The Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) travel to the Big Easy Sunday for a Week 6 showdown with the New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Caesars Superdome.
Cincy lost a 19-17 nail-biter to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football this past weekend. But, the Bengals did cover as 3-point road underdogs for their third straight against-the-spread win.
New Orleans snapped a 3-game losing skid by beating the Seattle Seahawks at home 39-32, covering as 5.5-point favorites.
The Saints are the right side in this one because they are the contrarian play with better efficiency that's taking sharp money.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
The market is all over Cincy
According to VSIN, more than 80% of the money at DraftKings Sportsbook is on the Bengals at the time of publishing. Yet Cincy's spread hasn't gotten to -3 and this type of "line freeze" is a red flag.
In fact, Pinnacle Sportsbook — one of the sharpest oddsmakers in the market — lists the Bengals as a 1.5-point favorite. Also, who has Cincy beat that makes it a road favorite in New Orleans?
The Bengals' victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football was a terrible situational spot for the Dolphins. Cincy beat the New York Jets in backup QB Joe Flacco's last game under center.
Sportsbooks must be taking respected action on NOLA since something is keeping this number low. Bengals-Saints feels like a "trap line" and it's rarely profitable to follow the herd in sports betting.
NOLA's 'addition by subtraction'
Saints QB Jameis Winston's injury minimizes NOLA's turnover issues and forces it to run the ball more. New Orleans backup QB Andy Dalton turns the football over less and the Saints still have plenty of skill position players.
NOLA RB Alvin Kamara's workload and production have increased in all three games he's played and New Orleans found something in slash player, Taysom Hill.
The Saints have the third-best rushing success rate in the NFL. New Orleans should have success on the ground since Cincy has the third-worst run-stopping rate, per ESPN.
Also, if the Saints can sure up the ball security, the Bengals aren't winning in New Orleans. Cincy had a +2 and +3 turnover differential in its two wins and NOLA is -8 in turnover differential on the season. But, turnovers are flukey, to an extent, and the Saints are buttoned up with Winston on the mend.
Saints are more efficient
New Orleans is seventh in overall success rate despite their injuries and the 24th ranking in expected points added per play (EPA/play).
Turnovers lower an offense's EPA/play and don't affect the success rate hence the split. Part of the handicap is the assumption NOLA cleans up the turnovers with its newfound success running the ball.
The Bengals lack offensive efficiency because they have a one-dimensional offense. Cincy has negative net yards per play and six fewer 1st downs than the opponent this season. This can be explained by the Bengals being 30th in yards per rush (3.3).
So with the Saints, we get the points, the more efficient team, home-field advantage and can fade the public. Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook and BET on the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS +2 (-110).