The Cincinnati Bengals' 2020 season effectively ended last Sunday when quarterback and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Joe Burrow went down with a season-ending torn-up knee. In a pretty big surprise, second-year coach Zac Taylor announced this week that former practice squad signal-caller Brandon Allen would start this Sunday at home vs. the New York Giants over Burrow's season-long backup in Ryan Finley. The Giants are 6-point favorites on the NFL odds, and bettors at William Hill Sportsbook are backing New York in a big way.
Finley, a 2019 fourth-round pick out of NC State, has seen action in five regular-season games in his short career. He was given three starts a year ago in place of since-departed Andy Dalton, and the Bengals lost all three with Allen completing just 47.1 percent of his passes with two touchdowns, two picks and a horrible rating of 62.1. In relief of Burrow last week, Finley was also pretty bad in going 3-for-10 for 30 yards with a pick in the 20-9 loss at Washington.
Still, it's a bit unusual to elevate a practice squad guy over a No. 2, and it's not like Allen has done any better in his NFL career. The 2016 sixth-round pick out of Arkansas by the Jaguars has also started three career games, going 1-2 last year with Denver. He completed 46.4 percent of his passes with three TDs, two picks and a rating of 68.3.
Allen was picked up by the Bengals during training camp as a contingency option because of COVID-19. Taylor does know the QB fairly well as Allen was with the Rams from 2017-18 (never played) when Taylor was an assistant under there.
Perhaps because of Allen or perhaps due to the fact that the Giants have covered an NFL-best eight straight road games, William Hill bettors are jacking up this spread with so much action on New York. As of this writing, a whopping 98 percent of all spread action on this game is with Big Blue and 93 percent of all tickets sold. No other team is at 90 percent in both categories in Week 12.
It should be noted that the Giants have been favored just once during this eight-game road ATS streak and haven't been favored away by more than four points since 2016.
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