NFL Win Totals Betting Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
It was a season to forget for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals struggled all year and ended up with a 2-14 record, the worst in the NFL. However, their ineptitude landed them the number one overall pick. Now with new franchise QB Joe Burrow leading the charge into a fresh era, Cincinnati will aim to improve and maybe even make the playoffs, which they haven’t done since 2015.
The Bengals’ over/under win total for 2020 is set at 5.5. So let’s look at how their offseason has fared, plus who they will see on their schedule in the fall, before making our official pick.
After 14 losses, the Bengals made sure to bring in an influx of talent. In free agency, their biggest financial Dame on the defensive side, inking Texans NT D.J. Reader to a four-year deal and Vikings CB Trae Waynes to a three-year contract. They further bolstered the secondary with the signings of Saints S Vonn Bell and Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander. Among a couple of other minor moves, they bolstered their interior o-line with Cowboys OG Xavier Su’a-Filo. As far as returning players, the biggest one is star WR A.J. Green, who was given the franchise tag for 2020.
Many longtime Bengals were released this offseason, most notably QB Andy Dalton. In addition to Dalton, Cincinnati also cut CB Dre Kirkpatrick and OT Cordy Glenn. As far as losses in free agency, TE Tyler Eifert left to sign a two-year deal with the Jaguars. S Clayton
Fejedelem inked a deal with the Dolphins for three years, while DT Andrew Billings signed with the rival Browns. Others like CB Darqueze Dennard, OG John Jerry, and LB Hardy Nickerson are still free agents but unlikely to return to Cincinnati.
Of course, the highlight of Cincinnati’s draft class is Burrow, who will start right away after putting together a Heisman-winning season at LSU. They gave their new QB a weapon at the beginning of round two with the selection of Clemson WR Tee Higgins, who had first round potential. The Bengals focused on defense for most of the draft after that, highlighted by Wyoming LB Logan Wilson and Appalachian State LB Akeem Davis-Gaither. They also selected just one offensive lineman, taking a flyer on Kansas OT Hakeem Adeniji in the sixth round.
The Bengals, as well as the rest of the AFC North, has matchups against the AFC South and the NFC East. As a result, all four teams within the division have some of the easier schedules in the league this year according to their opponents’ winning percentages in 2019. Cincinnati’s schedule ranks as the sixth-easiest with a .477 opponent win percentage, but the hardest in the division.
Cincinnati opens up their season with one of their at-large opponents, a home game against the Chargers. Then four of their next five games are on the road, which includes division champions Philadelphia and Baltimore. The Bengals then play the Browns for the second time and the Titans, both at home, before a Week 9 bye. Following a road game at Pittsburgh, they have three straight games against teams who picked in the top-five of the draft (@ Redskins, vs Giants, @ Dolphins). But the schedule ends with another difficult stretch despite three of the final four games coming at home, with final matchups against the Steelers and Ravens.
It’s fair to say that the Bengals have improved, especially on the defensive side. They also own a solid group of skill position players, namely Green and RB Joe Mixon. But the bulk of the pressure will fall on Burrow. If the rookie adapts to the NFL right away and becomes a star, Cincinnati will be a lot closer to the playoffs perhaps as soon as next season. But rookie struggles can hold the team back, especially in a tough and competitive division.
As for the over/under total of 5.5 wins, have they made enough improvements to be a four-win team? I’m not 100% sure, but in a tough division and even the at-large teams significantly improved, four or five wins seems more likely for Cincinnati. So I’m taking the UNDER 5.5 wins for the Bengals this upcoming season.
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