NFL Picks: Cincinnati Bengals Win Totals & Game-by-Game Predictions

Nikki Adams

Thursday, May 28, 2015 6:53 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 28, 2015 6:53 PM UTC

The Cincinnati Bengals receive the second toughest schedule in the NFL, prompting bookies to set their season win totals at 8.5. Will the Bengals crack this number or will they struggle? Here's a game-by-game analysis, complete with our NFL picks.

Cincinnati Bengals and The Andy Dalton Factor
Four consecutive NFL playoff appearances were followed by disappointing first round exits each and every time, prompting NFL bettors to question the Andy Dalton factor. Clearly, he's a solid quarterback that can take the Bengals to the postseason. But he's yet to prove he's a contender when it matters most against the best in the NFL.

Too many times the Bengals have been found wanting. Dalton can blow hot and cold from week to week in the regular season and often he struggles against his peers, particularly in Primetime football.  

Last season, the Bengals got off the mark with a 3-0 start before going into a week 4 bye. At the time, they turned some heads with their stud-like start to the season and, in turn, raised expectations. Unfortunately, things came slightly undone afterwards with some bizarro results: a 37-37 tie with the struggling Carolina Panthers, a shocking 24-3 loss to the Browns and a narrow 14-13 win over the Bucs (a game they very nearly lost). As well, they were swept aside by the Steelers, the eventual AFC North champions. That said Dalton did lead the Bengals to a sweep over the Ravens and clinched a signature win over Peyton Manning in week 16 NFL betting. Small blessings.

In any event,  the Bengals did finish the season strong by winning five of their last 8 games to pull off the 10-5-1 SU mark; thereby, crushing the 8.5 win totals set for 2014 by Vegas Odds makers. Incidentally, we did predict a 10-6 SU season for the Bengals in our 2014 game-by-game preview and we also recommended the OVER 8.5, which was trading at -135, on our NFL picks


What Can We Expect In 2015?
Their 2015 NFL schedule features a staggering 0.563 winning percentage, thanks to drawing the formidable AFC West and crossing over with the even more frightening NFC West. Consider they barely cracked the double-digit season win total with the 23rd toughest schedule that featured a 0.469 winning percentage. How are they going to do it with a considerably tougher NFL schedule?

Not to be overly pessimistic but predicting 10 wins (or another double-digit season) for the Bengals when they have the second toughest NFL schedule is a tough ask. Cracking the 8.5 win total set by bookies is another matter entirely. If the NFL odds were any indication, they should. The OVER 8.5 is trading at a whopping -140 NFL odds while the UNDER 8.5 is trading at +110 NFL odds. But do we agree with this NFL betting outlook?

Let's find out, shall we...


Week 1: vs. Oakland (road), Sunday, Sept 13 at 4:25 PM
The Cincinnati Bengals have what appears to be a favourable opening game for the 2015 NFL season against the Oakland Raiders. The hosts finished 2014 with an abysmal 3-13 SU mark, which was comprised by a 3-5 mark at home and a-0-8 mark on the road. It's fair to say the Raiders don't present a challenge based on their account last season.

It's worth mentioning that NFL odds makers chalk Oakland to 5.5 wins on the season, slightly better than the 4.5 line trading in 2014. Obviously, they are expected to be a much better team with reports of Michael Crabtree joining the roster and Derek Carr showing promising signs. But it's the first game of the season for the revamped Raiders against a much better Bengals side. NFL bettors can safely assume (or almost) that this game isn't going to be one for the win column for Oakland. Take the Bengals to win their opening game of the NFL 2015 season on your NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Win


Week 2: vs. San Diego (home), Sunday, Sept 20 at 1 PM
The Bengals' home opener features the 2013 AFC Wild Card rematch between the Bengals and Chargers. A game that Philip Rivers and the Chargers won handily (27-13). Obviously, Andy Dalton and the Bengals will be looking for revenge. That'll be easier one would think if Philip Rivers leaves San Diego before the season kicks off. That's up in the air right now. There were trade rumours earlier in the year but now the latest word is the Chargers are working on a contract extension for the starter. Assuming the Chargers do have Rivers as their front man, there's still the travelling involved. Bengals have home field advantage and after breaking into the season at the expense of the Raiders, they should take the comfortable home win.

NFL Picks: Win


Week 3: vs. Baltimore (road),  Sunday, Sept 27 at 1 PM
Last season, the Bengals swept the Baltimore Ravens winning 23-16 in Baltimore in week 1 NFL betting. Then they completed the double by winning 27-24 at home in week 8 NFL betting. It was a standout effort that belies the true record between these two divisional rivals. Bengals are 5-7 SU in their last 12 games at M&T Bank Stadium, which includes a run of four straight losses that was  only snapped in last year's opener. This season, the Bengals will find it a lot tougher to take the road win in Baltimore. One has to consider the Ravens will be eager to snap the recent negative trend and re-establish the AFC North order.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 2-1


Week 4: vs. Kansas City (home), Sunday, Oct 4 at 1 PM
The Kansas City Chiefs descend on the Bengals in week 4 NFL betting. Although the Chiefs boasted the 10th ranked rushing unit in the league, there was extreme criticism about the fact that a receiver didn't catch a TD pass from Alex Smith all season long. Everything hinges on the Chiefs improving on the offensive side of the ball and if they can do that they could give the Bengals and their sixth-ranked rushing offence in 2014 a run for their money

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 2-2


Week 5: vs. Seattle (home), Sunday, October 11 at 1 PM
A date with the Seattle Seahawks is hardly ever a promising one. That it's on home turf is probably not going to help the Bengals either. Andy Dalton doesn't always play up to his opponents or loftier peers, calling into question is big-game skills often amongst NFL's panel of experts. The Seahawks are physical and they'll take it to the Bengals, all while fleeing the coop with the win.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 2-3


Week 6: vs. Buffalo (road), Sunday, Oct 18 at 1 PM
In recent meetings, these two sides have played each other close. With Rex Ryan coming into town and taking over the Bills, it should be more of the same as the Bills defense looks to pull out all the stops. Question is who will their quarterback be for this game because that's sure to figure in the result. Andy Dalton is pretty good against average quarterbacks.

NFL Picks: Win
Record: 3-3


Week 7: Bye


Week 8: vs. Pittsburgh (road), Sunday, Nov 1 at 1 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers welcome their divisional rivals Bengals in week 8 NFL betting, a game that is sure to be pivotal towards the AFC North standings. Last season, the Steelers swept the series convincingly. At Heinz Arena they routed the Bengals 42-21, on a day that was yet another in many of Dalton's bizarro repertoire. Unless Dalton can get over his big-game yips, the Steelers take this one handily.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 3-4


Week 9: vs. Cleveland (home), Thursday, Nov 5 at 8:25 PM
Why this game is scheduled for NFL Primetime is a mystery. Perhaps the NFL schedulers have taken a pity on Andy Dalton and the Bengals and their 3-11 record in Primetime games since 2008. Hoping to give them a helping hand in the win column and improve this stat somewhat. Then again the Bengals lost 24-3 to Cleveland on Thursday Primetime last season in week 10 NFL betting. So nothing is a given. If there's one silver lining, Brian Hoyer is no longer with the Browns. It's Johnny Football Manziel time (or not) in Cleveland. And we all know how that matchup went down last season: a 30-0 win for the Bengals in Cleveland. Yikes.

NFL Picks: Win
Record: 4-4


Week 10: vs. Houston (home), Monday, Nov 15 at 8:30 PM
The Bengals get a long week between Thursday's Primetime clash with the Browns and Monday's Primetime clash with Houston the following week. Last season, the Bengals beat Houston 22-13 on the road. This time with home field advantage, one has to like their chances. Then again, the Texans have acquired Brian Hoyer to their roster this season, who led the Browns to the stunning upset of the Bengals last season. With a much better defense around him in Houston, Hoyer could do some damage in another win over Dalton. Bengals suffer Primetime Blues here.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 4-5


Week 11: vs. Arizona (road), Sunday, Nov 22 at 4:05 PM
The Cardinals punched above their weight class last season despite playing with backup quarterbacks for a good chunk of the season. Imagine if Carson Palmer were healthy for an entire season. This is a well coached team that is disciplined and plays no nonsense football. The Bengals will be hard pressed to take the win in Arizona. Going against them is the short week after Monday's Primetime clash with the Texans and the trek to Arizona.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 4-6


Week 12: vs. St, Louis (home),  Sunday, Nov 29 at 1 PM
Bengals return home in week 12 NFL betting to welcome a revamped Rams side that is most likely to boast Nick Foles at quarterback. Rams defensive front is one of the best in the league and they can give Dalton fits. If there's one thing the Bengals can capitalise on it's home advantage, as well as a solid run of form down the stretch from seasons past (since 2011 they are 13-7 SU from November onwards.

NFL Picks: Win
Record: 5-6


Week 13: vs. Cleveland (road), Sunday, Dec 6 at 1 PM
Cleveland fans would rather forget the last time Dalton and the Bengals came calling. So too would Johnny Manziel, who suffered a 30-0 rout on his official NFL debut. Don't be surprised if this is billed as the grudge match of the AFC North division, but with a fading defense and questionable quarterback, it's hard to see how the Browns will avoid a similar fate

NFL Picks: Win
Record: 6-6


Week 14: vs. Pittsburgh (home), Sunday, Dec 13 at 1 PM
Last season, the Steelers swept the Bengals. There are those NFL bettors that believe this won't happen again this year and the Bengals will take the home win at least. However, if this proves to be a game with a lot riding on it, don't be surprised if Dalton struggles. He's not a big-game player yet and to entrust your NFL picks on him on such a pivotal occasion seems risky. Big Ben and the Steely Steelers will strike a much more convincing pose on the NFL odds board in our opinion.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 6-7


Week 15: vs. San Francisco (road), Sunday, Dec 20 at 8:30 PM
Once again, it's Primetime Football. At the risk of sounding repetitive and extremely uncharitable: we know what happens to Dalton on Primetime TV. Unless that somehow changes this season (by this stage of the season NFL bettors will be armed with that knowledge) then it's disadvantage Bengals.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 6-8


Week 16: vs. Denver (road), Monday, Dec 28 at 8:30 PM
One word: Payback. Peyton Manning gets his own back for the 37-28 loss to the Bengals in week 16 last season. Oh, it's Monday Night Football as well (yes, we're sounding like a broken record now). In any event, it's Mile High. Dead of winter and freezing cold and the second road game in as many weeks. The Denver Broncos have to be the smart NFL pick here, surely.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record: 6-9


Week 17: vs. Baltimore (home), Sunday, Jan 2 at 1 PM 
The Bengals close the season at home to the Ravens. Last season, they swept the series with the Ravens so they'll fancy their chances against their divisional foes in the final week of NFL betting. Andy Dalton and the Bengals can win this game, but by this point a playoff berth may be out of the question.

NFL Picks: Win
Record: 7-9


NFL Betting Verdict
This isn't going to go down well with the NFL betting public, a 7-9 SU record for the Bengals. Crickey. Well, a couple of games were tossups so in reality we're putting the Bengals somewhere between a 7-9 SU and 9-7 SU record. That flanks the 8.5 line rolled out by odds makers for their season win totals. The optimist would probably lean towards the OVER, which is also the favoured outcome by bookies at -140 NFL odds. For our money, though, we're leaning towards the UNDER at +110 NFL odds. It's a tough NFL schedule to negotiate, not to mention we like the price tag too. There we've said it.

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