Season Full of Over(Achiever)s for Bengals

Back before the season, I made predictions for several prop bets involving Bengals players. I updated you on their progress four games into the season, and then totally forgot about it. But in preparation for the Bengals playoff game in Houston this weekend, I thought it might be fun to see how they turned out. Like the team as a whole, most of the Bengals outperformed expectations. Since I picked more overs than unders, I came out a winner, too.

Each bet is listed like this: Player name, category: line. My pick. Final number. My result (in case you’re really, really bad at math).

Andy Dalton, passing yards: 2,700. Over. 3,398. Win.
Andy Dalton, touchdowns: 12.5. Over. 20. (Or 21, if his rushing TD counts.) Win.
Andy Dalton, interceptions: 15.5. Under. 13. Win.

Like you would expect with any rookie, Dalton had his ups and downs this season. He had six games with a quarterback rating above 90 and six with a rating below 70. In the second half of the year as the Bengals schedule became more difficult, Dalton’s yardage totals decreased, but he also cut down on interceptions. Taken in its entirety, even with the inconsistency, Dalton’s rookie year was obviously a huge success. The playoff experience, no matter how it turns out, should only push his growth further. Then we can start worrying about a sophomore slump.

Cedric Benson rushing yards: 1,100. Under. 1,067. Win.
Cedric Benson rushing touchdowns: 7. Under. 6. Win.

Benson started to wear down in the final few weeks, but give the guy credit: He’s one of the league’s most steady, consistent running backs. As a one cut, north-south runner, he’s not going to break many tackles or surge for huge gains. But he stays healthy, runs hard, and pounds his way to 70 yards a game and 1,000 yards a season. The real takeaway here is that it’s scary how good Las Vegas is as setting lines.

A.J. Green receiving yards: 650. Over. 1,057. Win.
A.J. Green receiving touchdowns: 3.5. Over. 7. Win.

There isn’t much I can say about A.J. that hasn’t already been said. He’s the real deal, a franchise player. He’s Ocho, minus the antics. He’s the sort of receiver who makes catches that leave you with your mouth agape, trying to figure out on the replay how in the hell he just did that.

Jordan Shipley receiving yards: 650. Over. 14. Loss.
Jerome Simpson receiving yards: 550. Over. 725. Win.

Tight end Jermaine Gresham became a reliable possession receiver for Dalton, but it’s still sad to think about how much better the offense could have been if Shipley hadn’t gotten hurt. I’m actually surprised that Simpson ended up with 725 yards; watching the games, he rarely stood out. Then again, that front-flip touchdown should count for about 600 yards all by itself.

Carlos Dunlap sacks: 9.5. Under. 4.5. Win.
Leon Hall interceptions: 3.5. Over. 2. Loss.

Led by Geno Atkins and Jonathan Fanene, the Bengals used a balanced pass rush (nine players had at least two sacks, including Dunlap) to finish fifth in the league with 45 sacks. The Bengals had only 10 interceptions though, putting them in a tie for 26th in the NFL. Reggie Nelson led the team with four.

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In my final week of picking games, I went 8-8 and finished one game under .500 for the year. I picked the Bengals to win, which they didn’t. Since they’re in the playoffs anyway, I hope none of you are too heartbroken. I think I’ll pick the playoff games, too, in hopes of pulling out an overall winning record.

Record in Week 17: 8-8
Record overall: 120-121-2
Record picking Bengals games against the spread: 9-7
Record picking Bengals games straight up: 9-7

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