The difference between the “Scheduled Acts to Appear” and the quarterbacks who will actually end up under center each week in the NFL continues to increase, and the Colts’ quick jaunt down I-74 to play the Bengals in Week 14 is no exception to this troubling trend.
The Colts (7-5) sit just one game behind Jacksonville in the AFC South, and they should probably bring a “Thank You” card to the Queen City to show how much they appreciated the Bengals (6-6) beating the Jaguars 34-31 in an OT Monday Night Football thriller in Week 13.
The Colts spread is and the over is , figures which would be drastically different if Bengals QB Joe Burrow wasn’t lost for the season with a wrist injury incurred against the Ravens in Week 11. Indianapolis’ season veered into an always entertaining and uncertain trajectory scientists refer to as “Minshew Mania” after Gardner Minshew assumed the starter role after promising rookie QB Anthony Richardson’s season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5.
Indianapolis lost Minshew’s first three starts but has rattled off an impressive four Ws in a row entering this week. Cincinnati looked like they were in the tank after Burrow’s injury because of how shaky backup Jake Browning looked in Week 12 at home vs. the Steelers. The Bengals still have many miles to go (and wins to run off in a row) to make the postseason, but Browning’s stellar performance vs. Jacksonville provides a measure of hope. The Bengals will face backup QBs in four of their five remaining games, and if Browning even approaches stat lines like his 32-of-37 for 354 yards from last week down the stretch, Cincinnati has an outside shot at an AFC wild card.
Betting odds for Colts vs. Bengals: Point spread, moneyline total for NFL Week 14 matchup
Here are the latest NFL betting odds for Colts vs. Bengals:
Colts betting news: Thin spreads have been paying during sizable streak
Indianapolis is an impressive 8-4 ATS so far this year, and they’ve covered five of their last six games. None of those games featured a spread of more than 3.5. Another slant to keep in mind is to bet the OVER on Colts games. Their last six contests featured O/Us ranging between 40.5-45.5. The Colts have gone over in four of those games, and in those wins they’ve exceeded the over by 17, 2.5, 11 and 36.5 points.
Surpassing 40.5 total points in this game is a solid wager to make. WR Michael Pittman Jr. is perhaps having the quietest good season for a wideout in the NFL in 2023, amassing 87 receptions for 889 yards and four TDs to this point. He has also notched 105 and 107 yards in his past two games and has been targeted a whopping 62 times in the last five. His counterpart, Alec Pierce, also posted a breakout game last week with three catches for 100 yards and a score.
With Jonathan Taylor on the shelf with a hand injury for the foreseeable future and understudy Zach Moss only mustering 51 yards on 19 carries, Week 14 is poised to feature robust passing and point scoring totals for the Colts.
The Colts blocked two punts during their wild OT win over the Titans last week and produced one of the craziest sequences of the season so far by returning one for a touchdown and then serving up a “Pick 2” on their ensuing two-point conversion attempt when it was intercepted and run back for a score. While more traditional point-scoring methods are likely this week, they are likely to be scored nonetheless.
Bengals betting news: Which Jake Browning shows up in Week 14?
The Bengals are 5-6-1 ATS and 1-1 in the Jake Browning Era. It’s hard to tell if the Steelers defense bottled up Browning due to first-game jitters for the QB, a great defensive scheme, a lack of catering the playbook to Browning or some combination of these factors. Browning’s rapid ascension from “This guy can’t play in the NFL” to “This guy might be pretty darn good in the NFL” mirrors that of Giants backup QB Tommy DeVito.
Week 14 for the Bengals will be Browning’s third start, and his performance is very likely to fall between the two polar extremes of his low production vs. Pittsburgh and his sizzling stats in Jacksonville last week.
During MNF we learned that the Bengals offense can still produce points without their franchise QB Joe Burrow in the lineup. We were reminded that Ja’Marr Chase will catch anything thrown in his general direction by seeing him rack up 11 receptions, 149 yards and a TD out of the 12 targets that went his way. We were also witnesses to the fact that comically bad things happen when coach Zac Taylor gets cute and attempts to have Chase (1-for-1, -7 yards) or fellow WR Tyler Boyd (0-for-1, 1 INT) throw the ball instead of having it thrown to them.
Colts vs. Bengals betting lines & props
Sportsbooks had not yet posted Colts vs. Bengals player props as of this writing, but two angles to pursue include:
- Alec Pierce anytime TD: Colts WR Alec Pierce starred just up the hill from Paul Brown Stadium for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. He also appears to be ascending to the clear-cut WR2 for Indianapolis since Josh Downs’ production has wavered as of late. Look for Pierce to feast during his homecoming this week and find the end zone.
- Joe Mixon to score 2+ TDs: Bengals fifth-round pick Chase Brown ate into Joe Mixon’s carry share last week, rushing nine times for 61 yards. It’s hard to tell if the rookie RB saw more carries in an effort to rest Mixon or light a fire under him. Perhaps it did light a fire under the veteran, as Mixon ended up scoring twice on 19 carries for 68 yards. Look for Mixon’s scoring spree to continue this week, and for the RB to find paydirt at least twice again.
Colts vs. Bengals predictions
This Week 14 matchup figures to be a high-scoring affair between two teams clinging on to playoff aspirations. The spread and the over/under both seem low for how this game is going to turn out. Look for long scoring plays, whether they be touchdown throws or interception returns. In the end, expect the Bengals to hold on 28-24.