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Cincinnati Bengals Post Draft AFC North Division Odds 2020

Written by:
Ean Lamb
Published on:
Apr/26/2020

The Cincinnati Bengals will enter the 2020 season paying $200 for every $10 bet to win the AFC North following an NFL Draft whereby most analysts graded the Bengals with a B+ to an A.

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The Bengals received a B+ from ESPN, thanks in no small part to the drafting of Joe Burrow.

Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com writes:

Top needs: QB, OL, LB, DL, TE

OK, so the Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1990, the longest active drought in the NFL. And they haven't drafted a future Pro Bowler at any position since 2013, tied for the longest active drought in the NFL (with the Patriots!). And last year's first-round pick, offensive tackle Jonah Williams, played zero snaps. And they went 2-14. But this team isn't in that bad of shape, and I don't agree that the organizational culture is the issue (sorry, Stephen A.). Cincinnati is in a rut, for sure, but it's trying to get out of it -- that's why it has the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Joe Burrow is the quarterback to help the Bengals move forward. Every team I talked to loved him, and his rise from potential fifth- or sixth-rounder is amazing. He improved so much throughout 2019 that it was clear by the end of the season that he was going to be the top pick. He has the "it" factor, and I can't wait to see what he does in 2020. I also like that coach Zac Taylor & Co. were able to get Burrow some help at the top of Round 2. Wide receiver Tee Higgins (33) caught touchdown passes the past two seasons from Trevor Lawrence, the potential 2021 top pick, and now he'll catch passes from the 2020 No. 1.

Linebackers Logan Wilson (65) and Akeem Davis-Gaither (107) improve one of the league's worst units from a year ago, and Wilson in particular could be a steal. Khalid Kareem (147) had 26 tackles for loss over the past two seasons.

Cincinnati probably isn't going to win many games in 2020, but it's going to be fun to watch. This draft and offseason has set the stage for improvement, and I'm excited to see where it goes next.

Division Futures
Odds to Win AFC North
75105     Baltimore Ravens         -200     
75108     Pittsburgh Steelers         +350     
75107     Cleveland Browns         +450     
75106     Cincinnati Bengals         +2000    

The Bengals are priced at -110 for both the OVER/UNDER 5.5 regular season wins.

Andy Benoit of SI.com gives the Bengals an A:

By all appearances, Cincinnati’s commitment to Joe Burrow has been strong and steady from the start. The only reasonable knock on LSU’s 2019 breakout star is his lack of top-level arm strength, but that’s not to say Burrow can’t still make every throw. What sets him apart is how he gets to those throws. He sees and exploits the entire width of the field; he moves calmly, courageously and craftily within the pocket, and has good enough wheels to make plays outside of it. There’s no task in Zac Taylor’s zone-based, play-action-oriented offense that Burrow can’t perform.

Getting Burrow to quickly maximize the potential of those tasks will require better play at offensive line and wide receiver, areas the Bengals could address later in this draft but will also improve by default with wide receiver A.J. Green and 2019 first-round left tackle Jonah Williams returning to health. This can be a whole different Bengals offense in 2020, especially if second-round pick, Tee Higgins, builds on the drastic growth he showed from 2018 to ’19 at Clemson and carves out a meaningful role as a rookie in 2020. His college improvements were especially poignant inside—a significant note given that in Taylor’s play-action heavy offense the receivers often align in tight splits, working the middle of the field.

Higgins’s presence speaks to the Bengals’ concerns about incumbent wide receivers John Ross and especially A.J. Green staying healthy. They made this pick before addressing glaring needs on defense. Higgins, with his 6' 4" frame, wide catch radius and perimeter ball-attacking ability, is much more similar to Green, who will be 32 come Week 1 and is coming off a season-long foot injury in 2019 after missing seven games the previous year.

As for that defense, which was improved with mid-round picks… there were some who thought Logan Wilson was almost on LSU first-round linebacker Patrick Queen’s level in terms of pass-coverage potential. If the Wyoming product pans out, he gives the Bengals the top-flight coverage prowess that they were hoping to get from third-rounder Germaine Pratt last year. Pratt played a much more prominent role in the second half of last season and will have every opportunity to take a big step forward in 2020. If Wilson can, too, the Bengals will be very comfortable playing nickel defense. And to pad their options here, the Bengals spent the first pick in Round 4 on linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither—another linebacker whose physical traits offer value on passing downs.

Grade: A-

- Ean Lamb, Gambling911.com

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