Calling all bettors! The Cincinnati Bengals have been oh, so close to winning the Super Bowl these past two seasons. How will free agency and the NFL draft impact their chances of winning the title next year? The following betting odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl 58 Odds
Last February’s early odds for Super Bowl 57 offered clues on what sportsbooks were thinking and how that wove into the thinking of the broader betting market.
For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the top favorite (+650 odds) to win this year’s Super Bowl, while the Buffalo Bills were No. 2. Not too shabby as far as year-long predictions go.
But the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers were No.’s 3 and 4, respectively — though, in fairness, Davante Adams’ status in Green Bay remained unclear at that point. The Tennessee Titans (No. 9) and Denver Broncos (No. 10) clearly underwhelmed. The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t even in the top third.
And what about the Bengals? They were tied for seventh with +1600 odds — a bit strange for a team that was only a few minutes from winning Super Bowl 56. Apparently, the market was not ready to anoint them darlings of the league, or of the AFC, or even of the AFC North (the Ravens also had +1600 odds).
A year later, Cincy is earning considerably more love with +1000 odds, behind only the Chiefs, Bills, 49ers, and Eagles. In other words, they’re nearly frontrunners. So how should bettors respond?
2022 Season Takeaways
The Joe Mixon situation has taken center stage, and it will remain a prominent fixture until Cincy decides to retain him or cut him loose.
Even before this year’s alleged off-the-field incident, Mixon did not appear to be a championship-caliber RB. He’s exceeded 4.1 yards per carry in only one of his six campaigns. And despite enjoying his most yards before contact since 2018 (2.4), he averaged a career-low 1.5 yards after contact.
27-year-old backup Samaje Perine is a super backup by NFL standards but isn’t the answer for a team on the verge of another Super Bowl run.
At the risk of putting too fine a point on this — but it must be said — the Chiefs needed a last-second field goal to knock off the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. In Cincinnati’s final 25 offensive plays in that contest, Joe Burrow threw it 23 times. Mixon and Perine each had one carry.
Astonishing and yet another sign that the Bengals didn’t have the backfield personnel they ultimately needed.
Speaking of Burrow, after leading the NFL with 51 sacks taken in 2021 (plus 19 in the playoffs), defenders got to him 41 times in 16 games last season (plus 10 in the playoffs). That’s 121 sacks in less than 17 months. For context, Patrick Mahomes has also taken 121 sacks … since he joined the league in 2017.
For the Bengals to push past the Chiefs (and any other elite teams standing in their way), they’ll need a reliable top-10 RB and an improved offensive line. Burrow had less time to throw the ball than every other QB except Tom Brady. We don’t yet know how great this passing attack can be if they have the balance and protection of a team like KC.
And on the defensive side of the ball, despite enduring key injuries, they managed to limit opponents to two fewer points per game than the previous season. But their pass rush took a step back, as they accrued the fourth-fewest sacks, ahead of only the Raiders, Falcons, and Bears.
2023 Offseason Moves
Any team that reaches back-to-back conference title games deserves to be in the Super Bowl conversation, provided they retain their key assets. For Cincinnati to win their first title, they’ll need more than the status quo.
I anticipate their odds will solidify in the +800-1200 range by May, depending on what moves they make.
NFL Free Agency
In the coming weeks, we’ll update this section with breaking news on key Bengals arrivals and departures through free agency and trades, how it impacts their Super Bowl odds, and how it might inform our decision to bet on them to win it all.
In early May, we’ll update this section on key Bengals draft picks and UDFA signings, with an eye toward any instant-impact players who could help catapult Cincinnati alongside (or even ahead of?) Kansas City and Buffalo as AFC frontrunners.
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