Weekly Wagers: 3 Props Week 9 Bills v Bengals

11/05/2023
DB+

You Buffalo Bills face off with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football in Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season! Challenging the Bengals brings a chance to get a small portion of revenge for the bitter playoff loss last season. Cincy legitimately beat the San Francisco 49ers last week, and, from some of the early trash talk, they’re feeling themselves a little. That’s ok. That will make shutting them up all the more enjoyable.

Did somebody say enjoyable? Another winning week was fun, especially when we got to pair it with a Bills’ victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • Tyler Bass o1.5 FG, -105, 0.5u, Result: 1 FG❌
  • Josh Allen o0.5 INT, +100, 0.5u, Result: 1 INT✅
  • Stefon Diggs o6.5 rec, -140, 0.5u, Result: 9 rec✅

Maybe if the Bills hadn’t struggled with several second-half drives we could have seen another FG attempt by Bass, but let’s not get greedy. Wait. Let’s absolutely get greedy – this is free money we’re talking about. We have only had two losing weeks this season, and we’re going to keep that momentum chugging forward.

First Things First

Here are a few rules to keep your betting a fun, enjoyable hobby.

  1. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  2. Don’t chase a bet.
  3. Don’t bet on what you don’t understand
  4. Check the other sportsbooks’ lines
  5. See Rule #1.

If you think you might have a gambling problem, please contact any of these agencies for help.

National Council on Problem Gambling: 1-800-522-4700.
Gambling Anonymous National Hotline: (888) GA-HELPS (888-424-3577)
Gambling Assistance Hotline: (800) 522-4700

Lastly, these are recommendations, not guarantees. Act accordingly.

Game Script

The Bengals may have started the year in rough shape with the Joe Burrow ankle/calf injury, but they are flying right now. Since week 5, Cincy has been one of the most effective offenses in the league:

From SIS

The red box around their success rate is highlighting that virtually everything the Bengals are doing offensively over the last month is effective. They are in the top six of success rate for all of their tendencies from Week 5 onward. They are humming.

The Bengals have used 11 personnel 79% of the time over the last four weeks, the fourth most. The Bills have struggled against 11p since the injuries to Matt Milano, Tre White, and DaQuan Jones. Versus 11p since Week 5, the Bills D ranks

  • 27th in Comp %
  • 23rd in EPA/Play
  • 21st in Boom Rate (a play of 1.0 EPA or better for the offense)
  • 31st in positive play rate

It’s not that the Bills’ defense can’t have a good game against the Bengals, but they will be challenged this week, and it will take raising their level of play to slow Joe Burrow and company.

When the Bills are on offense, there’s no reason to stop what they did last week. Twelve personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) still provides versatility and creates mismatches, but with Dawson Knox out for a while, sticking with 11p is a good option that they proved they can return to.

In Week 8, the Bills used 11p on 81% of snaps. That’s their highest percentage on the year. They also used RPO’s at the second highest rate  and no huddle at the fourth highest rate of all teams that week. Creating hesitation on the defense while also giving Allen built in fast answers was a big part of the success they has on offense against the Buccaneers. Keep it up Ken Dorsey.

CIN uses middle of the field closed coverages (MOFC) 60% of the time for third most in the league. When facing MOFC coverages like Cover 1 and Cover 3, the Bills’ offense is

  • 3rd in net yards gained
  • tied for 2nd in passing touchdowns and 3rd in TD %
  • 3rd in comp %
  • 11th in yards/attempt
  • 5th in total EPA

If the offense plays well, this could be a shootout. If the offense stumbles, it will be very difficult for the Bills’ defense to keep them in the game.

Prediction: The Bills could win this game, but it seems more likely that the Bengals’ offensive weapons just prove to be too much for a depleted defense, BUF 24 – CIN 31

For a thorough breakdown, check out Uber Hansen’s Game Matchups Preview.

DVOA Matchup

Graphic by Quinn Creative

Injury Reports

Weather

From the National Weather Service:

Sunday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 43.

Recommendations

Dalton Kincaid Receiving Yards

Book Line O U
DK 38.5 -125 -105
FD 38.5 -114 -114
MGM 38.5 -115 -115

This prop is as much about Kincaid’s increasing usage as it is Cincinnati’s defense. In Weeks 1-5, Kincaid saw 18 targets. In Weeks 7-8 (he missed Week 6 with a concussion), he has had 15 targets, and that is not just a result of Dawson Knox’s injury, as Knox played in Week 7 and Kincaid had 8 of those 15 targets in that game.

Since the start of Wk 5, the Bengals have not performed as well against tight ends.

  • Allowed the fourth most Yards/Game (75.7)
  • Seventh highest Yards/Attempt (8.7)
  • Eighth highest EPA/Play (0.29)
  • Given up the eleventh highest completion percentage (76.9%)

In addition, their season long DVOA to TEs ranks 29th (25.9%). Cincy has also relatively struggled in the middle of field, with a 21st ranked DVOA to the Middle (11%) and a 28th ranked DVOA to the Deep Middle (132.3%). To put that Deep Middle DVOA in perspective, the highest overall game by DVOA this season was when the Ravens destroyed the Lions so badly that all the baby Simbas ran away. The Ravens’ DVOA for that game was 128.3%. The second highest DVOA game this season was when the Bills dry docked the Dolphins, and that game scored 114.2%.

Recommendation: Kincaid o38.5 receiving yards, -114 at FD, 0.5u

Josh Allen Longest Rush

Book Line O U
DK 11.5 +100 -135
FD
MGM 11.5 +100 -135

Allen’s rushing attempts have returned in the last two weeks. He had seven rushing attempts in both Week 7 and 8 after not having more than 4 in Weeks 2-6. Even with the decrease in carries this season, he broke this line 3 times and had exactly 11 as a long versus Miami. This bet includes some respect for Bengals’ defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who has demonstrated an ability to throw new or at least unrecognizable looks on the field in terms of coverage. What happens when Josh Allen doesn’t see what he expects? He extends the play, which can often turn into broken play scrambles.

Cincy has allowed the third most Yards/Game (28.7) to QB rushing on the season. They’ve also allowed a broken or missed tackle on 23.4% of QB runs this year, which is the seventh highest rate. Remember how high this rate is when you look over the list of QBs they have encountered below.

The Bengals have not faced many mobile QBs this season, but the three they have lined up against have all gone over this line, and even Geno Smith got close.

  • Week 1: Deshaun Watson, long rush 13 yards
  • 2:Lamar Jackson, 12
  • 3: Matthew Stafford, 7
  • 4: Ryan Tannehill, 7
  • 5: Josh Dobbs, 2
  • 6: Geno Smith, 11
  • 7: Bye
  • 8: Brock Purdy, 16

You can take Allen’s rushing yards at 26.5, -115. I chose longest rush because of the lesser vig.

Recommendation: Allen longest rush o11.5 yards, +100, 0.5u

Gabe Davis Longest Reception

Book Line O U
DK 20.5 -110 -120
FD 20.5 -130 -102
MGM 19.5 -120 -110

Remember that 28th ranked Cincy defense by DVOA to the deep middle? That applies here too. Davis may have demonstrated a wider skill receiving skill set last week than what Bills Mafia has typically seen from their WR2, up until last week his average ADoT was 16.2.

The Bengals have allowed the most yards to the deep middle ( throws 20+ Air Yards to the Left Middle, Middle, and Right Middle) and 16.9 Yards/Attempt (11th). The majority of such targets go to Diggs, but Davis is second on that list, and Diggs’ line is six yards higher.

I expect the Bills to be playing from behind for at least part of this game. Diggs and Davis lead the Bills in targets and yards when the Bills are trailing by a touchdown or more in the second half. In those situations, Diggs’ Yards/Reception is 11.0 on an ADoT of 7.0. Davis’ numbers in those same scenarios are 24 and 19.5 respectively.

Recommendation: Davis longest reception o19.5, -120 at MGM, 0.5u

Conclusion

This game has significant playoff implications for the Bills and Bengals both. Hopefully Kansas City beats Miami over in Germany, but even so, a win against the team that knocked the Bills out of the playoffs last year would be a nice way to kick start the second half of the season.

Record: 15-9, 62.5%, +10.79u

You can find Chris on Twitter (@lowbuffa), getting dirty in #MafiaGardens, or watching football. Go Bills!

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