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Bengals have the sixth highest odds to win Super Bowl LI in 2017

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Despite continuing problems with their performances in the playoffs, odds-makers in Las Vegas have given the Bengals an encouraging vote of confidence heading into the 2016 season.

The Bengals fell short in their quest to finish off a great start to their season with any sort of postseason success, but that hasn't stopped oddsmakers in Vegas from considering the Bengals to be among some of the most likely teams to win the Super Bowl in 2017.

According to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the Bengals are the sixth most likely team to win Super Bowl LI in 2017 with 12/1 odds.

Super Bowl LI odds:

SEAHAWKS 8/1
PATRIOTS 8/1
STEELERS 8/1
PACKERS 10/1
CARDINALS 10/1
BENGALS 12/1
COWBOYS 14/1
PANTHERS 12/1
BRONCOS 20/1
VIKINGS 20/1
COLTS 20/1
CHIEFS 20/1
FALCONS 40/1
JETS 30/1
BILLS 30/1
RAVENS 30/1
TEXANS 40/1
GIANTS 40/1
REDSKINS 40/1
EAGLES 40/1
BEARS 40/1
LIONS 40/1
SAINTS 40/1
BUCS 50/1
RAMS 50/1
DOLPHINS 50/1
TITANS 50/1
JAGUARS 50/1
RAIDERS 50/1
CHARGERS 50/1
49ERS 60/1
BROWNS 200/1

Depending on who you ask, not everyone completely agrees with that assessment. Football Locks and Vegas Insider have the Bengals' odds to win next year's Super Bowl at 18/1.The discrepancy is probably related to the Bengals' inability to make it past the first round of the playoffs, despite improving nearly every year in the regular season since going through a mini-rebuild from 2010-2011. They certainly have the talent required to make a run at an NFL title, but oddsmakers aren't yet sure if they actually have the ability to follow through with it.

However, it does not seem like the oddsmakers are considering history as a factor for most other teams. The Seahawks and Patriots are the only two teams listed ahead of the Bengals that have seen the Super Bowl since the 2011 season. The Steelers, Packers, and Cardinals are the other three teams listed ahead of the Bengals. They all have made appearances in the Super Bowl in the last 10 years, but the NFL has seen plenty of turnover since any of those teams have made it, so those appearances can't realistically affect their current odds.

Where should they be ranked?

Consider the teams that are ahead of the Bengals. Based on 2015 results, the Bengals could have realistically beaten any of them this season, and they did beat two of them. It's hard to blame the end to the season entirely on Andy Dalton's absence, but ignoring the significance of his injury on their disappointing finish would be short-sighted. Let's also not forget just how important his team-friendly contract is to re-signing free agents and rebuilding the team that looked so scary through the first thirteen weeks of the season.

The Bengals defeated the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 and lost to the Steelers and Cardinals by a combined margin of five points. But, they also beat the Steelers when Dalton was playing, too. It's hard to directly work out how the Bengals would have played against the Patriots or Packers because they never met either team in the regular or post season. But, the point is, if the 2016 team can improve from their 2015 season (as they have done essentially every year since 2011), you'd have to like their odds matched up against at least the three more-favored teams that they played this season.

All that said, it's pretty difficult to predict the Bengals' Super Bowl odds before the 2016 roster becomes more clear. The Bengals have already gone through a ton of coaching changes, and there's still just as many potential changes coming to the roster as a result of free agency. The coaching changes so far look promising and another solid draft could really make next year's re-tooled roster look even scarier than it is right now, before the free agency period starts. No one actually knows what the future holds, but the team's recent run of success seems to be building toward something great.