NFL Wild Card Betting Preview - Las Vegas Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Wild Card Betting Preview - Las Vegas Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals

Barry Devoe
2 years ago
2 min read
NFL Wild Card Betting Preview - Las Vegas Raiders vs Cincinnati Bengals

The NFL playoffs kick off on Saturday with an afternoon game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati enters this game as a six-point favorite, as they look to beat the Raiders for the second time this season. 

But the Raiders will look to get revenge on Cincinnati for the regular season matchup and will look to build off of their dramatic Week 18 victory that got them into the playoffs.

Las Vegas Raiders

It wasn't easy, but the Las Vegas Raiders won and got the help they needed in Week 18 to qualify for the NFL playoffs. 

The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a shocking upset, while the Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime on Sunday Night Football to secure a playoff berth. 

Las Vegas blew a 15-point lead to go to overtime but got a game-winning field goal as time expired to clinch their spot in the tournament.

This week, the Raiders will hope to build on their best offensive performance in close to two months. Derek Carr and the Raiders' passing game functioned at a high level against the Chargers, and they will need a similar output against the Bengals. 

Given how explosive the Bengals are on offense, Las Vegas might need to score into the 30s to have a chance to win this game.

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Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals lost in Week 18 to the Cleveland Browns, but that was largely by design. Cincinnati rested Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon in that game and could not generate consistent offense without their top-two offensive players. This week, Mixon and Burrow are expected to return, and the Bengals are expected to return to form on the offensive side of the ball.

For Cincinnati, the question in this game will be whether their defense can stand up to the challenge against the Raiders. 

Las Vegas has been inconsistent on offense over the final couple of months of the season, but they have the potential to light up the scoreboard on any given week. 

Cincinnati's secondary will be put under the spotlight here, as they will need to avoid giving up explosive plays to deep threats like Zay Jones.

Keys to the Game

As six-point underdogs coming into this week, the biggest key for the Raiders is going to be their running game. Being able to move the ball on the ground and set up short yardage opportunities on second and third down will be essential to keep the ball away from the Bengals as much as possible. 

If they can do that, limiting the number of possessions in the game, they could set up an opportunity for an upset on the road.

Cincinnati's lack of experience in these types of big games will be their biggest key to this game. Burrow hasn't played in the NFL playoffs yet in his career, nor have most of the Bengals. They will need to avoid falling behind due to nerves, even if they enter this game as the favorite over the Raiders.

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