The 1-1 San Francisco 49ers travel to Cincinnati this Sunday to face the 1-1 Bengals. Some folks likely view it as a bounce-back game for the 49ers to get the taste of Sunday's brutal loss to the Cowboys out of their mouths. After all, these are the Cincinnati Bungles we're talking about. The Fightin Andy Dalton's. They're awful! No way the 49ers lose to them!
And they're also a slim favorite against the 49ers now that Odds Shark has opened their lines. Odds Shark installed the Bengals as 1-1/2 point favorites. If you run through their list of odds from other sites, the 49ers range from that point and a half all the way up to three point underdogs.
In the spread, the home team gets three points right off the bat. Although it's not exactly scientific, you could make the argument that if a team is a three point favorite at home, oddsmakers view them as fairly evenly matched teams on a neutral field. Much more is in play with two teams, but that's one way to view things.
This low spread would seem to indicate that oddsmakers view the 49ers as a little bit better outside of Cincy, but they're not quite willing to go all the way and install them as road favorites. The 49ers have had some highlights this season but they aren't consistent enough yet to get favored status against the Bengals who are sort of all over the place.
The Bengals surprised the Browns on opening day and then almost pulled off a comeback in Denver. They're not going to be a particularly good team this year, but they're also a team that could sneak up on folks that overlook them. Coach Harbaugh has plenty to work on this week in terms of just proper execution, but he'll also need to keep the players focused on the task at hand. He is a big proponent of taking things day-by-day, practice-by-practice, play-by-play. This is a perfect test of that.