The Cincinnati Bengals still aren’t getting the respect they deserve after an impressive 2021 season. Words like fluke and lucky are still being hurled around the football world after the Bengals’ miraculous playoff run, which ended in a Super Bowl loss. Cincinnati’s roster has improved over the offseason, making it all the more head-scratching as to why they aren’t being shown more respect, especially in Las Vegas.

Oddsmakers at BetMGM are listing the Bengals’ odds to win the AFC North at +185. Ahead of Cincinnati is the Baltimore Ravens at +150 with the Browns checking in at +300, followed by the Steelers who bring up the rear at +850.

So, how come the Bengals aren’t the division favorites? Quarterback Joe Burrow is coming off his first full season as a starter and is already looking like a MVP candidate for years to come. Plus, head coach Zac Taylor and the offense is in a much better place than they were at this time last year as he enters his third season at the helm.

The only knock on last season’s Bengals was the offensive line. Burrow took 51 sacks, leading all quarterbacks in 2021. However, Cincinnati’s front office patched up that hole this offseason with the additions of RG Alex Cappa, RT La’el Collins, C Ted Karras, and second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, LG Jackson Carman.

All four are expected to start.

With one of the best, if not the best, wide receiver corps in football, Burrow has everything he needs for another division title push.

So, where do they fall in the AFC picture? According to BetMGM, the Bengals have the fifth-best odds to win the conference. The Bills (+325), Chiefs (+450), Broncos and Chargers, both at +850 are ahead of Cincinnati, who sit at +1100 in a tie with the Ravens.

Three teams in the AFC West have better odds than the Bengals. I know Las Vegas has tall towers and bright lights for a reason, but it feels like the oddsmakers got this one wrong, especially with the Broncos.

For sports bettors, that’s a great thing. If BetMGM is offering the Bengals at +185 for the division, I think that is a bet you have to make. While they are still being viewed as a flash in the pan from last year’s success, it is the perfect time to buy in on the Bengals before the odds truly reflect the talent on this loaded roster.

Featured image via Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports