NFL Betting: Are the Cincinnati Bengals a Smart Bet to Make the Playoffs?

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  • Jake Browning 924 yards and five touchdowns while adding two more scores on the ground
  • The Bengals defense rank thirty-first in the league in yards allowed (379.2 YPG)
  • Cincinnati will face the Vikings, Steelers, Chiefs, and Browns to close out the season

The Bengals’ season was supposed be over once Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending injury, but that hasn’t been the case. Cincinnati has won two straight games to improve their record to 7-6. While that leaves the Bengals currently in tenth in the AFC, they own the same record as two of the three wildcards, and the other is the Browns. 

NFL betting sites are offering favorable odds for the Bengals to make the playoffs, but is it a wager worth making? Below, we will break down where the Bengals currently stand and their route to the playoffs, giving you all the odds and insights, you need to bet on them confidently.

Odds for the Bengals to Make the Playoffs 

Currently, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Bengals at +300 to make the 2023 NFL playoffs and -400 to miss them. That shows that FanDuel does not believe the Bengals will make the playoffs but aren’t quite ready to count them out.

Where the Bengals Currently Stand 

After losing three straight games to close out November, the Bengals have won both of their December games. That includes an impressive road overtime win against the AFC South leading Jags and a blowout of a Colts team that holds one of the wildcard sports in the AFC. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Steelers, Colts, Texans, and Broncos all currently own the tie breaker over the Bengals thanks to their record in conference games.

The good news for the Bengals is that quarterback Jake Browning looks to be the real deal. The rookie has thrown for 924 yards and five touchdowns while adding two more scores on the ground. He takes care of the ball well and has been able to avoid sacks in the pocket. He is allowing the Bengals star-studded receiver corps to become a factor once again, leading to some wins. 

The biggest problem that the Bengals currently face is their defense. While Browning seems to be the savior for the offense, the Bengals defense is bad. They rank thirty-first in the league in yards allowed (379.2 YPG) and nineteenth in opponent scoring (22.1 PPG). As well as Trey Hendrickson has played (13.5 sacks, 14 TFL), Cincinnati needs other members of the unit to make some plays.

The Bengals are currently in last place in the AFC North.

What Lies Ahead for the Bengals 

The Bengals have four winnable games remaining on their schedule. Starting this weekend, they will face the Vikings, Steelers, Chiefs, and Browns. The Steelers both currently occupy an AFC Wild Card spot, with tiebreakers over the Bengals. If Cincinnati can win both, it will shift those tiebreakers and could secure the Bengals a playoff spot.

The biggest question about the remainder of the Bengals’ season is quarterback Jake Browning. He has looked far better than anyone could have expected, but he has only started three games. How will the rookie respond when on the road in Pittsburgh and Kansas City in December with a playoff spot on the line. Those are two hostile places to play that will also be cold, making Browning’s job even more difficult.

One other problem for the Bengals playoff hopes is the remaining schedule for the Browns, Steelers, and Colts. All three teams have schedules far easier than the Bengals. While Cincinnati could end up wrestling the tiebreakers away over the final four weeks, it won’t matter if those three teams don’t lose some games.

We are circling January 7, 2024, on our schedule as the Bengals and Browns will meet in a game that could determine which makes the playoffs.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.