The San Francisco 49ers (5-2) enter their Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) having lost two straight. The good news for the 49ers is that they will be back at home, where they have not lost in over a year.
Cincinnati is fresh off a bye, which should help quarterback Joe Burrow return to close to full strength after dealing with a calf injury he suffered in training camp. The Bengals have won each of their past two games, both against NFC West opponents.
Here are our predictions and best bets for Sunday’s matchup.
Bengals vs 49ers Odds
NFL odds used for this Cincinnati vs San Francisco preview were found at DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbook and are current as of Tuesday, Oct. 24, at noon ET.
- Moneyline: 49ers (-238) • Bengals (+195)
- Spread: 49ers -5.5 (-110) • Bengals +5.5 (-110)
- Total Points: Over 46 (-110) • Under 46 (-110)
- Implied Score: 49ers 25.75, Bengals 20.25
Bengals vs 49ers Predictions
Score Pick: 49ers 23, Bengals 17
This game presents an interesting dynamic as Cincinnati is fresh off a bye and a two-game winning streak, while the 49ers are limping into their Week 8 contest having lost two straight. Having said that, I still believe the Bengals will face an uphill climb to keep both streaks alive.
Cincinnati enters this matchup with the 27th-ranked defense in rush defense DVOA. That is bad news when facing San Francisco.
Christian McCaffrey was a question mark heading into Monday night’s game with an oblique injury. All he did was score two touchdowns while playing every offensive snap.
Assuming he is no worse for wear, he should have another strong outing against Cincinnati.
On the flip side, Bengals running back Joe Mixon has looked like a shell of his former self through six games. Among 36 running backs with at least 50 attempts, Mixon ranks 28th in yards per attempt after contact, 31st in breakaway percentage, and 33rd in elusive rating.
Add in a passing game that averages the fewest yards per attempt in the NFL, and the Bengals may be hard-pressed to put up enough points to win this game outright.
Bengals vs 49ers Best Bets & Props
Bengals Under 20.5 (-118)
FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
San Francisco had a rare defensive dud on Monday night, and yet still only allowed 22 points. Its only other game this season allowing more than 20 was when Sean McVay famously kicked a field goal on the last play of the game despite trailing by 10 points.
Burrow should enter this game the healthiest he has been all season. However, I am not convinced Cincinnati suddenly opens up its offense against a San Francisco defense that has generated 69 pressures (ninth-most in the NFL) despite blitzing at the second-lowest rate in the league.
The Bengals have made a concerted effort to manage Burrow’s injury by designing short, quick throws to keep him from being pressured. It has worked in keeping their star quarterback on the field, but it has limited their ability to break big plays.
Cincinnati’s 5.3 yards per pass play is the lowest in the NFL.
The Bengals’ offense has only generated 20 points or more in one of six games so far this year. Despite San Francisco’s uncharacteristically bad defensive performance on Monday night in Minnesota, I expect it to bounce back and keep Cincinnati in check.
I am taking the Under on Cincinnati’s team total as my NFL bet of the day.
Under 46 (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
This bet is sort of an extension of the first bet. I expect the 49ers to hold the Bengals somewhere in the teens in terms of total points.
That would mean San Francisco would have to score roughly 30 points itself for this game to go Over.
That threshold is certainly within San Francisco’s range of outcomes. However, this feels like a different and much less explosive offense without star wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
The 49ers have managed just 17 points in each of their last two games.
This bet is more in favor of San Francisco’s defense as opposed to one against its offense, but either way, I believe the 49ers and Bengals combine to score fewer than 46 total points on Sunday.
1Q Under 7.5 (-116)
FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
I am expecting both teams to feel each other out in the beginning, which should be punctuated by some conservative play calls. This should lead to a low-scoring first quarter.
Even when San Francisco’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, its offense usually took a while to get going within games. Meanwhile, its defense has been stellar early in games.
It has allowed 13 total points in seven first quarters this year, and five straight 49ers games have played to the Under on this number.
Cincinnati has only scored 20 points in six first quarters this year but has only allowed 20, as well. Four of its six games have gone below this number.
Bengals vs 49ers Same Game Parlay
Bengals vs 49ers SGP (+265)
FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.5 Units
- 49ers -2.5 (-210)
- Under 49.5 (-180)
- 1Q Under 7.5 (-116)
This is a combination of the plays listed above. I like San Francisco to win this game, but I am unsure about laying the 5.5 points. So, I grabbed an extra three points to bring the point spread below the key number of three.
I did the same with the total points, raising the number to 49.5. The game will be played in the high 30s to low 40s, but this buys us an extra few points in case there is more scoring than I am projecting.
Adding the first-quarter play I discussed above makes the payout much nicer if everything clicks as expected.