The Cincinnati Bengals are coming off of a disappointing 2-14 season. The Chargers are coming off a disappointing season, going 5-11 and missing the postseason after a 12-4 mark in 2018.
Offense will be a question for the Chargers as long-time quarterback Philip Rivers left via free agency, as did running back Melvin Gordon. This offense will look much different with Tyrod Taylor and Austin Ekeler featured. The Chargers Super Bowl Odds are at +3300.
The defensive side of the ball isn’t as much of a question mark. They have stars like Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram leading the way. Unfortunately, they lost S Derwin James for a long spell with a meniscus injury, which will hurt. This unit was ranked 14th in the NFL in points allowed but part of that could be due to the offense turning the ball over too many times.
It is yet to be seen how well quarterback Joe Burrow (+8000 odds to win NFL MVP) will play. If all goes well, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft will be able to give this below-average unit a much-needed boost. The Bengals were the 30th-ranked offense in terms of points per game.
The Bengals’ defense has improved vastly with their offseason additions and draft picks. They picked up safety Vonn Bell, cornerback Trae Waynes (on IR), and defensive tackle D.J. Reader. These moves should improve their 25th-ranked defense in points per game allowed although losing Waynes is a big dent.
The over for the Chargers has cashed five straight times in Week 1 matchups and is 4-0 in their last four road games.
The over is also 4-0 in the Cincinnati Bengals’ past four games. Each of these teams has trends that point to the over but the under has been come in for each of the last five times these two teams matched up.
BetUS Free Pick: Under 43
This is a matchup of teams with questions on offense, so under looks like the best bet. It will be Burrow’s first game under center and he won’t have had any preseason experience to get his feet wet. The Chargers are a tough defense.
As for the Chargers, their offense should be more basic under Taylor. He plays it safe and that should lead to more ball control and moving the chains than explosive plays. Against an improved Bengals team, this should be an under.