The Bengals have made it to the AFC Championship Game in consecutive seasons, thanks to the play of Joe Burrow. Unfortunately, they don't have a Super Bowl win to show for it, despite being one of the best teams over the last two seasons.
Ohio sportsbooks expect Cincinnati in the mix again.
So, what do the Cincinnati Bengals need to do to get over the hump and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history? And just how far away are they from the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC?
Ohio sports betting apps went live on Jan. 1, so Bengals fans have been able to consider wagers on their dynamic team.
The Bengals are currently +900 to win Super Bowl 58, according to FanDuel Ohio. Those are the fourth-best odds in the NFL, trailing only the Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. The Chiefs are the current favorites to win the Super Bowl next year (+600), but their odds aren’t significantly higher than the Bengals. That means sportsbooks view the Chiefs, Bills and Bengals as similar teams heading into the 2023 off-season.
Where Bengals Can Improve
For the Bengals to pass a team like the Chiefs or Bills in the odds, they are going to need to make some major changes. The good news is that the Bengals have more than $35 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. That is far more than the Chiefs (-$3.5 million), and the Bills (-$16.7 million). So not only should they be able to keep their current roster, they should be able to add some significant contributors in free agency.
The most significant need area for the Bengals is on the offensive line. The additions of Alex Cappa and Ted Karras were both home runs last offseason and both will be key starters in 2023. But the Bengals need to find a better solution at right tackle as La’el Collins is likely to miss the start of the season with a torn ACL. Even when Collins played last season, he struggled and wasn’t the upgrade they were hoping for when they signed him as a free agent.
The Bengals also need to improve their depth across the offensive line. When Cappa could not play in the playoffs, the entire offensive line suffered. With so much cap space available, look for the Bengals to bring in multiple starting-caliber offensive linemen this off-season. It also would be wise for the Bengals to continue to invest high draft picks into athletic offensive linemen who can develop with the rest of their young corps.
The offensive line isn't the only position that needs work for the Bengals. The secondary could use some more depth, especially if Jessie Bates leaves in free agency. Another cornerback would help as the defense struggled some when Chidobe Awuzie went down with a knee injury. Getting another impact defender in the secondary could take this defense from very good to elite.
The Bengals could use more pass-rush help as their defensive line couldn't get to Patrick Mahomes in the AFC Championship Game. Adding another veteran rusher like Yannick Ngakoue or Robert Quinn might be enough to take this team over the top. But expect the Bengals to use one of their top two or three picks on a pass rusher in the 2023 NFL Draft, too.
Forecast for Bengals
With so much cap space and draft capital available to them, this is the off-season the Bengals need to go "all-in" to win a Super Bowl. Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins are in the primes of their careers and are all still on rookie contracts. And with the Chiefs and Bills facing some significant financial problems this offseason, this is the time to load up the roster and make a real push for a Super Bowl run.
NFL betting is alive and well in Ohio. Look to BetOhio.com for great wagering information, as well as Ohio sportsbook promos.
Bengals bettors will want to check out the many SuperBook Ohio promo codes available as the offseason continues developing.