Wild card weekend kicks off its six-game roster Saturday afternoon when Joe Burrow and the Bengals host Derek Carr and the Raiders.
Las Vegas took the No. 5 seed in the AFC after a thrilling 35-32 overtime win over the Chargers on Sunday night. The Raiders finished second in the AFC West with a direct record (SU) of 10-7, but they weren’t profitable for bettors to support them with an accompanying 8-9 against the differential mark (ATS). The Raiders, who are 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS on the road, will look to extend their recent four-game winning streak. In Week 11, the Raiders lost to the Bengals 32-13 as home favorites by 2.5 points.
Meanwhile, No. 4 Cincinnati took home in this first-round matchup thanks to winning the AFC North after posting a 10-7 SU record, which also generated a solid profit for sports investors with an identical mark of 10. -7 ATS. The Bengals enter the postseason having won three of their last four games. Their only loss came last week when they rested most of their starters against the Browns.
One question bettors will be forced to answer is how healthy Joe Burrow’s knee is. He suffered an injury at the end of the club’s win over Kansas City in Week 17. Burrow was able to rest his knee for two weeks in preparation for this game, but Cincinnati hasn’t protected its star signal well this season. The Bengals’ franchise player was the most-captured quarterback (51) in the NFL this season. On the other hand, he now faces a fierce passing race from the Raiders led by Max Crosby and Yannick Najakoue, who combined for 18 sacks this season.
Smeared: Las Vegas +5.5 (-110) | Cincinnati-5.5 (-110)
Money line: Las Vegas (+205) | Cincinnati (-250)
Total: 48.5– Over (-110) | Sub 49 (-110)
Public betting percentages (spread): LVR 39% | IAS 61%
Game information: Saturday, January 15, 2022 | 8:15 pm ET | NBC
Editor’s Note: Fees are subject to change
The line has fallen since Cincinnati’s (10-7 SU; 10-7 ATS) opener as home favorites by 6.5 points over Las Vegas (10-7 SU; 8-9 ATS) to just 5.5 points behind. demand in Sports betting YES. The total he opened at 48 has risen to 49 following strong and respected views that the two clubs, which own the seven best air strikes, will surpass the 45 points scored in the first meeting between the clubs in November.
The Raiders, who have been challenging bettors of late, will look to improve on their recent 4-1 streak at ATS as underdogs on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Derek Carr has been an inspiring leader both on and off the field for a club that has faced the greatest adversity of any club this season. In addition to severing ties with head coach Jon Gruden, Silver and Black were also forced to release star receiver Henry Ruggs III as a result of multiple pending felony charges stemming from a fatal DUI accident in November. Carr was instrumental in keeping the club together despite distractions off the field that resulted in a streak that saw five losses in six games. The eight-year veteran led the club to four straight wins over the Browns, Broncos, Colts and Chargers to close out the season.
In the passing game, Las Vegas has the dependable Hunter Renfrow, who led the club with 103 receptions for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. The astute receiver of the slot machine has been a model of consistency, recording more than five catches in nine consecutive games. Last week, the Raiders welcomed back star tight end Darren Waller for the first time since he suffered a knee injury in Week 12. Waller played 78% of offensive plays but struggled to find his way. hauling just two of nine goals for 22 yards. The Raiders will need Waller to have an impact similar to that of the first meeting with the Bengals in Week 11, when he caught seven receptions for 116 yards, a season-high.
On the ground, Las Vegas will feature Josh Jacobs, who finished ninth among all running backs with nine rushing touchdowns. Jacobs could find it difficult to face a career defense from Cincinnati that ranked fifth in the NFL and allowed just 102.5 yards per game on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, Joe Burrow pilots an explosive offensive attack that ranks seventh in scoring with an average of 27.1 points per game. Burrow, who finished eighth among all quarterbacks with 34 touchdown passes, has been unstoppable the past two games. The second-year signal caller finished the regular season throwing for 971 yards and eight touchdowns in wins over the Ravens and Chiefs.
At his disposal, Burrow has a weapon trio of wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, plus Joe Mixon.
Chase, who is the favorite for Rookie of the Year honors, broke Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson’s rookie record (1,400) set last season with a new benchmark of 1,455 yards. The dynamic wide receiver also had a nose for the end zone and finished third among all wide receivers with 13 receiving touchdowns. On the other side of the lineup, Higgins was solid again in his second season, setting new personal records for receptions (74) and receiving yards (1,091). The former Clemson standout was tremendous in the regular season stretch averaging 6.2 receptions and 107.5 receiving yards in his last six games.
On the field, Mixon has emerged as the bell cow in the Bengals’ running game and produced a stellar production. The fifth-year running back finished third in the NFL in rushing yards (1,205) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (13). Mixon was a key factor in the Week 11 win over Las Vegas, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Since 1991, Cincinnati has lost eight straight playoff games and will be under immense pressure in front of its home fans to finally end the drought. We know the Bengals have more elite offensive weapons, but the Raiders are the ones drawing respected action in Las Vegas in this opening Super Wild Card Weekend clash.
BET: Las Vegas +6 (-118) (Buy half a point)
BET REVIEW YES
2021 YES Betting Monday Night Football: 9-8 ATS / Props 16-12 +5.75 joined
2021 YES Betting NFL Football Total YTD: 45-37 ATS & Props +11.12 United
2020 SI Betting NFL Soccer: 72-58-1 ATS (55%)
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.