Last week, the eminent Internet betting site BoDog released a series of over/under prop bets for individual Bengals (hat tip to the Enquirer’s Joe Reedy for posting the lines). Here are my completely unscientific, sure-to-fail picks.
Andy Dalton passing yards: 2,700. Over.
Andy Dalton touchdowns: 12.5. Over.
Andy Dalton interceptions: 15.5. Under.
To me, these lines really boil down to this: Will Andy Dalton be the starter for all 16 games? The franchise seems committed to the kid, so if he can stay healthy and play at least reasonably well, I think he’ll be in the lineup all season. And if he is, 2,700 yards and 13 touchdowns are very attainable. In 2010, all 12 quarterbacks who started every game (and 10 who didn’t) reached those numbers. But yeah, in a 32 team league, only 12 quarterbacks started all season long. Here’s hoping Dalton is more durable than Matthew Stafford. And the under on interceptions? Purely wishful thinking.
Cedric Benson rushing yards: 1,100. Under.
Cedric Benson rushing touchdowns: 7. Under.
To me, these are the toughest lines on the page. They’re in line (get it?) with Ced’s numbers from last year (1,111 yards and seven rushing scores), so the task here is to decide if he’ll have a better or worse season than in 2010. Because I think the passing game will struggle to keep defenses honest, I’m going with worse.
A.J. Green receiving yards: 650. Over.
A.J. Green receiving touchdowns: 3.5. Over.
I know Green is stepping into a difficult situation, playing with a rookie quarterback in an offense that’s likely to sputter. But he’s supremely talented, and I think that will win out. Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Andre Johnson all surpassed those numbers as rookies, despite playing with bad quarterbacks.
Jordan Shipley receiving yards: 650. Over.
Jerome Simpson receiving yards: 550. Over.
I wanted to go under with these guys, but the numbers feel low to me. Shipley had 600 yards last year, and he may actually benefit from playing with the inexperienced Dalton, who is likely to rely on the short passing game in new coordinator Jay Gruden’s offense. Last year, Simpson had 277 yards in just the final three games. Can he double his production with a five-fold increase in opportunity? I think so.
Carlos Dunlap sacks: 9.5. Under.
Leon Hall interceptions: 3.5. Over.
Those last two picks are total guesses, which makes them just like all of the others. At the end of the season, we can revisit this post and laugh at how few of these turn out to be correct.
Disclaimer: This exercise is purely for fun; the last thing I want to do is condone, abet, or contribute to anyone’s gambling habit.