Bengals vs Lions Week 6 Picks and Predictions: Cincinnati's Bright Start Rolls Through the Motor City

The Bengals have started 2021 brightly, with a functional and talented offense helped by a surprising defense. Our NFL betting picks breakdown why Cinci can keep it going against a Lions team getting painfully close to a win.

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2021 1:42 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals NFL
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The Cincinnati Bengals head to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions in Week 6 of NFL action on Sunday afternoon.

After another loss on a last-second field goal, the Lions are still looking for their first win of the season and oddsmakers don't expect them to get it this week, with NFL betting lines installing the Bengals as 3.5-point road favorites. 

Here are our best free Bengals vs. Lions picks and predictions for Sunday, October 17, with kickoff at 1 pm. ET.

Bengals vs Lions odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Bengals opened as 3.5-point favorites for this contest with the Over/Under set at 47.5. Early action has come in on the Under, moving the total to 46.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Bengals vs Lions picks

Picks made on 10/15/2021 at 11:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Bengals vs Lions game info

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Date: Sunday, October 17, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Bengals at Lions betting preview


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Key injuries

Bengals: Trae Waynes CB (Out), Xavier Su'a-Filo G (Out), Tre Flowers CB (Out).
Lions: Frank Ragnow C (Out), Jeff Okudah CB (Out), Quintez Cephus WR (Out), Romeo Okwara ED (Out), Da'Shawn Hand DL (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Bengals are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight-up loss. Find more NFL betting trends for Bengals vs. Lions.

Bengals vs Lions predictions

The Lions are 0-5 SU (3-2 ATS) heading into Week 6 and still looking to get in the win column after they lost on a 54-yard Vikings field goal as time expired last week. That was their second loss on a last-second kick in the last three weeks (with Baltimore's Justin Tucker setting an NFL record with a 66-yarder in Week 4), although bettors can take solace in the fact that they easily covered the spread in both contests. 

The focal point of the Bengals' offense is last year's first overall draft pick, Joe Burrow. The quarterback suffered a throat contusion but is expected to play on Sunday, and he's fourth in the league with a 71.7 completion percentage while ranking sixth in yards per pass attempt (8.8).

The Bengals' attack was expected to be improved with Burrow entering his second year and the addition of first round wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, but their defense has been a pleasant surprise. Cincinnati is seventh in the league in defensive DVOA and has been very tough up front, where they rank fourth in stuff rate. 

The Lions are towards the bottom of the league in nearly every defensive metric, including being dead-last in yards allowed per pass attempt with 9.3. They've also struggled on offense, where they rank 28th in passing DVOA and 25th in rushing DVOA.

With the Lions 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win, and the Bengals 10-3 ATS in their previous 13 contests following a SU loss, take Cincy to win and cover. 

While Burrow and the Bengals' offense receive plenty of publicity, they are averaging a modest 22.8 points per game, in large part due to playing at the slowest pace in the league. 

However, the Bengals defense has been tough, holding foes to 20 ppg. Last week, their secondary was burned by Packers wideout Davante Adams for 206 yards, but the Lions don't have any deep threats in the same stratosphere as Adams. Especially with Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus on the IR. 

Detroit's offense is extremely limited with QB Jared Goff typically checking down. Detroit's lack of success downfield isn't solely to blame on Goff's arm strength because the line isn't holding blocks long enough, receivers aren't getting separation, and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn isn't drawing up deep plays. 

Regardless of who is to blame, Detroit's conservative passing game has been a recipe for Unders, with fewer than 40 total points scored in each of the Lions' previous three contests. With the Bengals also cashing the Under in four straight games, take the Under 46.5 on Sunday. 

Drafting Chase at fifth overall was a great call for a Bengals franchise looking to give Burrow more weapons. The former LSU Tiger has reunited with his former college QB without missing a beat and has 456 receiving yards while averaging 19.6 yards per reception. 

The Bengals' backfield is banged up this week, with starting running back Joe Mixon listed as questionable and absent from Thursday's practice, while backup Samaje Perine was placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday. That should mean a game script with lots of passing, which will likely mean more deep throws to Chase. 

Detroit's secondary might be the worst in the league, with the Lions ranking last in the league in both yards per completion allowed (13.7) and defensive DVOA against deep passes. Chase has snagged a reception of at least 34 yards in every game this season and looks like a strong bet to go Over 26.5 yards on his longest reception versus the Lions. 

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