Bengals vs Vikings Predictions: Back Jake Browning to keep up his good form

 | December 15 | 

5 mins read

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The college season is over and that means the NFL bleeds into Saturday's and we kick-off our slate this weekend with Minnesota travelling to Cincinnati.

@NFLGirlUK has provided her preview and we've picked out a couple of bets for the game live on Sky Sports for you to consider...

Bengals vs Vikings Betting Tips:

  • Back Cincinnati-3.5pts on the Spread @ 21/20
  • Back Justin Jefferson to get over 99.5 Receiving Yards & A Touchdown @ 9/2

Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be the explosive offensive showdown that we could have gotten between Kirk Cousins and Joe Burrow. Both quarterbacks remain injured, dramatically changing the course of this one. We’ll continue to see Jake Browning in under centre for Cincinnati, with the Vikings switching to Nick Mullens after another poor Joshua Dobbs performance. Let’s take a look at this matchup from both sides.

For the Bengals, they’ve played really good football in the last two weeks. We’ve watched Browning led this team to 34 points in back-to-back games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts.

Two teams that are well in the postseason race over in the AFC. The fact that they took the fight to both of them without Burrow shows that this group still believes in themselves and who’s throwing the football. In just a few games, Browning has thrown for 924 yards and five touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

Don’t look now, but this guy really does look like he’s making the most of his opportunity. Though it does help having guys like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon, and Tyler Boyd surrounding you to make your job far easier than normal.

Flipping over to the Vikings now, their story is weird and confusing. Kirk Cousins was playing at an MVP level before his injury, and the season was thought to be over. Especially after they had a bad start. They were set to start Jarren Hall, who actually led a touchdown drive in his first start. The problem was that he suffered a concussion, thrusting newly acquired quarterback Josh Dobbs into the game.

Dobbs led a game-winning drive and then won the game afterwards also. That’s when things started to go wrong. The team lost back-to-back games including one where Dobbs threw four interceptions. Then, they only managed to score three points against the Las Vegas Raiders, somehow winning that game. Even with the win, the staff knew that a change was needed, and are going with Nick Mullens over both Dobbs and Hall.

Mullens has starting experience after his time with the San Francisco 49ers, though who knows how high his ceiling really is. The one true positive is that the superstar wideout Justin Jefferson is ready to play after suffering another injury after 13 snaps last week.

Looking at this game, I really like the Bengals here. I know the Vikings defense has been very good all season, and Mullens could provide the spark that Dobbs lost, but the Bengals are playing better. Browning has a far better control of this offense than anticipated, and it’s resulting in efficient offensive games from them.

I find it hard to believe that Mullens can step in and outduel Browning given what we’ve seen from the two of them up to this point. However, I don’t see a scenario in which one team blows out the other. These are two groups that have remained competitive in most of their games this season and should continue that trend down the stretch of the season.

Match Odds:

Cincinnati head into the opening game of a very busy and sprawled out NFL weekend as the 4/7 favourites to beat Minnesota in the battle of backup QBs. You can get 7/5 if you want to back the away team on the Money Line. The spread has been set at Bengals -3.5.

With the lack of top-level talent under Center, it is not the biggest shock in the world to see the Total Points line set at over/under 39.5. Only Joe Mixon is odds-on to score a Touchdown, coming in at 10/11 to find the End Zone anytime.

Bet 1 - Cincinnati - 3.5 on the Spread @ 21/20

This is one of the very rare occasions where you can back a team at odds-against on the spread as the punters are seemingly moving in the direction of backing the visitors on Saturday.

I'm not with the pack though as I like what I've seen from Jake Browning and he does some a quality set of receivers to get the ball out to. The Bengals are at home against a team with all manner of question marks at QB, I'll take the team from Ohio even with the 3.5pt handicap.

Bet 2 - Justin Jefferson Over 99.5 Receivers Yards & a Touchdown @ 9/2

Going a bit deeper in the market than normal with bet number two and if the Vikings are going to have any hope of winning this match then they'll have to get the ball out early and often to their best player. Justin Jefferson might not be looking at his sharpest following his injury lay-off but when he went #1 overall in many a fantasy draft because of his outstanding playmaking abilities.

The game plan will be in large-part 'get it to JJ' and hope he can make a play or two. When fully healthy and with Kirk Cousins in there, he would go over 100 yards most weeks and in this scenario, it feels like a good price.

Remember to check out our NFL Betting Tips index page where we preview games live on Sky Sports...

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