After three winning weeks to start the year, the script agonisingly reversed last Sunday.
I hate losing. I hate it more than anything.
Sports betting is a competition between bettors. It is a challenge of rationality and intelligence.
Wise bettors take advantage of weak bettors, and the bookmaker moves the money from the hands of the weak to the pockets of the wise while sneaking a cut along the way.
I take losing personally not just because I am an obscenely competitive human being with a massive ego, but also because I know I missed something that someone else did not. I made a wrong decision I could have avoided if I was better prepared.
I do not project myself into the bet. Don’t mistake what I am saying on that.
I know the outcome is out of my hands and what happens on the field is what happens on the field. I just, more so than others, value the handicapping process immensely and insist I control what I can to the best of my ability.
I love the process. It makes me feel alive – and when it is done right, there is nothing sweeter in the world.
Now and then “that” feeling comes around. The feeling when everything about a game clicks and I am entirely confident in my process. I had “that” feeling in Week Two with Cleveland Baltimore Under 41 points.
That bet rewarded me and all of you handsomely.
This week, I have “that” feeling again, with the Cincinnati Bengals.
I’m Loving the Bengals this week
The line is telling. Very, telling.
On Monday at 2:45 pm. I tweeted out Cincinnati -3 as a bet and I expected the market to move. Writing this on Friday, the price is still Cincinnati -3, but at a more expensive rate. The fact the price has not moved shows how much blind market support there is for the underdog Bills.
I can argue that the Buffalo has the third highest public perception of any team in the league entering this week. They beat Denver, the most bet team of week three and killed an uncountable amount of parlays, teasers and spread bets last week beating Atlanta.
There have been more eyes watching the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills succeed in the last two weeks than any two-week span in my recent memory.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The Bengals got shut out week one, embarrassed on national television in week two, choked on national television in week three and had their best showing of the season in a game nobody watched in week four against Cleveland.
The fact that bookmakers have the Bengals as field goal favourites illustrate how confident they are in the most significant buy low sell high spot of the NFL season thus far.
The main reason for bookmakers confidence in the Bengals is the eye test does not match the numbers for the Bills.
Cincinnati ranks better than the Bills in both yards per play for and yards per play allowed. On net yards per play basis, the Bengals have a +0.4 yards per play advantage. Buffalo also was outgained in their victories over Denver and Atlanta.
The Bengals have two obvious matchup advantages. The defensive line and Dalton-Green combination.
Between Atkins, Lawson and Dunlap, the Bengals have three Top 25 graded defensive linemen in the league. The Bills have just one offensive lineman graded in the Top 25 (Incognito). Tyrod Taylor has gained 65% of his passing yards via play action.
If the Bengals can take advantage of the Bills weak center and right tackle positions, they can shut down the run, nullify play-action passes and force Taylor to make uncomfortable throws.
The confidence of Andy Dalton is growing week by week under his new offensive coordinator. Last Sunday, Dalton had the highest adjusted completion percentage (89.3%) of any QB in the league.
What is more impressive to me is how he is faring against the blitz sporting a passer rating last week of 113 when hurried or hit.
Tre’Davious White, the cornerback for Buffalo, has done great in his first four career games. Against AJ Green, however, I do not see him having the patience to avoid giving up big plays. White is hyper aggressive and loves to jump routes. He is going to be very uncomfortable against AJ Green, one of the best veteran route runners in the league.
I think the game is competitive early, but the Bengals can be the more consistent team and wear down the Bills. Buffalo comes back to earth in a big let down spot.
Cincinnati is a double bet for me.
Week Five Bets:
Cincinnati Bengals -3 (Double Bet)