NFL AFC North 2023 Sports Betting Preview
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Cincinnati Bengals, 12-4 Last year, 1st in Division
The Bengals caused quite a bit of a stir earlier in the season as they mentioned that there was some sort of Joe Burrow injury issue. If he goes down, the season is essentially over. Burrow is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and even after a very slow start to the season last year, they rebounded well and made it to the AFC Championship game. Will it be much of the same for the Bengals this year? Hard to get much better than they've been the past two years, falling short in both the Super Bowl and the aforementioned AFC Championship. They spent some money this offseason to protect Joe Burrow with Orlando Brown, and that could go a long way to keeping the quarterback upright. I'm not sure if their defense will be great, but they should be in almost every game they play. Hard to envision them not winning at least 11 games, but I'd be lying if I said the Burrow injury didn't have me a bit concerned. I'd only play the over, but I might not get to the window with it.
Baltimore Ravens, 10-7, 2nd
I'd love to say that the Ravens reinvested into Lamar Jackson and the offense, and maybe you could consider that with their pick of Zay Flowers in the first round, but I'm not sure he will be that good of a receiver. In free agency for the offense, their offseason addition was Odell Beckham Jr. I'm not really sure I'd call that a big bonus for the team, at least not at this point in his career. Mark Andrews is a great tight end and a good option for Jackson, but the offense probably will rely on his legs more than his arm for yet another year. The big question now is has Jackson moved past the bad blood he seemed to have with the franchise now that he signed his megadeal. He's only played 12 games the past two seasons, so let's see how many he can make. They are well-coached, and seem to have a solid enough defense every year. I think as long as Jackson is healthy, 10 games is basically a lock. 11 games seems like a good total for them, I wouldn't invest as much in that, but 11 wins at +100 looks pretty enticing to me.
Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-8, 3rd
I'll own up to this. I got this wrong last season. BTB gave this out as a free play last year that he liked the Steelers to go over their win total and I thought they would win seven games. I played the under and it was a loser. I still don't have much faith in them, but it is hard to doubt a team that seems to just find ways to win games. They are competitive and play their division well. I actually like their offensive weapons more this year as well as they have three solid receivers in the three starting spots. The defense could also be great and anchored by T.J. Watt. It should be interesting how they play Jackson and Burrow this season. I'm not convinced that Kenny Pickett is the guy that will lead them to victory more often than not, but he was 7-5 in the games where he made more than one throw, so maybe he can. I'm not touching the total, but I'd take the under if I was forced, I'm just not a believer.
Cleveland Browns, 7-10, 4th
Everyone, let's give a hand for your Cleveland Browns team and their starting quarterback Deshaun Watson! Okay, bad, overused jokes aside, the Browns are going to be interesting for a number of reasons this season and the number one reason is Watson. He did return last season and was, well, rusty. He completed 58% of passes and threw for seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He always was a threat with his legs and he averaged 4.9 yards per carry to go along with one touchdown. The Browns success comes from their running game, so Watson needs to find ways to get the ball to Amari Cooper and the other receivers so that the running lanes open up a bit. I have very little confidence in their secondary on defense so I'm a little concerned about just how much better they will be this season. This is another team I don't think I'll play on, but if I was forced to I'd probably take under 9.5 at -130.
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