We get a Super Bowl LVI rematch in Week 3, as the Cincinnati Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams. It was Matthew Stafford and the Rams that got the best of the Bengals in that championship game in L.A., but now, Cincy has the home-field advantage. There is one storyline that's more important than all the others in this matchup, and that's the health of star quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow is officially listed as questionable to play due to a calf injury he aggravated in Week 2 vs. the Baltimore Ravens. He is a . If he can't go, under center. The Bengals are once again 0-2, and Week 3 is usually when things turn around for them. Burrow has a 1-7 record as the starter in Weeks 1-2, and a 23-12-1 record in Weeks 3-18.
While the Rams are also 0-2, they have been impressive. Sean McVay's offense has an 83.3% red zone touchdown percentage, which was tied for best in the league entering Week 3, and a 58.1% third-down conversion percentage, which ranked second-best in the NFL. Stafford has been slingin' the rock, rookie wideout Puka Nacua is catching the ball at a historical rate and Kyren Williams led the NFL in scrimmage touchdowns with four entering Week 3.
Below, we will break down this Monday night matchup from a gambling perspective, and examine the line movement, Over/Under and player props to consider. First, here's how you can watch the game.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
Last Sunday, this line reopened at CIN -6.5. The next day, it fell all the way to CIN -2.5. Thursday, it bumped up to CIN -3, then back to CIN -2.5 before landing at CIN -2.
The pick: Rams +2. It's hard not to lean toward the underdog Rams. Road teams entered Week 3 19-13 SU and 19-10-3 ATS, and Sean McVay is 2-0 ATS. He upset the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and then in Week 2 to cover the spread for his backers. OK, maybe that's not why he did it, but I predicted the San Francisco 49ers would defeat the Rams 30-23 and that's exactly what happened.
Burrow has not been himself through two weeks and now he's not 100% healthy. It's tough to declare this as the week Cincy gets it together. The Bengals have failed to cover the spread in three straight games. That's tied for the third-longest active streak in the NFL behind the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots.
I like my pick for this game, but you might like R.J. White's better. He's our gambling guru over at SportsLine.com, and he's gone an amazing 51-35-4 on his last 88 picks involving the Bengals. If you want to check out R.J.'s pick, head over to SportsLine here.
The total reopened at 46.5 last Sunday. Monday, it fell all the way down to 43.5. We did see a momentary bump up to 44 on Sunday.
The pick: Under 43.5. This total feels a little high given all the uncertainty with Burrow. Additionally, the Rams Under has hit in five straight primetime games, which is tied for the third-longest active streak in the NFL. L.A. averages an impressive 26.5 points per game, while Cincinnati averages 13.5 points per game (tied for worst in the league). The total isn't something I'm antsy to bet in this situation, but the lean is Under.
Matthew Stafford props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over -119, Under -115)
Passing yards: 252.5 (Over -104, Under -131)
Passing attempts: 35.5 (Over -109, Under -125)
Passing completions: 23.5 (Over -113, Under -121)
Longest passing completion: 35.5 (Over -117, Under -117)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -129, Under -106)
Stafford has one passing touchdown all year, so I'm not going to shell money out either way on his passing touchdown prop. However, Stafford is averaging over 300 passing yards per game, so I'll lean Over on that prop. If you want to take Stafford to throw an interception, that's fine by me. The Over being that juicy makes me want to stay away.
Props to consider
Joe Mixon rushing attempts: Over 14.5 (-123). With Burrow banged-up or just out of the lineup, Cincy could rely more on Mixon. He rushed 13 times in each of the Bengals' first two games.
Brett Maher made field goals: Over 1.5 (+108). Maher has made three field goals in each of his first two games with the Rams, so yeah, I'll take a flier with plus money.
I like my picks for this game, but you might like R.J. White's better. He's our NFL expert over at SportsLine.com and he's been on a roll with his Bengals predictions, going 51-35-4 on his last 88 picks. If you want to check out White's take on this prime-time game, you can do that here.