Buffalo Bills Face Cincinnati Bengals For First Time Since Damar Hamlin Injury

Posted on: January 21, 2023, 12:36h. 

Last updated on: January 21, 2023, 10:47h.

Anybody who watched Damar Hamlin get injured against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football still cringes when remembering that moment. It was a near-death experience, it was uncomfortable to watch, and it looked at the moment like a player had dropped dead.

But Hamlin was saved by doctors who gave him CPR for eight minutes, and he has been visiting teammates at their practice facility this past week. Whether he makes an appearance in Orchard Park on Sunday remains to be seen, but the Buffalo Bills are rallying around his recovery. Will that make a difference Sunday in their AFC divisional playoff game?

Motivation can sometimes come from unlikely places, and Buffalo is entering this game as a 5 1/2-point favorite against a team that made an unlikely run to the Super Bowl last year.

Sunday’s 3 p.m. EST game could be played in light snowfall if the weather forecast holds. But light snowfall in Buffalo is like sunshine in San Diego: It just happens all the time, and folks there hardly even notice it unless it is a blizzard. And they have had two of those this winter, so a few flakes will mean little unless it makes a kicker slip on a game-winning field goal. And no, that is not a prediction.

But as far as predictions go, having worked alongside Skip Bayless years ago at ESPN, this author can safely say that anything that comes out of that man’s mouth is designed to do one thing and only thing only: Stir controversy. He is irrelevant and pompous and bombastic to a fault, and whatever he says should be disregarded as blather. Other than that, he is fine.

Is This One All About the Quarterbacks?

That would stand to reason, since Josh Allen and Joe Burrow were among the top seven in the league in terms of yardage, with Burrow’s 4,475 besting Allen’s 4,283. Burrow ranked fifth and Allen ranked seventh. In terms of TD passes, both had 35, second only to Patrick Mahomes’ 41.

Running backs Devin Singletary and Joe Mixon ranked 26th and 27th in the NFL in rushing, so no, the ground-and-pound game does not look likely, especially with only a light breeze of 5 to 10 mph blowing. The Bills scored 455 points in the regular season and the Bengals had 418, and the Bills are coming off a 34-31 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Wild Card weekend in which Allen threw for 354 yards, a number he surpassed only twice during the regular season.

Burrow threw for just 209 yards last week against the Ravens in a game that was won on a 98-yard fumble return by defensive lineman Sam Hubbard, who was left sucking oxygen after the thrilling play.

And because you are wondering, Hubbard is not on the board at any of New York’s nine licensed sportsbooks to be an anytime touchdown scorer. In other words, if lightning strikes twice, it will not be providing a 99-1 payoff. The Bengals defense is on the board at +3300 at BetMGM, and Burrow is at +2500 to score a TD, something he did on a third-quarter quarterback sneak last week against Baltimore. He also had five rushing touchdowns during the regular season, so that one is certainly worth consideration.

What Player Props And Specials Make Sense?

Burrow’s passing yardage total of 209 yards against the Ravens was his third-lowest of the season, and he will be facing a Bills pass defense that surrendered an average of 214.6 yards, which ranked 16th in the NFL. The Bills’ points allowed average of 17.9 was second in the NFL behind San Francisco’s 16.3, so let’s just say Buffalo’s defense does not always get its due. Burrow is -115 on an over/under passing yardage total of 282.5.

The over/under on this one is 48 1/2, and DraftKings is seeing an inordinately high percentage of bets come in on the over: 80% of bets and 75 % of handle. And with gambling newly legalized in Ohio, we must assume that those wagers are coming in equally from the Empire State and the Buckeye State. Both of these teams have gone over in only 7 of 17 games, but Buffalo has gone over in four straight; Cincinnati in two straight. The Bills are 8-8-1 against the spread; the Bengals are 12-5-0, second only to the New York Giants (14-4-0).

Look, the thing to look for here is Allen throwing to Stefon Diggs as much as humanly possible. Diggs was fifth in the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards, and tied for third with 11 TD catches. A three-way parlay of Diggs anytime TD scorer, Allen to throw at least one TD pass, and Bills moneyline, which pays +200 at WynnBet, one of the few places you can find that particular parlay.

Here are the best offers at the nine New York sportsbooks.

  • DraftKings: Up to 100 percent profit boost on any NFL Divisional playoff game. Be sure to opt in.
  • FanDuel: No sweat same game parlay, meaning a losing bet up to $10 will be refunded with $10 in free bets.
  • BetMGM: No specials.
  • PointsBet: No specials.
  • WynnBet: Opt-in available for March Madness watch party at Wynn Las Vegas.
  • Caesars: Same-game parlay opt-in to win signed Bills merchandise. Fine print here.
  • BetRivers: Make a 4-leg parlay and win only 3 legs, and get refund. Max refund $25.
  • ResortsWorld: Wager $50 or more on a spread bet and get $3 in free bets for every TD your team scores.
  • BallyBet: No specials. And still no Super Bowl futures.