Cincinnati @ DENVER
DENVER -3 +102 over Cincinnati

Pinnacle -3 +103  BET365 -3 -105 SportInteraction -2½ -125 BetOnline -3-105 Bookmaker -3 -105 

Posted at 10:30 AM EST.

DENVER -3 +103 over Cincinnati

1:00 PM EST. We want to crown Joe Burrow and the Bengals as much as the next fella, but we’re afraid it’s not going to happen this year. While the 17-game season has strung things out a little longer. At 7-6, there are a pile of teams bunched in with Cincy in Wild Card hell, including the Broncos, but much can change in just one week. ESPN predicts that the Bengals have a 30% chance to get into the postseason dance if all wrapped up today, but that number would drop to just 17% with a loss. A win and it’s 49%. You get the point. This is a volatile situation, but the Bengals are being given the respect of a team whose destiny is locked in stone behind its franchise pivot and his core of young stud wide receivers (Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins) and the reliable Tyler Boyd. However, the Bengals’ last month of the season is a meat grinder (all games against teams over .500) and their star pivot has a messed up digit.

Rarely do we discuss injuries, but when they fall on the throwing hand of the only competent quarterback on the roster, we’re going to have a closer look at the problem. As for Burrow, dude barely practiced this week and will play, but as we’ve seen with the likes of Russell Wilson this season, a throwing hand at less than 100% is not an ideal situation. If you’ve not seen the raw footage of Burrow’s mangled finger from Cincy’s Week 13 loss to the Chargers, we’ll save you the trouble. Dude’s pinky was sticking out straight sideways. Gross. It’s not a bold statement to say that the Bengals go as Burrow goes and since he’s been playing with a thumb and three fingers, Cincy is 0-2, getting outscored 67-45 and now sit third in the AFC North with the Browns and Ravens in front of it.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have quietly put together a 7-6 campaign of their own, but in a division with both Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes, ain’t nobody gonna notice Ol’ Wobbly Balls Teddy Bridgewater, who is slinging a pretty nice ball this year. Not to mention the Denver defense, which has not missed a beat since the trading of Von Miller to the Rams.

Remember when the cries of tanking were coming from the Mile High City? Since then, the Broncs have gone 3-2, but have a pair of very nice wins over the Cowboys and Chargers. As for last weekend’s 38-10 waffling of the Lions? It might not impress on paper, but it was about as textbook a win as there could be for Denver. The 2021 Broncos make few mistakes and they pound the ball on the ground with the two-headed monster in the backfield that is Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. Bridgewater is Steady Teddy, doing just enough to guide this ship, but not enough to steer it off course. Finally, the Broncos’ defense, especially their secondary, is one of the top units in the league and can be a nightmare for anyone. Just ask Jared Goff (1 INT), Herbert (2 INTs), Mahomes (1 INT) and Dak Prescott (1 INT).

It wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t point out that the Broncos smacked the mighty Chiefs around Arrowhead in Week 14 everywhere except the scoreboard. That will happen when you lose that turnover battle. However, Denver owned the time of possession by seven minutes, had 22 first downs to K.C.’s 15 and outgained the Chiefs by 137 yards while racking up 400 yards of total offense. Patrick Mahomes was contained to just 184 yards passing and another dozen on the ground. The Broncos are so sneaky good and nobody is talking about them. That should suit us all just fine right here. Denver is still one of the hardest places in this league to play and teams far better than the Bungles have had miserable afternoon’s at Mile High this season.

We often discuss betting a team a week too late. Denver is quietly gaining steam and should they stomp the Bengals here like we expect, its stock is going to shoot up. Next week all the pundits will be talking about them. That's when they'll all be too late to the party. For the third straight week, give us more Broncos and when everyone jumps on next week when they play in Vegas, that'll be the time to jump off. Don't be too late to the party.

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Our Pick

DENVER -3 +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)

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