (252 to 70), and yards per play (5.0 to 2.5). More importantly, Joe Flacco and company converted all six of their red zone chances for points.
Just because the Ravens looked dominant in Week 1 doesn't mean they'll win on Thursday Night Football. White also knows that the Bengals looked impressive in their opener, especially late. Thanks to a bone-rattling defensive effort in the fourth quarter, in which Cincinnati outscored the Colts 17-0, the Bengals were able to put the game out of reach late after Clatyon Fejedelem's 83-yard scoop-and-score.
Dalton was an efficient 21-for-28 passing for 243 yards and two TD passes -- one of them to second-year pro John Ross, who missed virtually all of 2017 with knee and shoulder injuries. AJ Green was the recipient of Dalton's other touchdown toss; he scored on a 38-yard reception in the third quarter and finished with six catches for 92 yards on eight targets. Dalton had a QB rating of 109.7 and had plenty of support from running back Joe Mixon, who had 95 yards and a score.
White has evaluated all of these numbers, and while we can tell you he's leaning under, he has found a crucial x-factor for which side you should be all over in this one.
So which side should you back for Ravens vs. Bengals and which crucial x-factor determines who wins? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over, from the expert who's on a monster 13-4 Bengals heater, and find out.