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NFL Week 3: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals +3 (-125) @ Baltimore Ravens

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

September 27, 2015 1pm EDT

Following straight up wins and covers at the Oakland Raiders in week 1 and versus the San Diego Chargers last week, the Bengals prepare to face the Ravens in Baltimore Sunday. The Ravens will try to turn the tide after dropping a game to the Denver Broncos in week 1 and sustaining a stunning loss as 6 point favorites at the Oakland Raiders most recently (Baltimore is 0-2 ATS as well as straight up).

Ahead of the first regular season games, our preferred power ratings methodology (ESPN's NFL FPI) listed Cincinnati at #14; the Bengals have since ascended to the #9 spot. On the other hand, Baltimore started the 2015 season as the league's eighth ranked team, but slid down to #10 by the end of week 2. Thus, one message from the FPI rankings system is that Cincinnati is better than expected, while Baltimore has underperformed. Another takeaway though, is that these teams will enter week 3 essentially evenly-matched (FPI suggests the Bengals are two-tenths of a point better than the Ravens for week 3).

An alternate (Elo ratings-based) power rankings approach makes Cincy 1.4 points better than Baltimore on a neutral field of play this week. After considering the value of home field to the Ravens, Elo ratings hint that Baltimore sports a net advantage of 1.2 points.

A supplemental power rankings systems from likewise favors Cincinnati to win and cover, giving the Bengals a 2.5 point advantage. And while our two primary simulation routines are spit over the absolute outcome of the game (one model calls for a close Cincinnati victory, while the other has Baltimore wining by about a field goal), these factors are unified in forecasting the Bengals will beat the number.

Thus, several generally reliable signals suggest siding with the Bengals against the spread Sunday to be the prudent play. Also, the sentiment landscape too might be characterized as endorsing a Bengals cover. As of the time of this writing, SportsInsights reports that 63% of the bets they track flowed the Ravens way. We would like to see this number float up to the 70% ballpark to mark an extreme, but it is early still.

Hapy betting!!

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