The Washington Football Team’s second preseason test of 2021 comes Friday night when it plays host to the Cincinnati Bengals at FedEx Field.
Washington is priced as a strong favorite ahead of the 8 p.m. ET kickoff, as the line ranges from -4.5 to -5, higher than typical preseason lines, as of Wednesday.
Washington (0-1) is coming off a 22-13 loss to the New England Patriots in its preseason opener. The WFT was a slight underdog (+1) when that game kicked off.
Cincinnati (1-0) beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14 in its first preseason game despite being a 6-point underdog at game time.
The under cashed in both games, but just barely. The total for Washington and New England was 36.5 points. For the Bengals and Tampa Bay, it was 34.5.
Bengals at Washington Betting Numbers
The opening point spread for Friday’s game between Washington and Cincinnati does not reflect the previous week’s results.
At most sportsbooks, Washington opened as a 3.5-point favorite over Cincinnati. That line moved in Washington’s direction Monday when Bengals coach Zac Taylor said starting quarterback Joe Burrow will not play Friday.
As of Wednesday, Washington bettors can find -4.5 at a variety of sportsbooks, including BetMGM and Caesars. BetMGM is dealing -200 on the WFT moneyline, inexpensive compared to most of the market.
Bengals +5 is available at DraftKings and FanDuel for underdog players, with DraftKings offering +190 on the Cincinnati moneyline.
The total ranges between 34.5 and 35.5 around the betting market.
Defenses Stand Out
Washington is expected to have one of the NFL’s top defenses this season, and it started well in the preseason opener against New England, allowing three field goals and nothing else in the first three quarters.
The WFT added some momentum in its first practice following that preseason game with an impressive defensive performance. That bodes well for limiting the Bengals offense Friday night.
The Bengals defense doesn’t have the same hype as Washington’s, but it did have a solid game against Tampa Bay.
Tom Brady played the first series for the Bucs, and the Bengals held him to one first down. The highlight came when rookie defensive lineman Joseph Ossai sacked Brady to end the drive.
Cincinnati’s strong performance didn’t stop there. The Bengals limited Tampa Bay to 159 total yards, including 29 rushing yards. Rookies accounted for all four of the Bengals’ sacks and nine of their quarterback hits. Those players are likely to get significant playing time Friday against Washington.
Bet To Consider
If the defenses keep it up, the skill of the quarterbacks will be important. In that case, the edge goes to Washington.
As of Tuesday night, there was still a chance presumed starter Ryan Fitzpatrick could play for Washington. Even if he doesn’t, back-up Taylor Heinecke has a leg up on the Bengals’ duo of Kyle Shurmur and Brandon Allen.
Shurmur and Allen were OK against Tampa Bay, but they have poor track records in the league. If Washington’s defense finds another gear against the Bengals’ shuffling offensive line, it could be difficult for the Bengals to find much success when they have the ball.
Washington also could get a boost from quarterback Kyle Allen, who returned to practice on Sunday. A good preseason showing could help Allen win the backup job from Heinecke.
It seems like a good bet that Washington will win this game, but 4.5 points is a lot to give an underdog in a preseason game with such a low total, among the lowest of this week’s games.
As always, try to get the best number you can. The total on this game has trended upward since betting opened, so if you’re on board with the under, be patient and shop around for 35 or 35.5.