Las Vegas oddsmakers base their work around history and trends. For these reasons, they are typically pessimistic regarding the Bengals and that is especially true after two consecutive losing seasons. However, with all the pieces the Bengals added this offseason on top of basically having two new coordinators, Cincinnati should be competing for a playoff spot again. Rebounding from multiple subpar seasons and winning a playoff game (or more) is exactly what the Bengals need to change national perception.
In sports betting, one of the most common forms of betting is through the plus and minus system. In this format the amount of money you can win is denoted through a + or - with a number over 100 following it.
If it is a plus, if you bet $100, you will win the amount of money noted. For example if a line is +500 then if you bet $100 on that line you will get $600 of total winnings: the $100 you bet plus your $500 in winnings. If you are betting on a minus line, that means whatever the amount is, is how much you need to bet to win $100. For example, if there is a line of -200 and you bet $200 on it, then if you win you will get $300 total: the original $200 that you put in along with the $100 that you won.
Now that we have covered the basics, lets look at the odds from BetOnline.AG for how each team in the AFC North will finish off the 2018 NFL season:
1st Place +275
2nd Place +100
3rd Place +300
4th Place +800
1st Place +1000
2nd Place +450
3rd Place +150
4th Place +125
1st Place +1000
2nd Place +500
3rd Place +175
4th Place +100
1st Place -200
2nd Place +275
3rd Place +700
4th Place +1600
In case you don’t know, the higher the number behind the minus sign, the more likely oddsmakers feel it happens; and the higher the number behind a plus, the less likely oddsmakers feel it will happen.
Taking that into account, the first thing that stands out is that the Steelers are the clear favorites to win the division. The Steelers were one of the luckiest teams in close games last season which typically means the team will regress the next season in terms of win total. It is not a given that the Steelers win the division, especially if the Bengals offense can get close to the level it was at in 2015.
What is even more shocking though is that the Bengals are tied with the Browns with the longest odds to win the division. That bears repeating, the Bengals who went to the playoffs five years in a row and won 13.5 games the last two years are just as likely to win the division as the team that has won just one game in the last two years combined.
The Browns have slightly higher odds to finish in fourth place, but it is not by much and the Ravens are thought of much more highly than the Browns or Bengals even though the Bengals won their last two games last season including knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs. It’s also worth noting that the oddsmakers seem to believe fourth place is the most likely scenario for the Bengals in the AFC North.
Overall, the Vegas oddmakers are very low on the Bengals this season. Even going so far as the Bengals having some of the lowest Super Bowl odds of any franchise, with some oddsmakers giving the Bengals odds as high as 100/1. Which would translate to +10000 for a bet on the Bengals to win the Super Bowl using the terminology we just went over.
With the schedule the Bengals have and the talent added this year, it is plausible to see the Bengals getting 10 wins and a playoff berth, which would prove all these oddsmakers wrong. The Bengals just need to focus on doing just that and becoming a winning team in 2018.