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2023 NFL Week 9 Betting Preview: Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Oct 29, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) scores a touchdown against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Bills (5-3) at Bengals (4-3)

Spread: Bengals -2

Total: 49.5

Weather: No current concerns

The Line Report

The spread for this contest opened as Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 before moving to Bengals -3. Midweek, the line moved back down to Bengals -2.

The game total has moved up from 48.5 points to 49.5.

Bengals Offense vs. Bills Defense

Joe Burrow entered the season with a calf injury, which led to uncharacteristically uneven play early in the year. He’s been steadily trending up during the last three weeks, peaking with a big game in San Francisco last week. Burrow is back to being himself heading into this contest.

Burrow’s early season struggles impacted Ja’Marr Chase, as he only had 70 receiving yards through the first two games. Chase has double-digit targets in four games and three 100-yard outputs in the five games since. Despite the slow start, Chase leads the league in receptions per game and is third in target share. 

Tyler Boyd is second on the team in receptions with 33, and Tee Higgins has 19. Chase has 60 receptions and nearly three times as many receiving yards as any other Bengals player. Not only has Higgins’ production been shockingly low, but he does not look like the difference maker he typically is. The Buffalo Bills are allowing the ninth-fewest receiving yards to wide receivers.

Joe Mixon had his best, most productive game of the season against the 49ers’ defense last week. Mixon has a significant role, but he still hasn’t exceeded 100 rushing yards in a game this season. Buffalo is giving up the 11th-most rushing yards and the fifth-most receiving yards to running backs.

Bills Offense vs. Bengals Defense

Josh Allen has a better supporting cast on offense than he did last season. Stefon Diggs leads the league in receptions and is in the top five in virtually every major category. None of that is surprising. 

Gabe Davis has emerged as a quality complement with three games of at least 80 receiving yards and five total touchdowns. Even Khalil Shakir is coming off a six-catch, 92-yard game against Tampa Bay. The Bengals are allowing the 15th-most receiving yards to wide receivers.

Dalton Kincaid has 13 receptions on 15 targets for 140 receiving yards and a score in his last two games. Kincaid’s role has grown because fellow TE Dawson Knox is out. That said, the Bills spent a first-round pick on Kincaid for him to be a big part of this offense. The Bengals have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to tight ends.

James Cook is fast, and he’s had a good year, but he hasn’t made a major impact on the ground since Week 3. Cook has been good but not great, with only two total touchdowns. 

Buffalo just signed Leonard Fournette. Latavius Murray likely continues supplementing Cook this week, while Fournette could factor in more as the season progresses. The Bengals allow the 10th-most rushing yards per game to running backs.

What You’re Betting On

This is one of the highest-interest games of the year between two MVP-caliber quarterbacks. Games like this are true coin flips, as either quarterback can carry their team to victory.

If you’re betting on the Bengals, you build that bet around Burrow’s ascending offense. So far, it’s primarily been the Burrow and Chase show for Cincinnati; they’ll need more against Buffalo. 

Therefore, a bet on the Bengals comes with the expectation their complementary parts on offense step up. Lou Anarumo’s defense consistently overachieves. If you’re betting on Cincinnati, Anarumo’s opponent-specific game planning is an asset.

If you’re betting on the Bills, you are betting on Allen’s ability to do things few others have done. This year, Allen has a better, more complete supporting cast that’s raised the ceiling of Buffalo’s offense. 

But ultimately, if you’re a Bills bettor, Allen is who you are primarily betting on. Buffalo’s defense has been rock-solid for years, but it’s missing LB Matt Milano and CB Tre’Davious White. If you’re betting on Buffalo, you need its defense to hold up without two of their best players against a premium offense.

Score Prediction: Bengals 27, Bills 24

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record

ATS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 48-32

ATS 2023: 21-18

Props 2022: 60-40

Props 2023: 18-12

Ryan is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. Ryan has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.