Thursday Night Football: In a not-so-titanic clash of already overrated teams, take the under

Thursday, 13 September 2018 16:18 EST

How’s that for an efficient headline? If only learning the outcome of what is certain to be yet another ugly – and NFLbets isn’t just talking Color Rush – example of why Thursday Night Football shouldn’t really exist.

On the other hand, what better way to make those foolishly overreacting to week 1 results suffer for their folly more quickly? In fact the only thing more fun than watching a fanbase’s delusions crumble after opening night (Raiders, Cowboys and Lions faithful know what we’re referencing here) is hearing about the aweomeness of a “surprise” team that crushes a bottom-fiver on opening day.

And so we have a classic example of overrated versus overarted in week 2: the Baltimore Ravens at the Cincinnati Bengals. Talking heads and hyperbolists are lining up on ESPN, whatever dot com and anywhere a mic virtual or otherwise is provided to tell us how this game could determine the AFC North, because, you know, everyone’s prohibitive forever-favorite merely tied the Cleveland Browns, who just a couple weeks ago were bringing Vegas big money based on freakin’ Hard Knocks.

So you may see two contenders for the NFL’s crappiest division in 2018, but all NFLbets sees is one side that whupped the prospective 0-16 Buffalo Bills against another who needed all 60 minutes to get past a team composed of a QB who hasn’t played in two years plus, um, 21 other guys. What has changed so much that these Vegas-forecasted 8- and 6½-win teams are suddenly double-digit winners? A win against the last-place finisher in the AFC East or AFC South? Come on.

Look, the truth is that the Ravens – with essentially the same offense and coaching staff as in 2017 – scored 19.3 more points last week than they averaged all season last year. The Bengals – still inexplicably coached by Marvin Lewis – scored 15,9 more than their ’17 ppg mark. If you’ve ever heard of “regression to the mean”, this week would be an ideal time to test it, in a game with two defenses well better than the offenses.

Who’s going to win? Who cares! You can still bank cash – if you take the under on an O/U of 43½ points, and recall what you thought of Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton just, likesay, 11 days ago…