The Lede: Pacman Suspended for Week 1

By Navin75 (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Adam “Pacman” Jones Suspended for Season-Opener

After being arrested back in January for allegedly assaulting a security guard at a hotel in downtown Cincinnati, Adam “don’t call me Pacman” Jones has been suspended by the NFL for the 2017 season-opener. The suspension comes as no surprise, considering Jones was sentenced to two days in jail and his record is about as clean as a toilet bowl on enchilada night.

Last season, the Bengals ranked 11th against the pass, but that gives them a little too much credit. Cincinnati’s run defense was very weak, so teams often opted to take the easy yards on the ground. A more accurate measure is their DVOA against the pass, where they ranked 15th. Pacman is not seen as a shutdown corner, but he has been the Bengals’ most reliable defensive back, and his absence will surely be felt. Darqueze Dennard will likely slide into the starting lineup, opposite Dre Kirkpatrick, with Josh Shaw taking on the nickel duties.

In Week 1, the Bengals are set to host the Baltimore Ravens. No team put the ball in the air more than the Ravens in 2016. While they weren’t very efficient doing so, ranking 26th in passing offense DVOA, they added former Pro Bowl receiver Jeremy Maclin to aid their aerial attack.

The spread currently sits at Cincinnati -2.5, and I don’t expect you’ll see much movement (if any at all) as a result of Jones’ suspension. Of course, the 33-year-old has the option to appeal the suspension. However, bettors should not rely on Jones being in the lineup. Of all the games Jones could have been suspended for, this isn’t a terrible one.

The trends largely support the Bengals in this matchup. Cincinnati has won seven of their last eight games at home against Baltimore, which includes five-straight, and all victories have come by at least three points. They have also won six of their last seven overall against the Ravens.

If I had to bet on this game today, I’d still side with the Bengals. But I never recommend wagering on Week 1 in July. Sit back and enjoy the preseason before making any judgments.