In a highly anticipated Week 3 matchup, the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Los Angeles Rams in a rematch of Super Bowl LVI. Although the Rams emerged victorious in that championship game, the Bengals now have the advantage of playing on their home turf. As both teams seek their first win of the season, there is one crucial storyline that dominates the narrative – the health of star quarterback Joe Burrow.
### Burrow’s Injury and Impact on the Game
Burrow is officially listed as questionable for the game due to a calf injury that he aggravated in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals have designated him as a game-time decision. If Burrow is unable to play, Jake Browning will take over the reins as the starting quarterback.
Burrow’s absence, or even if he plays at less than 100% capacity, is a significant concern for the Bengals. Historically, Burrow has struggled in the early weeks of the season but has shown remarkable improvement from Week 3 onward. With a 1-7 record as a starter in Weeks 1 and 2, Burrow boasts an impressive 23-12-1 record from Weeks 3 to 18. Therefore, it is difficult to predict that this will be the week the Bengals turn their season around.
### Rams‘ Impressive Performance
While both teams enter this game with a winless record, the Rams have shown glimpses of excellence in their performances. Led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams‘ offense has been highly effective in the red zone, boasting an 83.3% touchdown percentage, which was tied for the best in the league at the start of Week 3. Additionally, their 58.1% third-down conversion rate ranked second-best in the NFL.
Stafford, in particular, has been impressive, throwing for over 300 yards per game. Rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua has been a reliable target for Stafford, and Kyren Williams has been a standout in the running game, leading the league in scrimmage touchdowns with four.
### Betting Odds and Picks
#### Point Spread
The betting line for this game had fluctuated in the lead-up to Monday’s matchup. Initially, the Bengals opened as 6.5-point favorites but quickly saw their advantage shrink to 2.5 points. Ultimately, the line settled at Bengals -2. However, the Rams, as underdogs, present an enticing option for bettors. Road teams have proven successful in Week 3 matchups, going 19-13 straight up and covering the spread in 19-10-3 situations. Rams head coach Sean McVay has also fared well against the spread, going 2-0 thus far. Given the uncertainty surrounding Burrow’s health and the Bengals‘ inability to cover spreads in their recent games, the Rams are an appealing pick.
The game’s total points, set at 43.5, reflects the expectation for a relatively low-scoring affair. This line has seen adjustments throughout the week, initially opening at 46.5 before dropping to its current mark. With Burrow’s injury situation and the Rams‘ strong defensive performances in primetime games, the under appears to be a sensible choice. Stafford’s passing numbers, particularly his touchdown total, have been modest thus far, making it less favorable to place bets on his individual props.
#### Player Props
For those interested in player props, some options stand out. Joe Mixon’s rushing attempts prop of over 14.5 carries appears to be a reasonable bet. In the absence or limited capacity of Burrow, the Bengals may rely heavily on their running game, resulting in increased opportunities for Mixon. Another prop worth considering is Brett Maher’s field goals made. Maher has been consistent in the early part of the season, making three field goals in each of the Rams‘ first two games. At favorable odds, it could be worth taking a chance on another productive outing from Maher.
As the Bengals and Rams gear up for a highly-anticipated Monday Night Football matchup, the health of Joe Burrow looms large over the game’s outcome. With Burrow questionable to play, the Rams, led by Matthew Stafford and a strong offensive unit, appear to be in a favorable position. The Bengals‘ struggles in covering spreads and Burrow’s historical trend of improved performance from Week 3 onward further bolster the Rams‘ case. A low-scoring affair seems likely, with the under being a sensible bet. Additionally, props such as Joe Mixon’s rushing attempts and Brett Maher’s field goals made present intriguing betting options. It remains to be seen whether the Bengals can turn their season around, but the odds and trends suggest the Rams hold the advantage in this pivotal Week 3 matchup.
<< photo by RDNE Stock project >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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