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Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds Preview

They’re the bungles no more. Cincinnati has quickly and somewhat quietly grown into a real contender over the last few years. Last season they claimed the AFC North crown and made their third straight playoff appearance.

Unfortunately for Cincinnati fans they also made their third straight first round playoff exit. Is this finally the year the Bengals break through and win a playoff game for the first time since the 1980s?

Cincinnati Bengals Odds to Win AFC North: +210 at Bovada
Cincinnati Bengals Odds to Win Super Bowl: 40/1 at Bovada
Cincinnati Bengals Regular Season Win Total: 9 at Bovada
Cincinnati Bengals Betting Props: Andy Dalton to Win NFL MVP 100/1 at Bovada

The Bengals definitely have the talent to do it. Quarterback Andy Dalton passed for over 4200 yards last season with 33 touchdowns and 20 interceptions and just signed a six-year contract extension. Despite those solid numbers, and the fact that he’s led the Bengals to an improved record in all three of his season under centre, Dalton still needs to perform in the playoffs to silence all of the doubters. Dalton’s top target obviously is wideout A.J. Green. One of the best in the league, Green was fifth in the league with 1426 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last season and is just entering his prime at 26 years of age.

The Bengals' running game took a backseat to the pass at times last season, but that’s quickly changing with the emergence of Giovani Bernard. He shared the rushing duties as a rookie last season with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but still put up 695 yards. With Bernard expected to handled more of the load this season expect that number to climb steadily.

On the other side of the ball the Bengals dominated last season, boasting the fourth-ranked defense in the league despite season-ending injuries to some key personnel, including cornerback Leon Hall. Hall and others will return this season, but the Bengals will be without one big piece of last year’s unit after Michael Johnson departed. Also out the door is defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who was replaced by linebacker coach Paul Guenther. He still has a fierce bunch to lead, with holdovers Vontaz Bufict, Geno Atkins and Ray Mauluga, so Cincinnati’s defense should continue to be one of the best in the NFL.

AFC North Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +210
Baltimore Ravens +275
Cleveland Browns +500

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The Cincinnati Bengals built on a surprise playoff berth in 2011 with another trip to the playoffs in 2012, making it clear that this team wasn’t a one-year fluke. With the core firmly in place, this year’s Bengals team should make another run at an AFC North title.

Odds to Win AFC North: +200 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 at Bovada
Betting Props: Andy Dalton to win NFL MVP (66/1) at Bovada

While many were expecting the Bengals to regress last year, Cincinnati hung tight in the AFC North with a 10-6 SU and 9-6-1 ATS record to earn a wild card playoff berth for the second year in a row. After being forced to go on the road to face the Houston Texans and losing to them two years in a row, the Bengals should be motivated to win the AFC North title and earn home field in the first round this year.

Cut of the same grain as the division rival Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals have had success as a defensive-minded team. The Bengals finished sixth in the league in total yardage against, allowing just 319.7 yards per game. Things should be no different in 2013 as the Bengals’ stingy defense returns mostly intact.

Cincinnati’s defense makes the Bengals a playoff contender, but in order to be a Super Bowl contender, the offense needs to take the next step. Andy Dalton had another strong year, passing for 3,669 yards and 27 touchdowns with 16 interceptions with plenty of action going to his favorite target, star wideout A.J. Green, who had 97 catches for 1350 yards and 11 touchdowns. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 1094 yards and six touchdowns.

New offensive weapons were acquired with the first two picks in the draft in TE Tyler Eifert and RB Giovani Bernard, who should both be able to step right in and complement the offense. With the addition of these two pieces and another step forward for Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, there shouldn’t be anything stopping the Bengals from being right in the thick of things for the AFC North, especially if age finally catches up to the Ravens and Steelers.

AFC North Odds at Bovada as of July 26
Baltimore Ravens +190
Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +200
Cleveland Browns +700