The implications of the Cincinnati Bengals falling to 0-2 are dire.
In the past 20 NFL seasons, about 1 in 10 teams have made the postseason after an 0-2 start. Including these same Bengals just last season, when they became the first squad to make the playoffs since 2018 after starting 0-2.
Then again, the expanded 17 game schedule leaves plenty of time for teams' to play catch up.
With that being said, the Bengals also got off to a terrible start last season. In fact, the Bengals began 2022 in similar fashion, starting the season with two losses, while watching Joe Burrow throw 4 interceptions and take 13 sacks. So what is Cincinnati's 2023 future NFL betting outlook, and how does the Bengals slow start affect their betting odds?
2023 is Different in Cincinnati
Joe Burrow just doesn't look right.
This season has painted a much different picture, as Cincinnati is struggling on multiple fronts. Burrow’s clearly ailing, and calf injuries have a tendency to linger. Burrow's calf issue has had a significant impact on his ability to make plays. Only Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have been more valuable on throws outside the pocket over the previous two seasons, per Tru Media. Having a quarterback who can make plays outside of the pocket is a necessity in the modern NFL.
Defensive coordinators have been exploiting Burrow's health by sending the house with regularity. In fact, Burrow has been blitzed on over half his drop backs through two weeks, and averaged a putrid 2.1 yards per dropback under pressure. Being aware of the opposing quarterbacks' inability to move around is an immeasurable advantage for the defense. Second-and-third level defenders can simply sit back in coverage and wait to disrupt timing routes without fear of the quarterback breaking contain.
On top of that, Cincinnati's secondary took a major hit this off-season. The Bengals lost both of last years' starting safeties, Jessie Bates and Von Bell to free agency. While they have the necessary talent on their roster to replace them, in draft picks Dax Hill and Jordan Battle, there's been some growing pains.
Additionally, Cincinnati has already dropped two games in the AFC North. After entering the year as +135 favorites to win the division, the cardiac cats have slipped to +210, tied for second in the AFC North odds with the Cleveland Browns. With the North far and away the NFL's most competitive division, Cincinnati will be hard pressed to catch up.
With the talk that Cincinnati's stalwart could end up on injured reserve, the loss of Burrow would be a killer to the Bengals season. Burrow would miss at least four games, and then have the bye week to rest up before returning to the field. However, any postseason hopes the Bengals have left could be gone by then.
Does the Bengals 0-2 start kill their Super Bowl Hope?
|Opening Bengals Super Bowl Odds||Current Bengals Super Bowl odds|
Since 1990, only three teams have begun the season 0-2 and gone on the win the Super Bowl. Having said that, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys and 2007 New York Giants had healthy quarterbacks. Troy Aikman is a Hall of Famer, and Eli Manning may find his way to Canton as well.
The other outlier squad is the 2001 New England Patriots. That particular team broke all the rules, as an unknown quarterback from Michigan took the reigns after starter Drew Bledsoe was hurt in Week 2. You know the rest of that particular tale. In essence, those teams were led by the undisputed greatest quarterback of all-time, Tom Brady, and two Hall of Fame level talents.
Joe Burrow may very well find his own bronze bust in those hallowed Ohio halls one day. Unfortunately, the former Heisman trophy winner isn't healthy, and it remains to be seen if he will ever be at 100% this season. Moreover, Cincinnati has very little behind Burrow on the quarterback depth chart.
Former Washington Huskies pivot Jake Browning would step in as the Bengals starter should Burrow miss time. Sadly, a Brady-like run doesn't appear to be in the cards, as there have been no signs the 5th-year signal caller has the necessary traits needed to lead an NFL team to the postseason.
Bengals are in dire straights
Only one team in the last decade has made the postseason after beginning the year 0-3. Unfathomably, Bill O'Brien's 2018 Texans made the leap from 0-3 to 11-5 before falling to Andrew Luck's Colts in the Wild Card round.
It's important to remember, that Texans team had a young playmaker in Deshaun Watson leading the offense. Additionally, that team played in the woeful AFC South, while the Bengals ply their trade in the uber-competitive AFC North.
"Joe Burrow tweaked his calf yesterday and he obviously hasn't looked right these first two weeks..— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 18, 2023
I think it's fair to wonder if he's gonna be ready to go on Monday night against the Rams"@AdamSchefter #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/nTN8wkNViX
Ultimately, without a healthy Joe Burrow under center, the 2023 Bengals have very little reason to be optimistic. This version of "Baton Rouge Joe" just ain't cutting it. Unfathomably, the LSU-product has yet to complete a pass of more than 20 yards this season. In a league where explosive passing offenses continue to be most valuable units on the field, that's far from what is needed.
Although the Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd trio remains one the NFL's best receiving units, they can't throw themselves the football. Cincinnati will struggle to score enough to stay in ball games without their star man.
How to Bet the Ailing Cincinnati Bengals
Fade the Bengals while you still can. News of Joe Burrow's trip to the injured reserve list could be imminent. Bengals' head coach Zac Taylor doesn't sound optimistic when discussing his star quarterbacks' health.
Zac Taylor on the status of Joe Burrow pic.twitter.com/xnI0vu5M87— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) September 21, 2023
In the end, Cincinnati has struggled to score so far this season, and with Burrow's health up in the air, that is likely to continue. Betting Bengals unders for the foreseable future could prove to be a profitable strategy.
Cincinnati UNDER 9.5 wins can still be had at sportsbooks at -188 odds, and needs to be considered on your NFL futures betting card. Likewise, Cincinnati to not make the playoffs may be the best future play left on the board at -115 odds.