This AFC North clash features a free-falling Browns team as they visit their undefeated neighbors to the south. Let’s review the NFL odds & determine which side makes sense in our NFL picks.
Cleveland Browns (2-6 SU, 3-4-1 ATS)
The Browns cannot stand prosperity so it wasn’t shocking that they let the Arizona Cardinals back into a game in which they held a 20-7 lead at one point. It’s just the same old, same old for those who consider themselves a member in good standing of the Dawg Pound. But for those whose only allegiance is to the almighty gambling dollar and who backed the Brownies in their NFL picks it is a kick right to the old cajones. The final score, if you missed it, was Cardinals 34, Browns 20.
Losing a big lead and ultimately the game was just half the agony for Cleveland. What they really lost was manpower particularly in their secondary. Joe Haden cannot seem to stay healthy and was again concussed, as he has been on two other occasions this season, in the third quarter while trying to make a tackle. Strong safety Donte Whitner also suffered a concussion in that game and neither is expected to be in uniform for Sunday’s game. Keep a close eye on quarterback Josh McCown who was suffering from bruised ribs but will most likely start as opposed to the Browns handing the keys to the car to Johnny Manziel.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-0 SU, 6-0-1 ATS)
The NFL odds makers cannot seem to hang a line high enough that the Bengals can’t cover. They are 6-0-1 ATS this season and did it again last week with a gritty win over their closest rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers. Andy Dalton finished the 16-10 road triumph over Pittsburgh with 231 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
Therefore it wasn’t a stellar day for the Bengals’ signal caller but what was stellar was the play of special teams and defense. The Steelers’ average starting field position was its own 20 yard line while the Bengals averaged first-downs from their own 36. Cincinnati held Big Ben and his arsenal of weapons to just 10 points which bodes well for a team that seems to be doing it on all fronts. The Bengals rank 3rd in points scored (28.3 PPG), 8th in points against (18.9), 7th in passing (278.1 YPG) and 14th in rushing (115.9 RYG).
I’m not exactly sure what I am missing. The NFL odds makers have made the Bengals a 10-point favorite and it seems to me that playing the banged up Browns, who aren’t much to begin with and doing so in front of 65,000 amped up fans who will be salivating at the thought of a Queen City beatdown, is a recipe for a blowout. And not to mention this is a definite “getcha back” game for the Cats as they remember all too well last season where the lowly Browns swept them in the home-and-home series by scores of 24-3 in Cincinnati and 30-0 in Cleveland.
But that was a different time and those were the Bengals of old. These Cincinnati Bengals are different, aren’t they? They are no longer the team that puts out a half-assed effort and plays only when they feel like it. Look, I’m not saying Andy Dalton is Aaron Rodgers but he’s got weapons and he definitely has a defense. Let’s take a look at some statistical reasons why I like the Cats in this one.
- Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last five games
- Cincinnati is 6-0-1 ATS in its last seven games
- Cleveland is 2-11 SU in its last 13 games
- Cleveland is 2-3-1 ATS in its last six games
- Cleveland is 1-6 SU in its last seven games on the road
- Cleveland is 6-15 SU in its last 21 games when playing Cincinnati
NFL Pick: Play the Bengals -10 (-110) at Youwager
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