The Atlanta Falcons (1-2) will attempt to get back to .500 on the season when they host the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) this weekend. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 30th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Falcons as as 5.5-point home favorites. That line has changed only slightly, as Atlanta is currently available at -6. The total for this matchup is 51 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 4 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Falcons vs Bengals Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Cincinnati lost their first game of the season last Sunday, dropping a tough 31-21 decision on the road against the Carolina Panthers. WR A.J. Green, who was questionable all week due to a hamstring injury, managed to suit up for the first two quarters before being forced to leave at halftime. QB Andy Dalton had by far his worst start of the season, passing for 352 yards but also throwing four interceptions. It appears starting RB Joe Mixon will be out again this weekend, which means that the Bengals ground game will focus on Giovani Bernard for a second consecutive weekend. Bernard played well in the starting role last weekend, rushing for 61 yards and a touchdown while also adding five receptions for 25 yards. The best player on offense for Cincinnati against the Panthers was clearly WR Tyler Boyd, who made six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown to help pick up the slack after the loss of A.J. Green.
The Bengals have really struggled defensively over the first few weeks of the season, allowing opponents to average 25.7 points per game on 394.0 total yards. While Cincinnati hasn’t been that great against the pass, they have struggled the most against the run, giving up an average of 123.7 yards per game on the ground (26th).
Atlanta fell to 1-2 on the season last week, losing a heartbreaking 43-37 overtime decision against the New Orleans Saints last weekend. The Falcons had the lead for much of the game before QB Drew Brees mounted one of his patented 4th quarter comebacks to force overtime with only minutes remaining on the clock. Despite the loss, Atlanta looked great on offense and had several players put up ridiculous stat lines. QB Matt Ryan passed for 374 yards and five touchdowns while rookie WR Calvin Ridley had seven catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
The Falcons have been absolutely brutal defensively over their first three games, allowing opponents to average 28.3 points per game on 401.7 total yards. Atlanta is one of the worst teams in the league against both the pass and the run, allowing 125.7 yards on the ground (28th) and 276.0 yards through the air (25th).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Cincinnati +6
This game has the second highest total on the board here in Week 4 – I’m expecting another shootout between two good offensive teams that have already shown they can put up big numbers this season. The Bengals have averaged 29.7 points per game (6th) while Atlanta is currently averaging 26.7 (9th). A.J. Green has already announced that he should be good to for this game which has made me change my thinking against the spread in this matchup. While I was initially leaning towards the Falcons at home, I just don’t trust them against a skilled offensive team like Cincinnati. This could easily be a shootout that comes down to a last second field goal – or the Bengals could even just win this one outright.
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Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS over their past five games overall, 13-6 ATS over their last nineteen games against teams with a losing record, and 15-6-2 against the spread in their last 23 games in the month of September. Atlanta is just 2-7 ATS over their past nine Week 4 games and will be without starting RB Devonta Freeman again this weekend. While backup Tevin Coleman has looked serviceable, it is clear that the Falcons are slightly pass-heavy on offense.
I think that six free points is too many to give a talented team like Cincinnati in this spot. AJ Green and Tyler Boyd should easily be able to keep pace with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, especially against a banged up Falcons secondary. TE Tyler Eifert has been fantastic for the Bengals as well after returning from an injury that caused him to miss almost all of last season. Don’t underestimate Gio Bernard in this one either, as he has shown huge upside catching passes out of the backfield. Adding everything up, I think that Cincinnati has all the tools to win this one outright – they do have the better record, after all. Even if the Falcons are able to bounce back after a tough OT loss last weekend, I think it could be a last second field goal that ends up sealing the deal. I’ll take the underdog and the free points.