Bengal fans are hoping for the team’s first playoff victory since 1990 when Cincinnati hosts the Las Vegas Raiders Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in an AFC Wild Card game on NBC.
By winning the AFC Central Division, the Bengals earned the fourth seed in the playoffs. While the Raiders needed a game-winning field goal on the last play to beat the LA Chargers and grab the five seed. Both teams are 10-7.
The Raiders have won four straight. The Bengals have won three of their last four games and quarterback Joe Burrow has started to draw attention as a potential NFL MVP candidate.
The winner advances to the AFC Divisional round to face an opponent to be determined next weekend.
If the seeds hold, the winner travels to top seed Tennessee to face the Titans.
These two teams met in Week 11 of the NFL’s regular season with the Bengals breaking open a close game late, scoring 16 points in the last 5:03 to win 32-13 in Las Vegas.
The Raiders lead the all-time series 21-12, but the Bengals won four of the last five match-ups.
The two franchises have met twice before in the playoffs. The then-Los Angeles Raiders beat the Bengals in 1991, and the then-Oakland Raiders beat the Bengals in 1975.
The Bengals could hypothetically become the first team to lose to the Raiders in the playoffs representing three different cities. The Raiders moved to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
The Bengals are favored on all of the major sportsbooks in Ohio. Caesars has them as five-point favorites, FanDuel says 4.5 and BetMGM has them at 5.5.
The over/under at Caesars is listed at 49 points.
None of the oddsmakers are big on either team’s chance to reach the Super Bowl. The Raiders are +2000 at Caesars to reach the Super Bowl, while the Bengals are higher at +850.
In the regular season, the Raiders were 8-9 against the spread, while the Bengals were 10-7.
Sports betting in Ohio is set to explode in the near future. With an exciting match-up like the one this Saturday, we’re sure to see fans betting big in other states across the country.
The Bengals have one of the top offenses in the NFL and averaged 27.1 points a game in the regular season.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr piloted the Raiders to 22 points a game. The Las Vegas defense allowed 25.8 points a game, while the Bengals gave up 22.1.
In the regular season, eight Raider games went over 49 points. While of the Bengals 17 regular-season games, nine went over 49, with another one hitting right at 49.
Another fun over/under number to consider is the total amount of yards thrown by Burrow Saturday afternoon. He’s thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five games but had a season-low 148 against the Raiders. Burrow’s over/under passing yards number is 258.5 on Caesars.
Looking at seeds and rematches
This Wild Card game will be a rematch from the regular season. And since NFL teams play divisional teams twice a year, it’s smart to look at how they did in those rematches.
The Bengals beat the Steelers and Ravens twice this season and lost twice to the Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders beat the Denver Broncos twice, lost twice to the Kansas City Chiefs. And split with the LA Chargers, losing the first meeting, but came back to win the second time.
So slight advantage to the Raiders, who are playing a team that beat them once.
Another nugget to keep in mind. This is the 4/5 seeds match-up. Last year, fifth-seeded Tampa Bay won the NFC and the Super Bowl. Of the last 10 4/5 match-ups in the NFL playoffs (dating back five years), it’s an even split, with the fifth seed winning five games.
Let’s go a little bit deeper on the 4/5 match-ups. Last year, both five seeds were favored, one covered (the Ravens were favored by three) one didn’t (the Bucs were favored by 10). In those last 10 4/5 match-ups, the favorite is 7-3 and has covered the spread four times.
There’s snow in the forecast for Cincinnati…but on Sunday night, long after this one will be over. Saturday afternoon will be cold and breezy. Good football weather.
The Bengals are favored, but five points might be a lot when you look back at the recent history of 4 seeds vs. 5 seeds in the playoffs.