Posted on July 28, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Expectations heading into the 2019 NFL season are not exactly high for the Cincinnati Bengals. Their odds to win the division are the longest in the AFC North at +1200. Only the Dolphin have longer odds to win the AFC (Bengals– +5000; Dolphins– +6600). As for the Super Bowl, they are tied with the Redskins for second-worst in the NFL (+10000).
But in light of the recent news about wide receiver A.J. Green, it sounds like expectations are going to get a little bit lower.
During the team’s first training camp practice on Saturday, Green went down with an ankle injury and had to be carted off the field. According to Tyler Boyd, the field conditions were not very good (ESPN):
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“The turf was terrible. I couldn’t run any routes out there. I’m falling all over the ground. It was bad. It was rocks, pebbles out there. Man, it was somewhere we shouldn’t have been. I’m not trying to say any excuses, but it is what it is.”
Early reports thought it was a low ankle sprain and he’d be out of commission for about a month. That would mean he would miss out on training camp and likely the entire preseason as well.
But then they got the MRI results back. As it turns out, he tore some ligaments in his left ankle. According to media reports, he is expected to be out from six to eight weeks. That would put him out of action for at least the first game of the regular season.
However, since he is an older receiver, it wouldn’t be shocking if he were to be out closer to eight weeks. But that would mean he would not play until Week Four when the Bengals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.
Cincinnati already had its metaphorical back against the wall as is. With a new head coach (and a first-time head coach at that), a quarterback that is not getting any younger, and an offensive line that did not get any better in the offseason there wasn’t much of anything working in their favor.
They were already underdogs (+9) in Week One against the Seattle Seahawks. There may have been a decent case for them to cover the spread with Green, without him, that case is shot. But they are going to struggle in the passing game, and it remains to be seen how well the run game will work.
It is also going to be hard seeing the over getting covered either (43.5).
But even with Green suiting up, it would have been a long shot. Seattle doesn’t run up the score that often anymore now that they are a run team. So, to cover the over, Cincinnati may need to score as much as 20 points—which, just isn’t going to happen.
Going all-in on the Seahawks to win in Week One is probably a very good bet.
Beyond Week One, the lines are not available at the moment. But the Bengals play the San Francisco 49ers in Week Two and the Buffalo Bills in Week Three. However, chances are good they would have already been underdogs in both. Should he return in Week Four for the Steelers on Monday Night Football—they are 8.5-point underdogs.
So, if you were on the fence about the Bengals in any game inside the first month of the season, as long as Green is out, you can rest easy betting against the Bengals.