Very little went right for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, particularly on offense. And while one pre-season game isn’t going to make believers out of the army of doubters, the Bengals are hoping to see some progress in that regard as they face the Chicago Bears in their exhibition opener. The Bengals are a home-field favorite against a Bears team that suffered the first loss of the pre-season, dropping a 17-16 decision to Baltimore in the Hall of Fame Game.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Don’t expect the line to vary much over the course of the next couple of days; bettors and fans alike know what’s coming, with the majority of first-stringers expected to see no more than a quarter of action. That the Bengals would be an ever-so-slight underdog on a neutral field is telling, however, given that Chicago isn’t exactly a world beater. Indeed, the Bengals have some convincing to do after they went a disappointing 7-9 last season.
The total has dipped a half-point from an opening of 36 down to 35.5. And the consensus on Sports Interaction is leaning toward the under, which comes as no surprise given how much these teams struggled on offense last season. The Bengals produced the fewest yards of any team in the league last season, while the Bears finished 30th out of 32 teams. Of note, the Bears have gone below the total in each of their previous six games overall.
After sitting out last week’s Hall of Fame defeat in Canton, projected starting QB Mitchell Trubisky will see time in the opening quarter as he looks to reward bettors and fans who have put their faith in him. But he might not have the player tabbed as his top regular-season target, as Allen Robinson is expected to sit for a second straight week. The Bears face an uphill climb to respectability, installed at -833 to miss the playoffs and +440 to reach the postseason.
Give the Bengals credit for knowing their deficiencies and working hard to address them. Of the half-dozen assistant coaches added to the fold, most notable is offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who put in five years in Dallas and helped build the Cowboys’ O-line into one of the best in the league. The Bengals are only slightly better bets to reach the playoffs than the Bears, listed at +405 to reach the postseason and -769 to miss out.