The Cincinnati Bengals had the look of a potential Super Bowl team for much of last season. But then late in the regular season, quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb that would end his year. The Bengals ended their season with one of the worst losses in NFL history, as they basically gave the Steelers a victory in the final two minutes of their wild card game. The self destruction began with Jeremy Hill’s fumble and ended with a pair of personal fouls on the same play by Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones. Backup AJ McCarron at least got some good experience playing in Dalton’s spot so the Bengals have to feel pretty good if another injury arises. Cincinnati has a wins total of 9.5 on NFL betting lines for the coming season.
Here’s an Analysis on the 2016 Cincinnati Bengals Season Win Total Predictions
McCarron, the former two-time national champion at Alabama, came into the season having not thrown a pass his entire pro career, but proved to be a more than capable backup. In fact, some fans may have wondered if McCarron was a better long-term solution at quarterback than Dalton, who struggled in his four previous playoff starts — all losses. The Bengals have the longest drought of winning a playoff game in the NFL.
Why Betting On The Over?
Dalton is healthy, for one. And the Bengals have one of the NFL’s best receivers in A.J. Green as well as a terrific duo at running back in Hill and Gio Bernard. Hill had a disappointing second season as his rushing yards plummeted to 794 despite having one more carry than he did as a rookie when he rushed for 1,124. But he showed signs of turning things around in the second half of the season last year, averaging 3.9 yards per rush over the final seven games as opposed to 3.2 through the first nine.
Hill did rush for 11 touchdowns and had one receiving score to equal the most total TDs by a running back in the Marvin Lewis era (Rudi Johnson also had 12 in 2004, 2005 and 2006). Despite getting a career-low 154 carries in 2015, Bernard rushed for a career-high 730 yards for an average of 4.7 per attempt. That 4.7 is third-highest number among Bengals players who averaged at least five carries per game. Bernard also caught 49 passes for 472 yards.
Defensively, Geno Atkins returned to being a dominant force in the middle and was named first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career. Atkins was equally stout against the pass and run with 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
Why Betting On The Under?
How long will Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert miss? He’s not likely to be ready for Week 1 after getting injured in the Pro Bowl and having ankle surgery. Eifert played in 13 games last season – his first as the primary target out of the tight end position – and responded with a career year. He finished with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, emerging as one of the league’s best at his position. The Bengals exercised Eifert’s fifth-year option on April 13. Since being selected No. 21 overall out of the University of Notre Dame in 2013, Eifert has endured a variety of injuries. The Bengals selected tight ends Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah in the 2015 draft and Kroft played in all 16 games as a rookie, starting six. He was targeted just 15 times, catching 11 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Uzomah appeared in five games and only received one target.
The Bengals also lost their No. 2 and 3 receivers, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, in free agency. The speedy Jones took an $8 million a year deal with the Lions, while Sanu took a $6.5 million per year deal to go to Atlanta.
Cincinnati is hoping that 2016 second-round pick Tyler Boyd can step up at receiver as a rookie. Three years ago at the University of Pittsburgh, he caught 85 balls for 1,174 yards with seven touchdowns, landing him on the Freshman All-American first-team list. Boyd followed that up with 78 grabs for 1,261 yards and eight scores while his 27.6-yard kickoff return average ranked 10th in the NCAA in 2014. He finished with a career-high 91 catches in 2015, but only for 926 yards and six scores.
My Betting Prediction
This is the most talented all-around team in the very tough AFC North. Go over on NFL betting lines.