The Cincinnati Bengals have long been considered the laughingstock of the NFL. Since their adoption in 1968, Cincinnati has gone 359-441-4 (.449). Only the Bucs (.387), Cardinals (.425), Jags (.440) and Falcons (.448) have a worse all-time win percentage. The Bengals are 5-14 all-time in the postseason and have never won a Super Bowl.
Cincinnati hit rock bottom in 2019. Under first year coach Zay Taylor the Bengals were the worst team in the NFL. Cincinnati went an abysmal 2-14, its worst regular season record since 2002.
This offseason the Bengals have undergone a massive transformation. Gone is long-time quarterback Andy Dalton. In his place steps in LSU Heisman winner Joe Burrow, whom the Bengals selected first overall in the 2020 draft. With the drafting of Burrow, there is finally a glimmer of hope for one of the league's least successful franchises.
As bad as the Bengals were last season, there is a sneaky impressive supporting cast around Burrow this season. The biggest addition is the return of 7-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, who missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury. Cincinnati also welcomes back offensive tackle Jonah Williams, who was selected 11th overall in 2019 but missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. Burrow can also lean on wideout Tyler Boyd, running back Joe Mixon and former Clemson receiver Tee Higgins, who was selected in the second round of this year's draft.
Cincinnati spent significant money in free agency to improve the defense. The Bengals added former Vikings cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, along with former Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader and former Saints safety Vonn Bell.
So what do oddsmakers expect out of the new-look Bengals this season?
Cincinnati's 2020 win total is 5.5 across the market. Right off the bat, this signals a vast expected improvement from last season's dismal 2-14 campaign. What's most interesting, though, is that the over 5.5 is being heavily juiced up at nearly every sportsbook.
Circa Sports is hanging the over 5.5 at -135 (under + 115). DraftKings is over 5.5 at -115 (under -106). FanDuel is over 5.5 at -125 (under + 105). PointsBet is even higher, offering over 5.5 at -141 (under + 115).
Why are sportsbooks forcing bettors to pay such an expensive price on the over? Because they've taken in sharp money on Cincinnati to go 6-10 or better this season, creating house liability.
Another reason to like the over is Cincinnati's schedule. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 122-134 (.477) in 2019, giving the Bengals the 6th-easiest schedule in the NFL.
Here is the full Bengals schedule
Week 1: vs Chargers
Week 2: at Browns
Week 3: at Eagles
Week 4: vs Jags
Week 5: at Ravens
Week 6: at Colts
Week 7: vs Browns
Week 8: vs Titans
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Steelers
Week 11: at Redskins
Week 12: vs Giants
Week 13: at Dolphins
Week 14: vs Cowboys
Week 15: vs Steelers
Week 16: at Texans
Week 17: vs Ravens
Even though oddsmakers expect an improved Bengals team in 2020, don't expect a playoff appearance. Cincinnati is a -1000 favorite to miss the postseason at DraftKings and + 625 to make the postseason.
The Bengals are + 2000 to win the AFC North. The Ravens are the favorite at -225 with the Steelers + 350 and the Browns + 600.
If you believe in miracles, Cincinnati is + 5000 to win the AFC and + 10000 to win the Super Bowl.
In terms of player props, Burrow's over/under passing yards is 3,700.5 and passing touchdowns 21.5. Burrow is the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year at + 225.
Tyler Boyd's over/under receiving yards is 950.5. Boyd has posted 2-straight 1,000 yard seasons, hauling in 1,046 yards last season and 1,028 in 2018.
Joe Mixon's over/under rushing yards is 1,150.5. Mixon rushed for 1,137 yards last season and 1,168 yards in 2018.