Usually, when a pair of 1-3 teams face off in an early season contest, bettors would be wise to look for other options than placing wagers on these teams. Yet when the Cincinnati Bengals travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals Sunday, bettors will find some extreme values in this contest.
Coming into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, Cincinnati has severely underwhelmed in their first four weeks. Chief among the culprits is QB Joe Burrow, a fourth-year player that has thrown for 728 yards with a 57.6 completion rate – his lowest as a professional or collegiate player.
Burrow’s two TDs through four games ended his streak of 23 consecutive regular season games with at least one TD pass in 2023.
Arizona is likewise without a game-changing QB to start the NFL season. With Kyler Murray remaining on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, the Cardinals have turned to veteran QB Josh Dobbs.
In his first extended opportunity, Dobbs has completed 70 percent of his passes for 814 yards and four TDs without an interception. While his performance has been serviceable, the Cardinals have lacked explosive playmaking with Murray in the lineup.
With neither team carrying any momentum into the contest, what’s the best bet for picking this contest? Find that and our three top player props below.
It’s been nearly a year since Arizona’s Zach Ertz had Murray under center, and the stalwart TE’s numbers have seen a dramatic decline. With Dobbs helming the offense, Ertz has fallen to second on the team in targets (30) and receptions (20) in 2023.
With only 136 yards receiving and no TDs, the 11-year veteran has been relegated to second-tier status. That could change with the Bengals in town.
Cincinnati is the second-worst defense against TEs, yielding 58.75 receiving yards to the position as well as three TDs through four games. Expect Ertz to break his season-long slide and become a prop bet favorite Sunday to eclipse the receiving mark and score his first TD.
With any other player, picking a QB to eclipse a number he’s surpassed one time in four tries would seem ludicris. Yet that’s the smart bet when Burrow faces off against the Cardinals.
Arizona is allowing QBs an average of 263.75 passing yards while completing nearly 70 percent of their throws. The lone question mark surrounding this pick is WR Tee Higgins’ status for the game.
On Friday, Higgins practiced for the first time this week as the WR is recouping from a rib fracture he sustained in Week 4. If Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase are both dressed and competing Sunday, expect Burrow to post his best game of the season against the Cardinals.
Arizona RB James Conner has endured an up-and-down season with Dobbs at QB. In his first three outings, Conner saw a minimum of 16 touches and eclipsed the 70-yard plateau in terms of total yards.
But in his latest outing – a 35-16 loss to San Francisco – Conner ran 11 times for 52 yards and caught one pass for four more. Expect Arizona to get Conner more involved in the offense this week.
The Bengals are allowing over 110 yards rushing per contest and rank in the middle of the league in terms of stopping RBs. Conner will take advantage of Cincinnati’s weaker run defense to help bettors win this wager.
Arizona’s defense has allowed at least 20 points in each of their first four games, giving Cincinnati’s sputtering offense a spark of hope. The AFC North team needs that after having two separate games where a field goal represented their only scoring for the entire contest.
The Bengals desperately need to improve their offense, and the Cardinals possess the worst defense they’ll see in the next month. If Cincinnati cannot right the ship now, Bengals’ fans are in for a long season.
Expect Cincinnati and Arizona to both score over 20 points in this game and give bettors a win with the over.