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NFL divisional round playoff odds, picks


Three weeks after their highly anticipated matchup was cut short, the Bills and Bengals face off once again in a game with heightened implications in the NFL divisional round.

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Cincinnati survived the AFC gauntlet last year en route to a surprise Super Bowl bid, but Joe Burrow and co. find themselves as road underdogs on Sunday against a hungry Bills team looking to exorcise its divisional-round demons after last year’s devastating loss in Kansas City.

Here’s how we’re betting Sunday’s contest, which kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Bills vs. Bengals pick

Bills vs. Bengals prediction and analysis

Look, there are myriad ways to break down this matchup, which profiles as one of the best of the entire season on paper. But there’s only one thing that seemingly everyone is talking about: the Bengals’ offensive line.

It’s a key reason why this line has moved two points since opening at Bills -3.5 on Sunday night, and it’s a legitimate concern for a team all too familiar with issues up front. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time: after 15 weeks with the same offensive line combination, Cincinnati enters this weekend without starting tackles La’el Collins (ACL) and Jonah Williams (kneecap) or starting guard Alex Cappa (ankle).

Obviously, that’s a problem. But is it everything it’s made out to be? The Bengals’ offensive line was in shambles even when healthy last year, and Burrow still managed to slice up opposing defenses with a quick trigger and a discerning eye for when to take a sack and when to let it rip.

Ja'Marr Chase
Ja’Marr Chase
Getty Images

We saw that play out oh-so-briefly when these teams met in Week 16 – which came after Collins’ injury, mind you – as the Bengals marched up and down the field against a Bills defense that couldn’t generate a pass rush. That’s been Buffalo’s bugaboo for years and continues to be the case after losing Von Miller (ACL) earlier this season.

Even without that brief glimpse in Week 17, you could argue that Cincinnati is actually the better team heading into Sunday, offensive line issues aside. While the Bills rank first in DVOA this season, the Bengals rank fifth against a much tougher schedule, and they’ve outscored teams by nine points per game – the best mark in the conference – across their AFC-best nine-game win streak.

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There are countless questions that will ultimately define Sunday’s matchups: can Josh Allen limit turnovers against this opportunistic Cincinnati defense? Can the Bengals handle Allen in the run game? Will Stefon Diggs or Ja’Marr Chase exploit favorable matchups with a game-changing play or two?

In theory, a matchup with this many variables between two similarly elite squads would be priced like one. Instead, all of the focus on Cincy’s offensive line woes – bad as they may be – has propped up Buffalo as a heavy favorite.

If you feel that one aspect is enough to justify it, go ahead and pay the price. You just may be right. Personally, I’m grabbing the points on a Bengals squad that can go toe-to-toe with the Bills and still has the ingredients for an outright win.

Bills vs. Bengals odds (via BetMGM)

  • Bills -5.5 (-110), moneyline -250
  • Bengals +5.5 (-110), moneyline +200
  • O/U 49 (-110)


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