Joe Burrow team huddle, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) calls out the play in the offensive huddle during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

  • The Cincinnati Bengals will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, December 12 in a matchup with key playoff implications
  • San Francisco is a two-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Continue reading for odds, analysis and a pick for this matchup

The San Francisco 49ers (6-6) will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (7-5) on Sunday, December 12. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. EST. Both teams are coming off a loss in their last outing, and this is close to a must-win for both teams. They both sit right at the edge of their respective playoff brackets.

DraftKings has the 49ers listed as two-point favorites as of late Friday evening.

49ers vs Bengals Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
San Francisco 49ers -125 -2 (-110) Over 49 (-105)
Cincinnati Bengals +105 +2 (-110) Under 49 (-115)

Odds as of December 10 via DraftKings

NFL Public money has been coming in consistently on both sides. The total is split 50/50 in terms of handle as of Saturday, while San Fran has a slight 51-49 advantage on the handle when it comes to outright result.

Bengals’ Draft Efforts Paying Off

The Cincinnati Bengals, who were once the laughingstock of the league, have done an excellent job of rebuilding their team over the past few drafts.

This is particularly true with regards to their offense. In recent years, Cincinnati’s front office has drafted players like running back Joe Mixon and quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals had hoped to regain relevance last season, however, their plans were put on hold when Burrow suffered a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely.

That being said, there was a silver lining. Cincinnati ended up with the fifth overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, and took wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase was a former teammate of Burrow’s at LSU, and was one of his favorite targets en route to winning a national championship. Reuniting with a familiar face has helped Burrow get off to an excellent start this season.

Garoppolo Won’t Go Away

Depending on who you ask, the San Francisco 49ers did not intend to have Jimmy Garoppolo as their starting quarterback at this point in the season.

With the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft this spring, San Francisco drafted Trey Lance. The goal was to make him their franchise quarterback for the next decade. Lance has had some growing pains, and he has not yet surpassed Garoppolo as the unquestioned starting quarterback of the Niners.

That is not necessarily a knock on Lance, however. Garoppolo is a good quarterback who has had himself a quality year to this point. Moreover, regardless of who is the starting quarterback for San Francisco, that player will have some high-quality weapons.

George Kittle, who is one of the top tight ends in the league, is a versatile weapon for any quarterback. Equally capable of making routine plays to move the chains and making spectacular plays to change the momentum of a game, Kittle is a quarterback’s best friend.

49ers vs Bengals Trends

Both teams have key players with injury concerns, and therefore I would advise waiting to place any bets until closer to kickoff as final injury reports become more clarified. Joe Mixon has been battling an illness this week, and Joe Burrow dislocated a finger on his throwing hand.

On the other sideline, San Francisco may be without two of their dynamic playmakers in Elijah Mitchell (concussion, out) and Deebo Samuel (groin).

While Burrow will likely play, there is certainly a chance that a dislocated finger will lead to somewhat lesser accuracy in the passing game. Under normal circumstances, that would lead a team to try to control the line of scrimmage and rely more heavily on their running game. If Mixon is out, however, that will put Cincinnati’s offense in a tough spot.

This is most likely going to be a very close game. Both teams have talent, along with injury concerns to key players.

San Francisco is just 2-4 at home, however, they are 4-2 on the road. Cincinnati is an even 3-3 at home. Add in that at the very least Garoppolo and Kittle should both be healthy, versus question marks surrounding both Burrow’s throwing hand and Mixon’s availability status, and there is slightly more uncertainty for Cincinnati.

San Francisco has been excellent on the road this year. Look for Kyle Shanahan and company to put everything together and come away with a road victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Pick: San Francisco 49ers (-125); 1 unit

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David Rooney

Sports Writer


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