Tonight, the Cincinnati Bengals host the Jacksonville Jaguars as the National Football League kicks off their fourth week of regular season play. The Jaguars are still looking for their first win under new head coach Urban Meyer, and the Bengals are fresh off a satisfying road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Bengals are developing into a division title contender and the Jaguars have dropped all three of their outings by double-digits. The point spread on this game has the homesteading Bengals favored by 7½ points. Last week, the Bengals beat Pittsburgh by two touchdowns.
This is easy, right?
It is easy … but I’m not into easy.
A game I isolate for wagering purposes has to have a team that is challenged by their opponent and has a real fear of not winning. It is there that talent, even marginal talent, can excel.
But, when a team as young as the Bengals are giving more than a touchdown following a road win over a division rival, they start the game with two strikes. First, they had been severely challenged by last week’s opponent and prepared for a war. Second, this week they are confident in their ability and are likely to count on their talent to win the game without the edge gained from a real fear of failure.
The Bengals talent will likely win this game, but there is a better chance they won’t when the more than a touchdown point spread is factored into the equation. Do you think the Bengals are primed for a blowout win off their victory at Heinz Field?
The Bengals go into tonight’s contest looking forward to building on last week’s monumental win which was the difference between being tied for first or alone in last place in the AFC North Division. Whether Cincinnati is really capable of keeping pace with the other two division leaders, the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, remains to be seen.
If they win tonight, win big and cover the point spread, they will have proven that they have developed into a team that can win on talent alone. It is pretty heady stuff to be able to do that in the NFL.
If they do win and cover this line, then the Browns and Ravens can expect to have competition this season and beyond in their division race. If they don’t, if the Jaguars upset them tonight, we’ll know that Cincinnati is still in the shadow of a number of better teams.