A post-season drought for the Cleveland Browns will more than likely continue after a crushing defeat to Pittsburgh last week. However, their focus has shifted to taking things one game at a time – and they begin their final 4 game stretch against inner-state and division rival – the Cincinnati Bengals.
Cincinnati (1-11) vs Cleveland (5-7)
Dec. 8, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET – FirstEnergy Stadium: Cleveland, OH
The Bengals were the last team this season to record a win after beating the Jets 22-6 in Week 13. It was the first time in more than five games that the Bengals were able to score more than 17 points. The team benched Andy Dalton mid-season, only to bring him back last week. Dalton put up 243 passing yards, one TD and no picks in his return to the field. With the one touchdown, Dalton put up 198th of his career and broke the record for most TD passes by a QB in franchise history.
The Browns had their three-game winning streak ended last week at the hands of the Pittsburgh steelers in a 20-13 setback. They will need to win out and get some help from other teams to be able to grab the last AFC wild card spot. There was plenty of emotion for the Browns last week as they went into Pittsburgh. However, the emotion didn’t convert into effort or execution. The Browns schedule has them taking on 3 teams in their last 4 games with records below .500, along with a date with the NFL’s best the Baltimore Ravens.
Baker Mayfield suffered a hand injury last week, but is expected to play on Sunday. Any loss from here on out for the Browns will be crushing for their hopes of a winning season, and to their fans who had giant expectations for this team coming into the season.
Trends Worth Tracking
ATS as FAVS: 3-4-1
ATS @ Home: 2-3-1
ATS on ROAD: 4-2
ATS as DOG: 5-4-1
Road Dogs ATS: 70-47-4, +15.97u
Road Teams ATS: 106-82-4, +14.46u
Dogs ATS: 105-83-4, +12.55u
Road Dogs ML: 45-77, +5.01u
Dogs ML: 69-123-1, +3.46
Road Teams ML: 88-102-1, +2.18u
TeamRankings.com has the Cleveland Browns rated as the #16 team in the NFL, and has the Bengals as rated #29. The difference between these two teams according to the rankings website is 7.5 points, this is a rating that I do agree with.
As far as defensive rating goes, the Browns are rated as the #18 defense in the league according to my numbers, and the Bengals are rated #24. The Browns give up on average 22.6 points per game and 337.2 yards per game, with a defensive efficiency rating of 26.5%. The Bengals give up 24.8 points per game and 405 yards per game on average, giving them an efficiency rating of 24.1%.
Based on my defensive power ratings, I have the Browns as only being about 5points better than the Bengals. I think the Bengals may have a shot here, with nothing left to lose – and with Cleveland having everything to lose, in front of their weary home fans – it could be a recipe for disaster for the Brownies.
This line opened at Cleveland -8 on the look ahead, but some money has come back on the Bengals – more than likely due to the injury news concerning Browns QB Baker Mayfield. However, Mayfield is expected to play this weekend. As far as the total goes, this one opened at 42.5 and has since taken money on the under moving it to 41.5. I still think that may be too many points for this game to go over. A divisional match up, with the slightest bit of playoff implications, sprinkle in the fact that these two teams are inner-state rivals – I think the under is a good look here. Give me the under and the Bengals in this one.
Al Mac’s Best Bets:
2.2% – CLE/CINC u41.5 (-105) via Pinnacle
Score Prediction: Cleveland Wins: 21-15
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