Cincinnati starting quarterback Joe Burrow suffered what’s being called a calf strain during Bengals training camp last week. Nothing more has really been said about the injury other than Cincy’s starter will miss several weeks. Cincinnati’s first game of the season isn’t until Sept. 10 when they play AFC North and in-state rival Cleveland.
So, how does Burrow’s injury impact Cincinnati and associated betting markets?
Understanding the Injury
The so-called “calf strain” is a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries are typically graded as mild, moderate, or severe. A mild strain is a Grade 1 injury. Moderate strains are Grade 2 and severe strains are classified as Grade 3.
Neither the Bengals’ athletic training staff nor the team’s coaching staff have classified Burrow’s injury. Therefore, we have to infer from what Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has said about his starting quarterback. Taylor said that it will be several weeks before Burrow returns.
He said he will return, but it will take some time. That indicates that it is probably a Grade 2, or moderate strain. Cincy WR Ja’Marr Chase said that Burrow has been using a scooter to get around. That also indicates that it’s more than a mild strain. Using the scooter means that Burrow is not supposed to put weight on the injured calf. Walking and engaging the calf could make the injury worse.
Now, anyone wondering about how Burrow’s injury affects the Bengals or his preparation in training camp can simply point to the past. Missing the preseason and not playing in a preseason game is nothing new for Burrow.
Remember, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the entire preseason during Burrow’s rookie year in 2020. The following year, 2021, Burrow was recovering from a knee injury suffered late in his rookie season. In the 2021 preseason, Burrow took three snaps in a game. That’s it.
Last year, the Bengals quarterback was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. He ended up throwing just one pass in a preseason game last year. It was dropped by Chase, by the way. Regardless, missing any part of the preseason is nothing new for Burrow and the Bengals.
When Burrow was carted off the field last week, sportsbooks immediately took down everything related to the Bengals in the futures markets. There was uncertainty surrounding the injury and sportsbooks were not taking any chances. With the quarterback having the single greatest impact on the outcome of a team’s season, sportsbooks decided to play it safe until they had more information.
Once it was announced as a calf strain, sportsbooks began reposting the Bengals’ futures odds. Burrow was listed at +750 to win the NFL MVP before the injury and remains right in that ballpark at most sportsbooks after the injury. The same is true of the Bengals’ Super Bowl odds. Defending champion Kansas City is still the overall favorite at +600. The Eagles (+650) and Bills (+900) are the only other teams given better than +1000 odds.
San Francisco (+1000) is next on the board and right behind them is the Cincinnati Bengals (+1100) whose odds remain unaffected by Burrow’s injury. As long as Burrow can come back healthy, the Bengals should be among the teams battling for this year’s Lombardi Trophy.
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