ANDY RICHMOND is a lifelong punter and sports enthusiast who now writes extensively on horse racing and the NFL. His CV includes long spells on Timeform Radio and Racing UK having previously held several positions at the then-fledgling Betfair Exchange where he worked for six years. He has a particular love for the statistical and analytical side of sports which fits in well with the NFL. He writes all the NFL content on Paul Jones subscription service as well as having his own betting advisory service.
Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Both teams are 3-1 and given the Bengals record in previous seasons that’s quite a surprise win-loss tally that the home teams holds at the moment. This is the first time that they hold such a win-loss statistic since 2018. However it may be best to remember who those wins have come against as so far the Bengals have beaten, the Vikings (1-3), Steelers (1-3) and Jaguars (0-4) and that trio have combined for just two wins so far. They trailed the Jaguars 14-0 at one point last week and if they start as slowly again the Packers will have this put to bed early.
The Packers have turned events around after a truly appalling Week 1 drubbing by the Saints winning their next three in a row in fairly convincing fashion and outscoring their opponents by 30 points. They are now 29-7 under head coach Matt LeFleur in regular season games but do have some injury worries coming into this game particularly in their defensive secondary (main cornerback Jaire Alexander is out) and on the offensive line which may have to be shuffled around as starting center Josh Myers is also missing due to a finger injury. In fact Green Bay finished their Week 4 game against the Steelers with seven of their starters on both sides of the ball missing.
So far the Bengals this year have played at what can only be described as a sluggish pace with their games averaging the league’s fewest combined snaps by a good margin (116.3). There are signs though that they are moving in a more up-tempo direction with their offence though and that trend may well continue here with head coach Zac Taylor installing a more pass-driven game plan. That pattern of play could be forced on Taylor with main running back Joe Mixon under an injury cloud and a full set of receivers about to take to the field.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will appreciate the shackles being loosened a little especially as he’s likely to get the services of wide receiver Tee Higgins back this week to compliment his other two receivers the reliable Tyler Boyd and the deep threat of Ja’Marr Chase. Boyd leads the Bengals in catches (23) and first-down conversions (14) on throws from Burrow and is very much the trusted go-to receiver. Chase who has speed to burn and could well have a big day against the Packers depleted secondary; he has 250 receiving yards against man coverage this season which is the best in the NFL. Chase has also had one 30-yard catch in each of his first four games in the NFL and it won’t be a surprise to see him extend that streak on Sunday.
Green Bay have yet to stop a team from scoring a touchdown in the red zone with the Packers surrendering 11 TDs on 11 red zone attempts to open the year. Injuries aren’t going to fix that wound and the Bengals may well be able to take their opportunities if they play a more open game.
For all their injuries if you put the first week debacle down as an outlier the Packers are 3-0 against the spread (ATS) and operating at an efficient offensive level and it’s not as though that they don’t have offensive weapons of their own. With reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback the Packers offence always has to be respected especially as Rodgers connections with wide receiver Davante Adams is exceptional. Adams is garnering a massive 38% target share this season with 31 receptions already to his name and he’s already exceeded 100 yards receiving in two of his four games this season. The Bengals secondary has given up some big performances to wide receivers this year and Adams is once again likely to be a principal target.
One part of the Packers passing attack that goes under the radar is the contribution of tight-end Robert Tonyan and his increasing role in the Green Bay offence was notable last week against the Steelers where her set a season high in snaps (78%), targets (7) and routes run (32). Tonyan could see a similar amount of action against the Bengals and it won’t be a surprise to see him used in red zone situations as he continues to create match up mismatches.
There is plenty of evidence that points to this being a slow-paced game in terms of tempo but there may be value ingoing against the crowd here with both offences capable of playing at a level beyond what we have seen so far this season. Cincinnati in particular may be forced to go down a more pass-orientated to route and the Packers are more than capable of joining in and the game has some underhand potential of producing more touchdowns and points than the lines suggest.
BACK Ja’Marr Chase over +62.5 receiving yards 2pts at 5-6 (Latest Star Price CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Robert Tonyan to score a TD 1pt at 7-4 (Latest Star Price CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Over +5.5 match touchdowns 2pts at 5-6 (Latest Star Price CLICK TO BET NOW)
PROFIT/LOSS (OCTOBER 2021): PROFT 5.34 points
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