Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 49ers – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

After a dominant 5-0 start, the 49ers have dropped two in a row on the road, and things don’t get any easier here as they return home to face a Bengals team that is trending in the right direction and coming off its bye.

It may well have been worse for San Francisco as starting QB Brock Purdy looked as though he was going to miss the game through concussion, but he looks to have made it through the protocols in place and will start with Sam Darnold poised to take over if Purdy isn’t ready to go. San Francisco are looking to rebound from a tough Monday night loss on the road against the Vikings.

Having scored at least 30 points in each of their first five games the well-oiled San Francisco offence has amassed just 34 points in total in their last two games. This should be the healthiest we have seen the Bengals offence all year and they may just be catching the 49ers at the right time. Rated +5.5 underdogs by starsports.bet at 17-20 the Bengals have covered five straight games as underdogs. Bengals QB Joe Burrow is 16-8 ATS in his career as an underdog including the playoffs (12-7 ATS in regular season). This is their first game as an underdog this season.

The game itself may take a while to come to life as neither team plays at a particularly up tempo pace with the 49ers one of the slower teams in terms of pace in the NFL but is a fascinating matchup.

Cincinnati come to the West Coast having had a rather undulating season so far but have climbed back to 3-3 and with a chance to record what would be a statement win. With an offence that looks to be back to its best and certainly healthy again they come up against a 49ers team that during their two-game skid has allowed 5.8 yards per play and allowed Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to drop 378 yards on them plus a couple of TD’s. Perhaps more worryingly the San Francisco defence which had been ferocious earlier in the season managed just six hits and zero sacks on 45 Cousins dropbacks.

Allow Burrow time and space like that and he’ll be able to find his elite receiving corps easily with another plus for Burrow this week being the return of his starting LT Orlando Brown.

The 49ers defence has not surrendered more than 23 points all season and have held five of their seven opponents below 20 points, so it won’t be easy for Burrow especially as the Bengals have just 14 offensive plays that have gained 15 or more yards, the fewest in the NFL. The next closest team is the Jets with 28. Cincinnati has had eight plays of 20 or more yards, also the fewest in the league. The next closest team is the Panthers with 14. But the important point here is that Burrow appears fully recovered from his calf injury, the 49ers appear to have regressed on defence the last two weeks and the Bengals have their receiving corps back to full fitness with Tee Higgins back to full power after his rib injury.

The Bengals should enter this game very confident in their ability to move the ball through the air and should expect that to be their best path to scoring points. Both Jordan Addison and Amari Cooper have had 100 yards plus receiving over the past two weeks and Ja’Marr Chase backed up by Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd gives Burrow a very potent set of wide receivers. On the season, the 49ers have conceded the NFL’s fifth-most receptions to wide receivers (102).

The ground game hasn’t been a strongpoint of the Bengals game this season and despite having the backfield virtually to himself Joe Mixon has had what can be best described as efficiency woes. He has failed to hist 100 total yards in any game this season and is averaging under 3.6 yards per carry over his last four start and the 49ers have allowed just four TD’s to running backs in seven games. he best thing Mixon has going right now is that he has this backfield to himself. He has 86.8% of backfield touches, the highest rate for a back in the league. Mixon is priced at 22-1 in the starsports.bet specials market “Most Rushing Yards on Sunday” but given his form this year that price holds little appeal in a market that sees his opposite numbers 49ers Christian McCaffrey as 5-1 favourite. A couple of names stand out here though in Breece Hall (New York Jets) at 17-2 and Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts) at 10-1, both have the potential for big games this weekend and look the value in a market with plenty of options.

As things stand we can only assume that Brock Purdy will start at QB for the 49ers with the latest news being that he has passed through the concussion protocols. After looking like one of, if not the best team in the NFL through the first five weeks of the season the wheels have rather fallen off the San Francisco wagon in back-to-back road games. It’s true they have had injuries with the most notable being the loss of WR Deebo Samuel who allows them a great deal of flexibility in their offence, but they still have enough talent at the skill positions to be a very dangerous team and to put points on the board. To that end, they are an 11-1 chance in another starsports.bet specials market, “The Highest Scoring Team On Sunday” where it’s no surprise to see the free scoring Dolphins 6-1 favourites but the value surely lies with the Baltimore Ravens at 10-1 and the Philadelphia Eagles at 11-1 who both face defences that can only be described as porous.

The kingpin of the 49ers offence is without doubt RB Christian McCaffrey who entered last week questionable to play due to an oblique injury. Not only did he play, but he scored another two touchdowns, extending his scoring streak to an NFL-record 16 games. The one element of the game that the 49ers always seek to find is control, something they haven’t been able to do in their last two games and putting the ball in McCaffrey’s hands is paramount to creating that situation. The Bengals have allowed opposing running backs 4.7 yards per carry and that’s something that CMC can take advantage of. McCaffrey has a rushing yards line which is pitched at +73.5 (10-11) with starsports.bet and that looks on the low side compared to what he’s been capable of this season and the matchup he faces here.

With Samuel missing from the receiving corps Brandon Aiyuk is even further locked in as Purdy’s favourite target. Aiyuk caught 5-of-6 targets for 57 yards on Monday Night, with all of that production coming in the first half and it was rather strange that they went away from him in the second half. Alongside McCaffrey, Aiyuk will need a big game as will TE George Kittle who has a rather boom-or-bust profile to his box scores, The upside is that the Bengals have been poor this year against tight-ends allowing a 78.1% catch rate and a 9.8% TD rate.

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Ultimately the 49ers will want to try and control this game but the way that the Bengals can knock them out of their stride is to be aggressive with their passing game and establish a lead and force them out of their control pattern. If that pattern ensues then we may see the scoreboard ticking along nicely with the +45.5 points total (10-11) under pressure. Field goals generally aren’t going to win games, but they do provide a way of keeping the scoreboard ticking over and the 9-4 offered in another starsports.bet specials market “All Teams To Score 1+ FG’s in the 8.05pm & 8.25pm Games” at 9-4 certainly appeals as all four games should see plenty of scoring action.

ANDY RICHMOND

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BACK Tee Higgins +47.5 receiving yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐


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PROFIT/LOSS (OCT 2023): LOSS -20.85 points

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Author: Eugene Morris