Obviously the odds have turned in the Bengals' favor after three weeks of NFL play. As the only undefeated AFC North team, the Bengals should be the favorites to win the division at this point. I wanted to compare the odds from before the season to now and see how much the action has tilted.
First, a little primer on how to read the odds for those who may not be familiar. I am looking at what interested parties like to call the money line. Basically, if there is a minus (-) next to a team, they are the favorite. The number that follows is the amount of money you would need to bet to win 100 dollars. Now, if there is a plus next to the team, they are considered an underdog. The number that follows a plus is the amount you would win if you bet 100 dollars. This changes a little for futures odds (as you will see below) when it comes to the favorite and underdog.
Odds from the preseason
BALTIMORE RAVENS +145
PITTSBURGH STEELERS +195
CINCINNATI BENGALS +210
CLEVELAND BROWNS +1200
Odds following NFL Week 2
Compare that to the numbers from last Friday (before the Bengals crushing of the Ravens):
CINCINNATI BENGALS +110
PITTSBURGH STEELERS +150
BALTIMORE RAVENS +360
CLEVELAND BROWNS +1100
The Bengals jumped to the top of the list with their 2-0 start. The Steelers also improved from their pre-season rankings and even the Browns were shown a tiny bit of love (in comparison to their preseason odds at least). The Ravens were free falling. I wonder... what it would look like if they moved to an 0-3 start?
Odds following NFL Week 3
CINCINNATI BENGALS -600
PITTSBURGH STEELERS +450
BALTIMORE RAVENS +900
CLEVELAND BROWNS +4000
You have the opportunity to win $4000 dollars with a meager $100 bet on the Browns. This, my friend is a sucker bet. The odds will continue to grow in the hopes that the house can find someone crazy enough to take the action.
Seriously though, you may not see it in weekly power rankings, or from the national media in general, but when there is actual financial implications, the numbers speak for themselves. The Bengals are huge favorites in the AFC North to win the division and host a home playoff game. There is over a $1,000 swing (based on a $100 bet) from the Bengals to the Steelers.
The Bengals have done everything right so far this season. The swing in the odds show it and we see it on the field. It is nice at this point to be in the driver's seat.
The Bengals are now 3-0, the Steelers 2-1, the Browns 1-2 and the Ravens 0-3. This puts the Bengals ahead of each team in the division by one, two and three games respectively. This week, the Bengals face the 1-2 Kansas City Chiefs who are coming off two consecutive losses to the Broncos and Packers after beating the Texans in Week 1. The Ravens and Steelers will face off in a Thursday night divisional rivalry game, where of course only one team will come out the victor. The Browns will be traveling to San Diego to play the Chargers who will be hungry for a win after two consecutive losses to the Bengals and Vikings.