The Cincinnati Bengals are entering training camp with a few questions, even for a team that played in the Super Bowl last season.
A re-tooled offensive line is a big question, with cutting down on sacks on star quarterback Joe Burrow and improving short-yardage conversions a priority. The Bengals made three free agent signings there — tackle La’el Collins, center-guard Ted Karras and guard Alex Cappa.
But don’t sleep on the battle at tight end.
BetOhio.com used Google Trends to get a read on the top three most searched Bengals position groups over the past 30 days when it comes to training camp battles, and tight end was the top choice. Positions with obvious starters (like quarterback) were eliminated.
After determining the top position group, BetOhio.com used Google Trends to find out how much each player in that position group was being searched over the past week.
Bengals Most Searched Position Battles
- Tight ends
Below is a further breakdown of the tight end battle and where the Bengals stand with Ohio betting sites.
Sports betting is expected to go live in the state on Jan. 1, 2023.
You can expect Ohio sportsbook bonus codes to be readily available as the launch date nears.
Interest in Each Player in Ohio
Bengals Expect Hurst to Step In
With the departure of 6-foot-5, 271-pound C.J. Uzomah to the New York Jets as a free agent, 6-foot-4, 245-pound Hayden Hurst comes in as a free agent signing, on a one-year deal. Uzomah teamed up with Burrow for a career year last season — 49 catches, 10.1 average yards, five touchdowns, a key cog in a unit that finished 13th in the NFL in total offense.
Hurst caught passes from Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 — 26 catches in 13 games, for an 8.5-yard average and three touchdowns.
But here’s an interesting stat for fans interested in how to bet on sports in Ohio related to Hurst — he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens at No. 25 overall in the 2018 NFL draft, ahead of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who the Ravens then chose at No. 32 in that draft.
The tight end was traded to the Falcons in 2020. So signing with the Bengals puts him back in the AFC North for this season.
Will he live up to the hype of being a first-round pick? He’s just 28, and that Falcons team had an overall regression last year. Remember he caught 56 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.
Sample Was Strong in 2020
Drew Sample, at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, hasn’t missed a game in two seasons. Last season he had 11 catches, for a 7.36-yard average and zero touchdowns.
But the big statement for him was in 2020, when an injury to Uzomah thrust him into the starter’s role, and he answered with 40 catches for 349 yards, and one touchdown.
Plus, he’s been praised by coaches for his blocking in the Bengals’ running game, next to the tackles.
What will he look like this season with an improved offensive line, where he doesn’t have to block a rusher on his own, or the Bengals split him out wide for screen plays? Does he show any improvement with his pass catching or is he someone they just count on to boost their running game?
Can The Bengals Get Back To The Super Bowl?
Meanwhile, BetMGM has the Bengals at +2000 to win the 2023 Super Bowl and +1100 to win the AFC and reach the Super Bowl. The Bengals are +185 to win the AFC North. The Ravens have the shortest odds to win the AFC North at +150.
BetMGM Sportsbook Ohio is expected to be one of the top operators to launch on Jan. 1.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission also wants all sportsbook apps for Ohio to be ready at the same time. Bettors can expect large operators, as well as some smaller, but great, operators like Betfred Ohio, as well as Tipico Sportsbook Ohio.