Pro Football on the Southeast corner of the US and college football on the Northwest corner of the country highlight two games I’m looking at for your wagering options.
Cincinnati (-3) at Miami – Last we left the Cincinnati Bengals; they were dropping a 49-9 butt-kicking on the New York Jets in Paul Brown Stadium. This is of course the same Jets’ team that a week prior beat the New England Patriots and the week before that lost at home to a down Pittsburgh Steelers’ team.
Therefore, what do we take from the Bengals? For starters, this is a team that is now 6-2 and already has a firm grasp on the AFC North which vying to be the NFL’s worst division in 2013. This is also a team that has won four straight including a really big road win in Detroit prior to their beat down of the Jets.
Quarterback Andy Dalton is playing as well as he has during his three-year career. He threw five touchdown passes against the Jets and made it look pretty easy at the same time.
What will be interesting with Cincinnati is to see how the defense reacts to having lost linebacker Ray Maualuga for the next three to four weeks with a knee sprain. He’s played very well in 2013. The team also learned this week that safety Taylor Mays was going on the Injured Reserve list with a bad shoulder.
The strength of the Bengals’ defense is undeniably their front seven which gets great pressure and stops the run, so more may be asked of them in Maualuga’s absence.
For Miami, a short week might be the best medicine to cure their “Patriots’ Hangover.” The Dolphins led 17-3 into the second half in Foxboro before succumbing to the Pats 24-17. That 3-0 start down in South Beach now seems like forever ago as the Fins have lost four-straight.
A big part of the problem has been a lack of consistency in running the ball. Miami ranks just 23rd in the NFL with about 89 yards rushing per game. Often thought to be the strength of the team, the defense is suddenly lacking in firepower as well. They are giving up almost 30 points a game in those four losses and are getting beaten both on the ground and through the air.
This game clearly has a lot more impact for the Dolphins than it does for the Bengals but Cincinnati is streaking in one direction while the Dolphins are headed in the complete opposite. Take the Bengals to cover even on the road.
Arizona State (-12) at Washington State – If you’ve been lulled to sleep by Pac-12 powers Oregon and Stanford in recent weeks who could blame you? In their shadow is lurking the Sun Devils who are quietly leading the weaker, yet respectable Pac-12 South Division. They are averaging over 45 points per game and are fresh off a win at home over Washington where they laid 53 on the Huskies.
Now ASU travels north to play Washington State. The Cougars sit at 4-4 and boast an offense under Mike Leach that has no problems passing the football. They rank 6th with over 383 yards passing per game while the rushing attack is the complete opposite. They rush for just 58 yards per good which is good for 123rd in the nation.
The Sun Devils need to be careful here. They are not going to have any problems scoring points against the Wazzau, but they should expect a shootout either way. The over/under is 71 and I’m all over the ‘over’ here. I do suggest however, you take the Cougars and the points. I expect a lot of points and I can see Washington State keeping it close.