If you would have told me that the top two teams in the AFC North through the first six weeks were the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, I would have called you crazy.
While the Ravens have performed well since Lamar Jackson has been the starting quarterback, the Bengals are a pleasant surprise to begin the season.
We’ll get an opportunity to see how legitimate the Bengals are in Week 7 when they travel to take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is currently favored in this game after stringing together five consecutive wins following an overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1.
Who will emerge victorious in this anticipated AFC North battle on Sunday? Check out my prediction and best bets for the upcoming matchup between the Bengals and the Ravens in Week 7 below.
Please note that all odds are current as of 12 PM EST on Friday, October 22.
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Bengals vs. Ravens Prediction
When the Ravens began the season with a league-high 17 players on injured reserve, everyone wrote them off. But in the first six weeks of the regular season, Baltimore has shown they can win games in a multitude of ways.
Besides having a lethal rushing attack led by Lamar Jackson, Jackson is playing at MVP level through the air as well.
Jackson is completing a career-best 67.5 percent of his pass attempts for 1,686 yards and nine touchdowns. The former NFL MVP has also carried the ball 64 times for 392 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
It has been a bad year for the ‘Jackson can’t throw’ crowd, as he’s led multiple clutch drives with his arm.
Even though the Ravens are shorthanded on defense, they were able to limit Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers to six points in Week 6. That isn’t great news for Joe Burrow, who has gotten off to a fantastic for the Bengals in his first six games back from a serious knee injury from a season ago.
Regardless of whether or not people view Cincinnati as contenders, they have a 4-2 record. Burrow has a new shiny weapon in Ja’Marr Chase that is off to a historic start for a rookie wide receiver with 553 yards and five touchdowns on 27 receptions.
Along with Chase, the Bengals have a talented offense with Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and C.J. Uzomah. Also, Cincinnati’s defense has been much improved this season, but they’ll have their hands full in containing Jackson on Sunday.
Even though this feels like a different Bengals squad than years past, I envision the Ravens taking care of business at home.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Bengals 17
Bengals vs. Ravens Best Bets
2021 NFL Betting Record: 0-4-0 (-4.0 units)
We are going to get back on track this week, as we’ve had some bad luck in the past two weeks!
Best Bet: Ravens -6.5 (-110) at BetMGM
Wager: 1 Unit
The Ravens have played in some close games this season, with three of their five wins coming by six or fewer points. But I believe Baltimore is beginning to find its identity this season, which does not bode well for Cincinnati.
While the Bengals do look like a team on the rise, they haven’t fared well versus the Ravens in years past. Baltimore is 5-0 straight up versus Cincinnati, and is 4-1 straight up against the Bengals at home. Also, the Ravens are 5-1 against the spread in their past six home contests.
Baltimore enters Sunday’s divisional game as the favorite. The Ravens should have success running the ball against the Bengals, and I believe Jackson can carve up the secondary of the Bengals enough to secure the win by at least a touchdown.
At the same time, the defense of the Ravens is playing inspired football right now despite being riddled with injuries. It’s not easy holding Herbert to 195 passing yards and the Chargers to six points, yet Baltimore did it with relative ease.
Burrow could make a couple of mistakes that lead to easy points for the Ravens.
Best Bet: Under 46.5 Total Points (-110) at BetMGM
Wager: 0.5 Units
Once again, I’m not a massive fan of betting the under on games as I feel disgusting rooting for a lower-scoring game. But there’s a chance we see only one of these teams reach 20 points in Week 7 as the Ravens have a defense that is capable of stifling the offense of the Bengals.
Baltimore will want to seize control of the game early by controlling the time of possession and taking their shots down the field when the opportunity presents itself. Jackson and the rushing attack are going to be a focal point for Cincinnati’s defense, but slowing them down is easier said than done.
The total has gone under in seven out of Baltimore’s last 10 games. Since Jackson has been the full-time starting quarterback of the Ravens in 2019, only one of the four meetings with the Bengals has eclipsed 48 total points, which was a 49-13 win back in 2019.
Even though I don’t see a massive blowout taking place, the Ravens could have firm control of the game and choose to lean on the run game once they secure a lead.