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The Curse of Bo Jackson haunts Bengals ahead of Raiders game

Updated January 14, 2022 - 12:12 pm

The Curses of the Bambino and Billy Goat have been broken. But some believe the Curse of Bo Jackson continues to haunt the Cincinnati Bengals.

One of the greatest athletes of all time, Jackson was a two-sport star for the then-Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City Royals in 1991, when his football career came to an abrupt end in a 20-10 divisional playoff win over Cincinnati.

The running back suffered a dislocated hip when he was tackled by Bengals linebacker Kevin Walker. Jackson never played another down of football, and his baseball career ended three years later.

That fateful game was the first of eight straight postseason losses for the Bengals, and many Cincinnati fans blame their 31-year stretch of playoff futility on the Curse of Bo Jackson.

The Bengals are consensus 5½-point home favorites over the Raiders to break the curse in their playoff rematch Saturday after the line opened at 6½.

While early sharp action was on Las Vegas, professional sports bettor Erin Rynning likes the Bengals to cover — partly because the Raiders are in a tough situational spot after outlasting the Chargers in a wild 35-32 overtime win Sunday night.

“I certainly give the Raiders credit for winning out. They have seemingly been in a must-win situation for the last month,” said Rynning (@Ersports1). “But the culmination of their epic Sunday night win clashing with the short turnaround in playing the early game in Cincinnati will prove an emotional toll.

“With wins against (quarterbacks) Nick Mullens, Drew Lock and Carson Wentz down the stretch, that’s hardly comparable to the red-hot Joe Burrow and his dynamic receiving corps.”

Sharp plays

There have been several other sharp plays on super wild-card weekend.

In Saturday’s second game, Circa Sports and the Westgate SuperBook took sharp bets on the Patriots +4½ over the Bills before the line settled at 4.

“I don’t really understand that move,” Circa oddsmaker Chris Bennett said. “I don’t expect Mac Jones to go in there and lead the Patriots’ offense to a playoff win.”

Both books also took sharp action on over the total, which is at 44 after opening at 43½ and climbing to 44½.

“The total was moved up by wiseguys,” SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “The weather is supposed to be in single digits, but no wind and no snow.”

In Sunday’s games, Salmons said the SuperBook took sharp money on the Cowboys -3 over the 49ers “from a respected group.” Circa took sharp bets on both sides: on Dallas -3 (even) and on the Niners +3 (-110).

“We took bets from opposing sharps, and we respect both of them,” Bennett said. “That’s what you like to see, and you feel confident in your number as a result.”

The total on the 49ers-Cowboys game has been bet from 48½ to 51, and the total on the Eagles-Buccaneers has gone from 48½ to 46.

“The forecast is for wind in Tampa,” Bennett said. “That’s not a location that gets really windy, but if it’s over 15 mph, that’s kind of my threshold. That matters.”

Best bets

SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay won the Review-Journal NFL Challenge for the second time in three years and third time overall with a 51-37-2 ATS record.

His best bet this weekend is the Cowboys.

“The 49ers and Rams game (Sunday) was one of the most physical games I’ve seen all year,” he said. “San Francisco is in a tough spot going to Dallas following last week. I’m leaning toward the Cowboys at -3.”

Tony Gordon, using the alias DURBIFY, won the Circa Million III contest with a 63-27 ATS record (70 percent). The Atascedero, California, resident said he also is leaning toward Dallas.

“I do think that there is a little too much 49ers love,” he said. “Let me put it that way.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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