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2023 NFL Week 13 Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Christian Kirk, left, and QB Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) celebrates wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) two point conversion against the Houston Texans in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals (5-6) at Jaguars (8-3)

Spread: Jaguars -8.5

Total: 38.5

Weather: No current concerns

The Line Report

The spread for this contest has stayed at Jaguars -8.5, with a few half-point fluctuations throughout the week. The total has fallen slightly from 39 to 38.5 points.

Jaguars Offense vs. Bengals Defense

Trevor Lawrence has been good this season but hasn’t quite reached the heights many expected. He’s currently 11th in the league in passing yards per game.

Christian Kirk leads the Jacksonville Jaguars in receptions (56) and receiving yards (761), while Calvin Ridley is second in both categories. Kirk has a 22.7 percent target share, while Ridley’s is 20.5. Cincinnati is giving up the ninth-most receiving yards per game to wide receivers.

Evan Engram’s 22.2 percent target share is second on the team. Engram is third among tight ends in receptions (64) and sixth in receiving yards (524). The Bengals are allowing the second-most receiving yards to tight ends.

Travis Etienne is seventh in the league in rushing yards (726) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (seven). Etienne is seventh among running backs in receiving yards with 312. The Cincinnati Bengals are giving up the 10th-most rushing yards but the eighth-fewest receiving yards to running backs.

Bengals Offense vs. Jaguars Defense

Jake Browning is a limited backup quarterback whose first NFL start came last week at 27. Browning threw for 227 yards on 26 attempts with a touchdown and interception against the Steelers. The Bengals are an entirely different offense with Browning than with Joe Burrow.

Ja’Marr Chase caught four of six targets for 81 receiving yards in Brownings’ first start. Tyler Boyd had five targets, while Tee Higgins missed the contest. This talented group takes the biggest hit with Browning under center. The Jaguars are allowing the 12th-most receiving yards per game to wide receivers.

Tight end Tanner Hudson saw five targets, while Irv Smith saw two. Jacksonville is giving up the 10th-most receiving yards per game to tight ends.

The Jaguars allow the second-fewest rushing yards per game but the third-most receiving yards to running backs. Joe Mixon is 15th in the league in rushing yards and 17th among running backs in receiving yards. Expect the Bengals to lean on Mixon for as long as they can.

What You’re Betting On

The Jaguars are the 12th-highest scoring offense and defense this season. That’s a strong mark for their defense, but Jacksonville’s offense has top-10 upside. Against the Bengals, the Jaguars can win this game by distance on either side of the ball.

You can reasonably bet on Lawrence’s offense at least meeting expectations against the Bengals’ mediocre defense. You can also bet directly against Browning in his second NFL start. In general, the Jaguars will have to play down not to win this matchup by distance.

If you’re betting on the Bengals, you are banking on a scrappy effort from a limited roster. Cincinnati does not have an exceptionally talented defense, which means a bet on the Bengals is a bet on defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

He’s gotten the most out of this group for years, but he’s now tasked with driving wins with Burrow out. If Cincinnati's defense doesn’t hold Jacksonville below expectations, that means Brownings’ offense has to make up the difference. Browning has a talented supporting cast, but expecting him to be anything more than a game manager is a big ask.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 27, Bengals 10

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record

ATS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

ATS 2023: 32-27

Props 2022: 60-40

Props 2023: 22-20