When you talk the recent NFL regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals have the Buffalo Bills' number. Cincinnati has won four of its last five games against the Bills, including the last two played at Buffalo. But before that, it was all Bills for the longest time. Between 1989 and 2010, Buffalo beat the Bengals in 10 successive games. The Bills won six straight home games from the Bengals in that span. Buffalo held the Bengals to an average of 18.1 points per game over that 10-game stretch.
The history between the Bengals and Bills is all about winning streaks. Cincinnati won four of its first five games against Buffalo, and the Bills won three in a row, two of them by shutout. The pendulum then swung the other way once more, the Bengals coming out on top in seven of eight games beween 1981-89, including a pair of postseason contests. But just one game in that eight-year stretch of Cincinnati success was played in Buffalo. At home, the Bills are 9-5 against the Bengals, but Cinci is riding a two-game win streak.
They Score - Regular season or preseason, you can generally count on plenty of action when the Bengals and Bills oppose each other on the football field. In the last two preseason games, Cincinnati and Buffalo have combined for 130 points. The total has gone over 40 in the last three exihibition games between the Bills and Bengals, and five times in the last seven games. The average total in the last 10 Bengals-Bills preseason games is 46.3 points per game.
The regular-season meetings between Buffalo and Cincinnati tend to be equally productive. In seven of the last nine Bills-Bengals games, the total has gone over. In the last nine Cincinnati-Buffalo contests, the average total is 51.2 points per game. The average total in the last three Bengals-Bills games played at Buffalo was 53.3 points per game. In 18 of the past 19 games between these teams, at least one team has gone for 20 points. In 10 games, both teams cleared the 20-point barrier and twice they each hit 30 points.
Buffa-low - On those rare occasions when the scoreline turns into a defensive struggle, the advantage almost always goes to the Bills. In their first preseason meeting in 1968, the Bills edged the Bengals 10-6. That's the only exhibition tilt between Buffalo and Cincinnati where at least one team didn't score 20 points. In regular-season play, when neither team gets to 20 points Buffalo is 5-1 agains Cincinnati. That includes the Bills' most recent win, a 16-12 verdict at Cincinnati in 2016, and a 5-0 Buffalo victory in 1978.
Going Green - Veteran Bengals receiver A.J. Green enjoyed a banner day in last season's 20-17 win over the Bills, catching seven passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. That's an average of 27 yards per reception. If every day were like that, Green might just win MyBookie's future book wager on who will lead the NFL in receiving yards for the 2018 season. But every game day last season wasn't like that for Green, and he finished 12th in the league with 1078 receiving yards.
MyBookie puts the odds on Green being the NFL's receiving yardage leader in 2018 at +1200. That places him sixth overall on the list, so he's a legitimate contender and worthy of consideration for a wager. But no Bengals receiver has led the league in this category since Chad Johnson in 2006. Seven times in his seven-season career, Green has gone to the Pro Bowl. Six times, he's gone over 1000 yards. But it would help Green if he had an opposite-side threat, something missing since Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu left.
Rushing Game - With uncertainty at quarterback, the Bills will count on their run game to carry the day, and the Bills count on LeSean McCoy to carry the ball. McCoy was fourth in the NFL last season with 1138 yards on the ground, and only Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell (321) carried the ball more frequently than the 287 times McCoy took a handoff. You'll get odds of +1300 from MyBookie on McCoy leading the NFL in rushing this season. Seven other running backs are ranked ahead of him, but not Cinci's Joe Mixon, who is +4000.
Passing Fancy - There are as many fans of Andy Dalton as there are critics. The Bengals quarterback had an off year in 2017. He was 17th in passing yards (3320) and 10th in TD passes (25). No wonder Dalton is getting no love at all from MyBookie in their NFL passing yardage leader future book. Dalton is pegged at odds of +5000. But there are two Buffalo quarterbacks who are listed with higher odds, and one of them, Josh Allen (+8000) has never thrown a pass in the NFL. Buffalo QB A.J. McCarron is a distant +15000.
Playoff Layoff - The Bills ended what was the NFL's longest active playoff drought last season by earning an AFC wildcard spot, but were quickly ousted 10-3 by Jacksonville, their fifth straight postseason setback. Buffalo's last playoff win was a 37-22 AFC wildcard triumph over Miami in 1995. Things haven't gone well for the Bengals in the playoffs, either. Cincinnati has lost seven straight postseason games. The Bengals last tasted victory in the playoffs when they beat the Houston Oilers 41-14 in a 1990 AFC wildcard game.
Perhaps that explains why Bovada isn't bullish on either team getting to the postseason in 2018. After consecutive losing seasons by Cincinnati - 7-9 last season and 6-9-1 in 2016 - Bovada puts the odds on the Bengals being playoff participants at +450. On the other hand, should you play the Bengals to miss the playoffs, the odds plummet to -650.
Even though the Bills made the postseason a year ago, the odds are actually longer on them. Bovada will give you +500 on the Bills making the playoffs in 2018. But if you want to bet on a Buffalo playoff absence, the odds you'll get are a dismal -800.