The Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to face the Cincinnati Bengals on the road for the second straight Sunday when these AFC North rivals tangle at night in the Wild Card round of the 2022 NFL season.
Third-seeded Cincinnati, the two-time division champ, opened this week as a favorite ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 points but now are a choice ranging from 8.5 to 9 over the sixth-seeded Ravens on the odds boards at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet.
NFL Playoff Odds: Ravens vs. Bengals Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
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Where the Ravens & Bengals Stand Heading Into the Wild Card
Cincinnati (12-4 straight up/12-4 against the spread) became a heavier favorite when star Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson (left knee) missed practice on Wednesday for the 16th straight time, prompting head coach John Harbaugh to say it would be “an uphill battle” for Jackson to play on Sunday.
Jackson went down with a posterior ligament sprain in a game against Denver in Week 13 and at the time, it was thought his playing availability would be week-to-week. Instead, it’s been month-to-month. And on top of that, backup Tyler Huntley is dealing with shoulder tendinitis that caused him to miss last week’s matchup in Cincinnati and kept him from throwing in drills on Wednesday.
Harbaugh is optimistic Huntley will be available Sunday. If not, undrafted rookie Anthony Brown from Oregon will be counted on to keep the Ravens’ title hopes afloat in his second straight start.
Without Jackson, who still leads the Ravens in rushing with 762 yards (6.8 a carry), they have had little success, averaging only 13 points per game and went 2-3 down the stretch. It was much the same last year when he missed the final four games with an ankle injury and the team missed the postseason after closing with four straight losses with Huntley and ex-Raven Josh Johnson at quarterback.
Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow is fine, but that’s not the case for the right side of the Bengals’ offensive line. Tackle La’el Collins was put on IR two weeks ago with a knee injury after getting hurt in Week 16, and veteran guard Alex Cappa will miss this game with an ankle injury suffered last Sunday.
But Burrow thrived last year with an even weaker line.
Also, star WR Tee Higgins (questionable) is dealing with a hip issue and illness. He and fellow WR Ja’Marr Chase both have 1,000 yards in receptions this season. Baltimore doesn’t have any 1,000-yard pass catchers.
The teams split their regular-season series, with Jackson and Baltimore winning at home 19-17 in Week 5. Then last week, Cincinnati clinched home field for this matchup with a 27-16 win as an 11.5-point favorite. In that game on Sunday, Brown went 19-for-44 for 286 yards and two INTs.
Burrow, the league’s sixth-rated passer, shouldn’t be too overconfident. Based on passer rating, he had his second- and third-worst games of the season against Baltimore, throwing only two TD passes with one INT. In his other 14 games, he had 33 scoring passes.
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Ravens vs. Bengals Analysis, Injuries & Prediction
This could well be a defensive battle between teams that are among the top five in the league with the fewest offensive touchdowns allowed — Cincinnati with an NFL-low 29 (albeit in only 16 games) and Baltimore with 31.
As mentioned, both teams have injury issues that could slow their attack.
What could give the Bengals a major edge is if Baltimore’s star CBs can’t play. Former All-Pros Marcus Peters (calf) and Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) were limited in drills on Wednesday and listed as questionable. They both played a role in helping to stymie Burrow in that Week 5 Ravens victory.
Forecast: Bengals 21, Ravens 9