Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals -- Our Pick

NFL Jan 14, 2022

Here's our pick for the first NFL playoff game, which kicks off this Saturday.

Note this is only a partial menu of hundreds of possible wagers on this game.  Check out SPREADS.CA for more betting options.

Cincinnati -5 vs. Las Vegas

We don’t know if the Bengals are 5 points better than the Raiders.  However, this is purely a situational bet.  

We think it will be very tough for Las Vegas to regenerate the level of excitement of last week’s thriller, which was the best game of the year and arguably the most exciting game in several seasons.  Ideal conditions at home in the season finale at home for the Raiders is a marked difference from this week — an outdoor playoff game on the road versus a rested opponent.  Toss out last week’s loss, Cincinnati rested most of its key players in Week 18, so they should be fresh.  

This isn’t the same bumbling Bengals team of the last 20 years.  There’s a new optimism with the Bengals.  And just look at who the Bengals played and tended to beat in the last several weeks of the season —- Kansas City, Baltimore, Denver, San Francisco, LA Chargers, Pittsburgh, and these same Raiders.  Cincy went 5-2 in those games, all solid opposition (if we count Denver’s defense).  The Bengals also dominated the Raiders in the first meeting, running wild at Las Vegas.  If anything, this is a better Cincinnati team now.  Easily, it’s a more confident team.

Sure, let’s give the Raiders credit for a 4-game win streak, but all those games were close — 4 wins by a combined 13 points.  A few scores here and there, and the Raiders might be 8-9 and out of the playoffs.  Another key–the Bengals’ offense has been phenomenal in the second half of the season, highlighted by QB Burrow and his unit racking up 28 PPG across their last eight games contrasted against a Raiders’ squad that’s scored 17 pts or less in 7/10 contests (just 19 PPG).  On paper, taking +5 may look like the right play until you really examine the numbers. But we see most intangibles favoring the Bengals, who have played more consistently down the stretch and should get their first playoff win since the last century.

Our pick is Cincinnati laying -5