After a wild Week 1 of the NFL season, during which underdogs have covered eight of the 14 games so far, fans, bettors and fantasy players turn their collective attention to the first "Monday Night Football" game of year. Both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals were playoff teams a year ago, setting up a big AFC North divisional matchup.
Injuries have hurt both teams this preseason, especially the Ravens, who won't have the services of linebacker Terrell Suggs in tonight. Quarterback Andy Dalton had a superb rookie year, but he will be under duress against a Baltimore defense that likes to bring pressure from everywhere. Cornerback Lardarius Webb against wide receiver A.J. Green should be a fantastic matchup to watch, but are Cincinnati's other receivers good enough to make the Ravens pay if they have double coverage on Green?
Last season, the Bengals were an impressive 5-1-2 against the spread on the road in the regular season, covering the spread by an average of 3.6 points. The Ravens were 4-3-1 ATS at home, covering the spread by an average of 4.4 points. Baltimore won both matchups between the teams, 24-16 in Week 17 (ATS win) and 31-24 in Week 11 (ATS push).
With a stingy defense last season, the Bengals gave up just 20.2 points a game (seventh in the NFL), and allowed just 31 points or more twice. They will have their hands full, though, with a Ravens attack that is trying to play more no-huddle, and with a faster tempo.
Who should you take in the game? Below you'll find analysis of potential line and total movement from bookmaker Jay Kornegay of The Las Vegas Hotel and a pick on the spread from handicapper The Sports Boss.
Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Spread: Opened at Ravens minus-7, still at Ravens minus-7
Total: Opened at 40.5, now 41.5