Monday Night Football Week 3: Rams vs. Bengals picks, predictions and player props

By Zachary Cohen  ( Senior Editor) 

September 24, 2023 02:36 PM

MNF Rams vs. Bengals Week 3 odds and predictions

Every week, VSiN will be doing an in-depth dive on the week’s Monday Night Football game. This week there just so happens to be two. For the second of the two Week 3 Monday night games, we're looking at the meeting between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rams are coming off a loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, but it was a competitive game. Now, the team will try to get back in the win column against a Bengals team that is 0-2 to start the year. And Cincinnati's loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week was very disappointing, with John Harbaugh's team being banged up heading into it. With that out of the way, keep reading for our Rams vs. Bengals preview, picks and player props. 

RELATED: Check out our Pro Picks page for NFL best bets from all of our VSiN analysts

Rams vs. Bengals Spread

Last week’s close loss to the 49ers showed us that this Rams team is going to be competitive all year. Los Angeles beat a very good Seattle Seahawks team in Week 1, and the team is looking frisky on both sides of the ball. The Rams held the 49ers to 365 yards of total offense in Week 2, and that came after a game in which they went on the road and held the Seahawks to 13 points and 197 yards of total offense. Raheem Morris has built a playoff-caliber defense in Los Angeles, and that’s hard to ignore heading into this game. Joe Burrow does sound like he's going to play for Cincinnati now, with reports suggesting that he's pushing hard behind the scenes. But Burrow hasn't exactly played well this season. And there's no guarantee he'll be able to stay healthy. And if he doesn't look right, this is going to be a tough matchup for him. 

On the other side of the ball, I’m not too worried about the Rams finding a way to score some points. The Bengals should figure things out on defense this season, but things haven’t been pretty thus far. Cincinnati is 29th in the league in Defensive DVOA and the team is only 25th in the NFL when you narrow it down to defending the passing game. With that in mind, I’d expect another big game from the Matthew Stafford-Puka Nacua duo. And if the Bengals decide to overplay Nacua, Stafford won’t hesitate to find Tutu Atwell or Tyler Higbee. Because of Nacua’s absurd numbers (25 receptions, 266 yards) this season, Atwell’s performance has gone under the radar. He has 13 receptions for 196 yards this season and should enjoy some of the freedom he’ll have to run routes in this game.

Overall, I see this as a spot in which the Rams really should go out and win on the road, which would have been crazy to say heading into the year. Los Angeles is 5-1 both straight-up and against the spread off a divisional loss by seven or fewer points under Sean McVay. He’ll get his team up and ready to go out and win this one.

Rams vs. Bengals Total 

I think the Rams will have some success offensively in this game, but that doesn't mean I'm expecting them to light up the scoreboard. And with uncertainty surrounding Burrow's health, it feels like the Under is the safer call here. These coaches know each other very well, so the defenses should be prepared. 

It's also worth noting that the Under is 13-4 in Cincinnati’s September games under Zac Taylor. This has been a slow starting football team in recent years, even with Burrow under center. The Under Is also 6-2 in the eight road games the Rams have played with a total of 42.5 to 45 points under McVay.  

Rams vs. Bengals Player Props

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Tutu Atwell Over 55.5 Receiving Yards

I’m not expecting the Bengals to be able to slow down the Rams’ passing game, which has been electric to start the year. Stafford is fourth in the league in passing yards right now, but one of the three players ahead of him (Brock Purdy) has played an extra game. So, Stafford is getting it done through the air at the moment, and Atwell has been one of the main beneficiaries. He had 77 yards in Week 1 and then followed it up with 119 in Week 2. With that in mind, I think he’ll have at least 56 yards in this game. And he could have a lot more if the Bengals try to take Nacua out of it. So, at plus-money odds, it’s a no brainer to play this Over.

Rams vs. Bengals Best Bet

I know the Bengals are hoping to avoid an 0-3 record but doing it with their Pro Bowl quarterback short of 100% health is going to be difficult. Home-field advantage might help Cincinnati keep things close, but I think Los Angeles will come away with the win here. I just don't think it's crazy to say that the Rams are better on both sides of the ball, especially with this version of Burrow out there. And McVay is a better coach than Taylor, who spent two years with Los Angeles (2017 and 2018).

Bet: Rams ML (+130)

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