2023 NFL Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals


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2023 NFL Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals proved that their run to Super Bowl LVI was no fluke with another deep run in the postseason in Joe Burrow’s third season. Cincinnati ended the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and a 7-0-1 ATS mark in that span, which helped them to finish with the NFL’s best ATS winning percentage at .800 (12-3-1). They won 12 of their final 14 games after an 0-2 start to match the franchise’s previous best record set in 2015, 1988, and 1981. They won back-to-back division titles (+175 odds) for the first time since they won the AFC Central in 1981-82. Cincinnati also made back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances for the first time in franchise history.

Cincinnati survived the Wild Card Round thanks to Sam Hubbard’s improbable 98-yard fumble return TD against the Baltimore Ravens before its three-score beatdown of the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round. The Bengals finally fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth career matchup between Burrow and Patrick Mahomes on a last-second field in the conference title game, which ended Cincinnati’s 10-game winning streak. Burrow didn’t lead the league in completion percentage (70.4%>68.3) and YPA (8.9>7.4) for the second straight year, but his touchdown passes went up (34<35) even with stud Ja’Marr Chase missing four games for a hip injury. Chase saw his YPR plummet from 18.0 to 12.0 yards in his second season, but he finished with six more receptions (81<87) despite playing five fewer games with the Bengals transitioning to a quick passing attack to protect Burrow. The Bengals stole Orlando Brown from the Chiefs this off-season as they try to take the final step toward a Lombardi Trophy after their meteoric rise the last two years.

2022 By the Numbers

  • Record (ATS): 12-4 (12-3-1)

  • Season Win Total: Over 10

  • One-Possession Record: 5-3 (1-1 postseason)

  • Postseason Record: 2-1 (1-2 ATS)

  • Division Odds: +175

  • Playoff Odds: -145

  • Over/Under Record: 6-9-1

  • PPG: 26.1(7th)

  • PPG Allowed: 20.1 (6th)

  • Average Scoring Margin: +6.0 (6th)

  • Turnover Differential: +6 (6th)

2023 Schedule

1@ Cleveland Browns-2.51
2Baltimore Ravens-3.51
3Los Angeles Rams-78:15 (Mon)
4@ Tennessee Titans-4.51
5@ Arizona Cardinals-7.54:05
6Seattle Seahawks-4.51
8@ San Francisco 49ers+14:25
9Buffalo Bills-18:20 (Sun)
10Houston Texans-9.51
11@ Baltimore Ravens-18:15 (Thurs)
12Pittsburgh Steelers-4.51
13@ Jacksonville Jaguars-18:15 (Mon)
14Indianapolis Colts-91
15Minnesota Vikings-51
16@ Pittsburgh Steelers-2.54:30 (Sat)
17@ Kansas City Chiefs+3.54:25
18Cleveland Browns-4TBD

The Good

  • Cincinnati has one extra home game.

  • The Bengals will travel the fewest miles (11,942), and they’ll cross 14 time zones (per Bookies.com).

  • Softest Stretch: Weeks 3-5 (vs. LAR, @Ten, @Ari)

The Bad

  • The Bengals have the 13th-toughest schedule based on opponent win totals (per Sharp Football).

  • Cincinnati has four primetime games.

  • Cincinnati travels to Baltimore on a Thursday night for a critical AFC North matchup in Week 11.

  • Toughest Stretch: Weeks 8-11 (@SF, vs. Bal, vs. Hou, @Bal)

Key Off-season Moves

OT Orlando BrownEDGE Myles MurphyS Jessie Bates
S Nick ScottCB D.J. TurnerS Vonn Bell
TE Irv SmithS Jordan BattleRB Samaje Perine
LB Germaine PrattWR Charlie JonesTE Hayden Hurst
QB Trevor SiemianRB Chase BrownQB Brandon Allen
CB Tre Flowers

Head Coach History

Zac Taylor: 5th season, 28-36-1 overall record (.438), 2-2 win total record

YearRecordWin Total ResultPoint of Elimination
2022 (Cin)12-4 (1st AFCN)Over 9.5AFC Championship
2021 (Cin)10-7 (1st AFCN)Over 6.5Super Bowl
2020 (Cin)4-11-1 (4th AFCN)Under 5.5Regular Season
2019 (Cin)2-14 (4th AFCN)Under 6Regular Season

2023 Season Odds

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

Team FuturesOdds
Season Win Total (O/U)11.5 (+110/-134)
AFC North+125
Playoffs (Y/N)-340/+260
AFC Championship+500
Super Bowl+1000

Season Prop Movement

Win Total: 11.5 (-105) in late March to 11.5 (+110)

Super Bowl: +900 in mid-February to +1000

Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total

Cincinnati stunned the league by reaching the 2021 Super Bowl with preseason odds of 150/1, and the Bengals have quickly established themselves as one of the top teams to beat to be title contenders. Sportsbooks pegged them as favorites in 15 games at the time of the NFL’s schedule release. They’re underdogs to only the Chiefs and 49ers in road contests, and the Bengals will travel the fewest miles in the league.

The Bengals have a sense of urgency to make a title run with time running out on Joe Burrow’s rookie contract, so they lured Orlando Brown away from the Chiefs. Cincinnati handed him $31.1 million guaranteed and gave him the chance to be its left tackle. Burrow finished behind only Tom Brady in average time to throw at 2.36 seconds (per Fantasy Points Data) with the Bengals moving toward a quicker passing attack last season. The shift in strategy worked after Burrow got pummeled in 2021, with his sacks (51>41) and pressure rate (36% to 28%) plummeting in 2022. An improved offensive line will give Burrow more opportunities to get the rock to his elite WR tandem of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, and it could get Joe Mixon back on track after a terrible 2022.

Burrow, Chase, and the Bengals offense get most of the headlines for the Bengals, but Lou Anarumo’s defense has pushed Cincinnati deep into the postseason each of the last two seasons by shutting down Patrick Mahomes in 2021 and Josh Allen in 2022. The Bengals' defense finished sixth in points per game allowed (20.1) and seventh in takeaways per game (1.5), but Anarumo got passed over for the second straight year during the NFL head coaching carousel.

Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total

Cincinnati timed its rise to the top of the AFC North perfectly, with the rest of the division stumbling the last two seasons. Lamar Jackson disappeared with injuries in each of the past two years, while Cleveland dealt with Baker Mayfield’s downfall and Deshaun Watson’s bumpy entrance. The Steelers retired Ben Roethlisberger in 2021 before breaking in Kenny Pickett last season. The AFC North is the only division with all four teams lined at 8.5 wins or better, and it’s setting up to be a gauntlet for years to come, with all four quarterbacks entering 2023 at 27 years old or younger.

The Bengals benefited from the AFC North’s dysfunctional QB situations the last two years, but their three divisional counterparts made gains while they stagnated this off-season. Cincinnati lost both of its starting safeties, Jessie Bates (Falcons) and Vonn Bell (Panthers), to contracts worth $49 million in guaranteed money. The Bengals let Tre Flowers (Falcons) walk in free agency, and top CB Chidobe Awuzie is rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered last October. They drafted Michigan’s D.J. Turner in the second round to stem some of their bleeding, but Cincy’s secondary could go from a strength to a weakness. Cincinnati is also trending toward becoming a one-dimensional offense with one of the league’s weakest backfields. Burrow is one of the few quarterbacks capable of carrying an entire offense, but his job would be much easier if Mixon can turn around his declining play entering his seventh season.

Notable Player Props

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Joe Burrow: passing yards (4425.5), passing TDs (33.5), MVP (+750), most passing yards (+1100), most passing TDs (+450)

  • Fantasy Points Projection — passing yards (4775), passing TDs (37)

Joe Mixon: rushing yards (825.5), rushing TDs (7.5), OPOY (+7500), most rushing yards (+3500)

  • Fantasy Points Projection — rushing yards (755), rushing TDs (6)

Ja’Marr Chase: receiving yards (1275.5), receiving TDs (10.5), OPOY (+1000), most receiving yards (+600), most receptions (+600)

  • Fantasy Points Projection — receiving yards (1445), receiving TDs (13)

Tee Higgins: receiving yards (1000.5), receiving TDs (7.5), OPOY (+7500), most receiving yards (+6000), most receptions (+6500)

  • Fantasy Points Projection — receiving yards (1100), receiving TDs (7)

Best Bets and Leans

Best Bets

  • Joe Mixon (Cin) under 825.5 rushing yards (-110, DraftKings). Placed June 9.

The Bengals pondered releasing Mixon, especially when some legal issues popped up earlier this off-season. They now appear ready to head into training camp with the seventh-year runner leading a backfield with little experience behind him. That could be a big mistake for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, since Mixon was one of the NFL’s worst backs last season. Among 33 RBs with 150+ carries, Mixon finished dead last with just 18 missed tackles forced on 210 carries (.09 per attempt) and 29th in yards after contact per attempt at 2.6 per Fantasy Points Data. He also finished 28th in explosive run rate (percentage of runs to go for 15+ yards) at only 2.9%. HC Zac Taylor showed more trust in Samaje Perine last postseason, and it could be just a matter of time before Chase Brown and/or Trayveon Williams steal significant carries in this backfield. Mixon also missed 10 games for a foot injury in 2020 and two games last season for a concussion, which means he’s missed 2+ games in four of his six seasons.


  • Cincinnati Bengals under 11.5 wins (-125, Caesars)

The Bengals were a team of destiny during their run to the Super Bowl in 2021. Joe Burrow and company backed up their legitimacy as title contenders by returning to the AFC Championship Game last season. They’ve had some luck break their way the last two years, with Lamar Jackson disappearing and Cleveland dealing with the exit of Baker Mayfield and the bumpy entrance of Deshaun Watson in that same span. The rest of the AFC North took steps forward this off-season while the Bengals stagnated with a few key losses in their secondary. Cincinnati has to deal with a first-place schedule with extra matchups against the Chiefs and Bills. The Bengals are vying to become the first team to win the AFC North in three straight seasons — the Steelers won the AFC Central from 1994-97 — but they’ll have to do it with fewer than 12 victories.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 64.3% clip last season and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.