The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals meet for the third time this season and the second time in two weeks when these AFC North rivals clash in the Wild Card Round on Sunday night.
Cincinnati earned the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture and once again faces a familiar foe with some serious questions at quarterback.
As of this writing, starter Lamar Jackson has been ruled out and Baltimore is still waiting on QB Tyler Huntley to even throw a ball in practice. That once again leaves QB3 Anthony Brown as the potential passer in this postseason game.
Obviously, this situation leaves gaps in the NFL prop betting markets for Sunday’s Wild Card contest. But we work with what we got (a whole bunch of Bengals props) and I give my best NFL prop picks and predictions for Ravens at Bengals below.
Ravens vs Bengals Wild Card prop picks
- Perine Over 16.5 rushing yards (-110)
- Drake anytime touchdown (+600)
- McPherson Over 7.5 total points (-115)
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Ravens vs Bengals Wild Card props
Perine and feelin' fine
With the quarterback situation looking grim in Baltimore, the spread has spiked from as low as Cincinnati -5.5 to as high as -10. Last week’s matchup, which also saw Anthony Brown under center for the Ravens, closed at Bengals -12.5, so this spread has room to grow.
Given that beefy spread, game script would call for Cincy to get out to a big lead and run out of the clock with plenty of handoffs in the second half — something that didn’t transpire in Week 18.
The Bengals jumped out to an early 17-0 lead thanks to Ravens turnovers and didn’t put a lot of distance on the scoreboard, looking flat in the second half of that Week 18 finale which saw Cincy get outscored 9-3 in the final 30 minutes.
Honestly, it was a weird week for the Bengals, who were shaken by the Damar Hamlin incident in their Monday matchup with Buffalo, which was suspended and eventually cancelled. The team was inactive for a few days following that game and admittedly had motivation issues coming into Week 18.
Cincinnati ran the ball just 20 times for 55 yards but I’m expecting a much better effort on offense from the top EPA team in the second half of the season — whistle to whistle — which means holding a big lead and killing clock with the run in the second half.
Bengals running back Samaje Perine had six of those carries last weekend, rushing for just 18 yards. His rushing yards prop for the Wild Card Round is sitting as low as 16.5 yards (Over -110), which even against the stingy Baltimore run defense is very attainable.
Before the 18 yards in Week 18, Perine took only two snaps vs. Pittsburgh in Week 17 and had only three yards on four attempts in Week 16, but had gone well Over the 16.5-yard bar in the six games prior to that season-ending stretch.
Perine is still getting on the field at a higher rate than earlier in the year and finished the regular season with a snap percentage over 41% for a Cincinnati team that ran the ball only 37.9% of the time – 28th in the NFL. That’s a big reason why his rushing total is so low.
However, given the situation and uptick in offense from the Bengals that I’m expecting, Perine will be a closer for Cincinnati in the second half and go Over his player prop total.
Samaje Perine Prop: Over 16.5 rushing yards (-110)
"You & The 6"
Much like the title of the hip-hop track by the artist who shares a name with the Baltimore Ravens running back, Kenyan Drake scored “six” in last Sunday’s finale with the Bengals.
With backfield mate J.K. Dobbins sitting out the last game for rest reasons, Drake logged a season-high 51 total snaps in Week 18.
He got the goal-line carry for a four-yard score in the second quarter and finished with a solid day on offense, adding 60 yards on 16 carries along with two catches on five targets (another season high) for 19 yards receiving in the 27-16 loss.
With Dobbins back but Gus Edwards in concussion protocol, Drake could once again feature prominently in the Ravens’ playbook this Sunday.
He’s a better receiving option than Dobbins and with the game script calling for Baltimore to play from behind, Drake could build on his role in the passing game with Brown under center. That makes him a versatile option and opens up ways for him to once again find the end zone.
His touchdown anytime markets range from +450 to +600, providing much more pop than Dobbins’ TD props (+155 to +120) vs. a Cincinnati defense that ranks No. 7 in DVOA inside the red zone. Baltimore bettors may not have much to cheer for on Sunday night, but Drake finding pay dirt at this price is one of them.
Kenyan Drake Prop: Anytime touchdown (+600)
One of the biggest stars of the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl last season was kicker Evan McPherson, who made countless high-pressure kicks en route to the AFC Championship and a narrow loss to Los Angeles in the Big Game.
This time around, the 23-year-old McPherson is a grizzled veteran of postseason play and just as vital to Cincinnati’s success in the second season. Sunday’s contest with the rival Ravens will put his foot to the test, especially considering Baltimore’s solid stop unit and stingy play inside the red zone.
The Ravens are ranked No. 4 in DVOA in the RZ defense and limited foes to a 46.4% TD rate inside the 20-yard line (third lowest) on the season, tightening that TD percentage to just 20% in the final three games of the schedule. Baltimore forces opponents to settle for 2.2 field goal attempts per game (10th most) on the year and has upped that to three FGA over the past three outings.
Last week, Cincy went 1-for-3 in the red zone against Baltimore and McPherson was called in for two field goals, adding a 3-for-3 effort on extra points to finish with nine total points in Week 18.
His point total for Sunday night is 7.5 (Over -115), a mark McPherson has topped in five of his last seven contests. He’s missed only one field goal attempt in that span, going 13-for-14 since Week 11 while going 18-for-19 on PATs. Last year’s postseason run saw McPherson score 48 total points in four games, with perfect marks of 14-for-14 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points.
Given the game script for the Wild Card Round (and good kicking weather), McPherson has a window for PATs and will likely connect on field goals in the second half as the Bengals try to put a bow on the battle with a Baltimore defense that can bend but won’t often break.
Evan McPherson Prop: Over 7.5 total points (-115)