Vikings vs. Bengals betting lines, props, predictions: Minnesota brings reeling offense to Cincinnati in battle of playoff hopefuls

Week 15 brings an interesting Saturday matchup in Cincinnati in which the Vikings (7-6) square off vs. the Bengals (7-6). The Bengals opened as 4-point favorites with the OVER/UNDER at just 39. 

While both teams boast the same win-loss record, their offenses are performing at wildly different levels recently.

Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like the Browns messed up badly by trading away QB/brilliant NASA aerospace engineer Josh Dobbs, and that the Cardinals were similarly foolish for peddling Dobbs to the Vikings after Kirk Cousins’ season-ending injury.

Now it seems like the Vikings might like to send Dobbs to a distant planet. Dobbs was pulled from the lowest-scoring game in the NFL in the past 16 years in Week 14, a 3-0 road win to the Raiders in Las Vegas that was also the lowest-scoring dome game in NFL history.

Dobbs’ anemic 10-of-23 for 63 yards (and five sacks) stat line through three quarters wasn’t even the worst aspect of his performance. The nod for that definitely came on a play where he led star WR Justin Jefferson into taking a huge hit on a poorly thrown ball, causing Jefferson to be ruled out for the game and taken to a hospital with a chest injury that could cause him to miss this week’s game.

On the home-team side of the ball, the Bengals looked like their goose of playoff hope was cooked after Jake Browning’s lackluster debut as a starter (in light of Joe Burrow’s season-ending wrist injury) vs. the Steelers, which ended up a 16-10 loss sending to Cincinnati to a 5-6 record. However, Browning has run off two scintillating starts since then, winning both and putting 34 points up against the Jaguars and Colts.

Betting odds for Vikings vs. Bengals: Point spread, moneyline, total for NFL Week 15 matchup

Here are the latest NFL betting odds for Vikings vs. Bengals:

More NFL wagering: Top 5 NFL betting sites | Best NFL betting promos and bonuses

Bengals betting news: 

Cincinnati is 6-6-1 vs. the spread in 2023, and the tricky thing is trying to figure out how Jake Browning is making the offense purr, and how much longer his hot play will continue. 

The Bengals are 1-2 ATS with Browning at the helm, and the back-to-back weeks notching 34 points have contributed to them surpassing the OVER in their last two contests (including totaling 24 points more than the OVER vs. Jacksonville).

Two recent bright spots on the Bengals offensive unit have contributed significantly to Cincinnati performing well without their star QB available:

  • After missing Weeks 10-12 with a nagging hamstring issue, WR Tee Higgins returned to the lineup in Jacksonville for their Monday Night Football game in Week 13. Higgins’ numbers have gradually ramped back up to his normal and impressive averages (3 targets/3 catches/36 yards vs. Jaguars and 2/4/72 vs Colts). While those stat lines aren’t eye-popping, having Higgins on the field makes it way harder for opposing defenses to double Ja’Marr Chase on the other side of the field the way they can when the Bengals WR2 is Tyler Boyd or Trenton Irwin.
  • Rookie RB Chase Brown notched two carries through the first six weeks of the season, and nobody stood out as a productive backup to longtime stalwart Joe Mixon.That all began to change in the Jacksonville game where Brown notched nine carries for 61 yards. That performance was just an exciting prelude to Brown’s Week 14 explosion when he racked up eight carries for 25 yards on the ground, and three catches for 80 yards through the air. This included a 54-yard touchdown scamper in which Brown showed a level of breakaway speed that is going to make it hard for Zac Taylor and company to keep off the field in the coming weeks.

Vikings betting news: 

The Vikings are 7-4-2 ATS in 2023. More importantly, they are 2-2-1 in the Josh Dobbs era. That era might be closed or at least paused as Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell seems inclined to trot Nick Mullens out there in favor of Dobbs this week. Mullens’ 9-of-13 for 83 yards stat line in relief isn’t exactly Culpepper-to-Moss territory, but the Vikings have to hope that if their QBs continue to struggle to put up points maybe they can at least limit throws that are so off-target that they get their star players smashed and needing hospital visits.

Minnesota has failed to hit the OVER in any of their last three games, which makes sense when you see that they’ve scored 3,10 and 20 in them. In addition to losing Justin Jefferson late last week, the Vikings are also heading into Cincinnati on a short-week Saturday game with the prospect that starting RB Alexander Mattison could join Jefferson on the bench for this crucial game after his ankle injury last week. 

If that’s the case, and Minnesota’s offense misses Jefferson and Mattison, look for Cincinnati to play aggressively and bet against Mattison’s less-explosive understudy Ty Chandler doing significant damage per carry. Chandler has mustered just 151 yards on his last 41 carries, and the running game is likely to struggle regardless of which QB the Vikings opt to start.

Vikings vs. Bengals props

Sportsbooks had not yet posted Vikings vs. Bengals player props as of this writing, but two angles to pursue include:

  • Tee Higgins TD Scorer prop: Higgins had a TD catch on a throw from backup QB AJ McCarron wiped off the board due to offensive pass interference, but look for the mega-tall Bengals wideout to find paydirt this week at home.
  • TJ Hockenson OVER receptions: With the Vikings likely down their starting QB, WR and RB, it makes sense to portend that Minnesota will target their standout TE a lot. His target share the past five games (12, 15, 7, 6, 8) has been robust, and this is unlikely to change given the pickle that Minnesota’s offense finds itself in.

Vikings vs. Bengals prediction

The Bengals offense is clicking, and it’s hard to think of a good reason they will fall too far short of the 34 points per game they’ve notched twice in a row. The Vikings offense is of growing concern and uncertainty, and their defense is going to have to be on the field more than they’d like to this week. Look for Ja’Marr Chase to break off some long scoring plays and for the Bengals new dual-threat rushing attack to be problematic for Minnesota to stop. This game should also go OVER largely due to the Bengals.

Pick: Cincinnati

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *