It isn’t often that NFL teams play each other in consecutive weeks, but that’s the case here with the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts. The same two teams will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium to open the NFL regular season on Sept. 9. Last season, the Bengals were 24-23 winners at home over the Colts to end a two-game losing streak against Indianapolis, but the Colts have ruled the roost at home. They’ve won their last eight regular-season home games from the Bengals. Cincinnati hasn’t won at Indianapolis since 1997.
Another oddity to this series is that the first time the Bengals and Colts ever met on the football field was in an NFL playoff game. The AFC East Division champion Baltimore Colts played host to the AFC Central Division champion Bengals on Dec. 26, 1970 in what was the first-ever postseason game in Bengals history. The Colts shut out the Bengals 17-0, the initial step toward what would be a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. The two teams wouldn’t meet again in the postseason until 2014, Indy winning 26-10.
Low Riders – Three of the last four meetings between the Colts and Bengals in preseason play have gone under, as have two of their last three regular-season games. Believe it or not, the average total in their last three exhibition games was 17 points per game. You have to go back to 2010 to find a Bengals-Colts preseason game where both teams got to 20 points. But five of the last six regular-season games between the two teams played in Cincinnati have gone over.
Home Cooking – The Bengals have won the last three preseason games from the Colts played at Cincinnati. The Bengals are 7-1 at home against the Colts in exhibition play since 2004. Indianapolis has managed to score just 8.75 points per game in those eight games. Cincinnati is 9-4 all-time at home against the Colts in the preseason. The Bengals are also 3-0 at home against the Colts in their last three regular-season meetings. But they are just 5-8 at home against the Colts in the history of this rivalry.
Will It Add Up? – Neither of these teams are viewed as offensive threats. Bet365 is offering a future book wager on which team will lead the NFL in scoring during the 2018 season and the Colts are set at odds of +6600, but that’s much better than the +10000 odds on the Bengals. You also won’t find any Colts or Bengals among the top contenders in the future book Bet365 is offering on who will lead the NFL in touchdowns in 2017.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver A.J. Green are both well down the list, each with odds of +4000, but that’s a bargain compared to the +8000 odds Bet365 has assigned to Colts receiver T. Y. Hilton. Likewise, you can get odds of +6600 that Indy’s Adam Vinatieri will lead the NFL in regular-season kicking points. Again, those are significantly better odds than the +15000 Bet365 has posted next to Bengals kicker Randy Bullock.
With A Little Luck – All eyes will be fixated on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and his battle to return to action after missing all of last season due to a shoulder ailment. Bet365 is offering +450 odds on Luck winning the NFL’s comeback player of the year award, making him the co-second betting choice in this market alongside Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham. Only Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (+275) is given better odds of winning.
Bovada lists Luck and Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams as their co-10th betting options to lead the NFL in passing yardage at +2500. He’s the 11th choice in Bovada’s future book to top the NFL in touchdown passes this season, also at odds of +2500. And he’s one of five QBs, along with Goff, Derek Carr of the Los Angeles Raiders, Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs all pegged at odds of +3300 to earn recognition as the NFL’s MVP in 2018.
Andy’s Angst – There’s also not a lot of hope being offered to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to make anything happen this season. Bovada places Dalton at a distant +15000 to be named the league’s MVP. The only player assigned longer odds in this market is Dalton’s main target, receiver Green, who is at odds of +25000. You can get odds of +7500 on Dalton leading the NFL in passing yardage, but Dalton is given +2500 odds that he’ll lead the NFL in interceptions during the 2018 campaign.
On The Clock – Marvin Lewis has been the head coach of the Bengals since 2003. He’s garnered a .527 winning percentage in that time period (125-112-3), but it’s his 0-7 postseason record that is glaring and jumps off the page. That, plus his lengthy tenure, makes it no surprise that Betway has Lewis as their fifth betting choice at +1600 to be the first NFL head coach fired during the 2018 season. But go down the list a bit and you’ll find Frank Reich, Indy’s new bench boss, slotted in at +3300 before he’s even coached a game.
Not So Wild – Bet365 is offering a future book wager on which NFL teams will earn wildcard playoff positions in 2018 and the Colts and Bengals can’t even get a solid chance here. The Colts are set at +800 to be a wildcard team in 2018, while the Bengals are assigned odds of +900. To get a little perspective here, the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati’s AFC North rivals who were 0-16 last season, are also given odds of +900 on this wager.
Bovada has the Colts at odds of +275 to make the playoffs this season and -350 odds to miss the playoffs. You’ll get odds of +425 on the Bengals being postseason participants following the 2018 NFL regular season, while the odds on that not happening are set at -625.