NFL Picks: Bengals vs. Browns Betting the Spread

Steve Merril -

Friday, September 27, 2013 1:09 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 27, 2013 1:09 PM UTC

Let's have a second look at the intrastate match-up between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Who are the odds favoring and what is the best choice for our sports pick?

This will be the 80th meeting of the two teams from the state of Ohio. The Bengals will play the Browns on Sunday in Cleveland with Cincinnati looking to keep the upper hand on their in-state rival. The Bengals have won seven of the last ten meetings in this series, including three of the last five games played in Cleveland. 

Cincinnati made the playoffs last year for the second consecutive season; it was just the fourth time in 21 seasons. Cincinnati got a lot of recognition because of their highlight reel offense with QB Andy Dalton throwing to WR A.J. Green. But overall, the Bengals were ranked in the middle of the pack in the important categories.  

The Bengals are feeling good off back-to-back post-season appearances, but they are walking a fine line between wins and losses. Cincinnati comes into this game with a fortunate 2-1 record after last week’s lucky win over the Packers. Green Bay went for a game-sealing fourth down but they fumbled and Cincinnati returned it 58 yards for the winning touchdown. 

Cincinnati was out-yarded 399-297 by the Packers, including a 182-82 rushing yardage disadvantage. Green Bay also had a 27-19 first down edge. The two teams combined for 8 turnovers so the game was sloppily played. 

The Bengals are not in a good scheduling spot for this game even though they should be ready for an in-state divisional opponent. Prior to last week’s win over Green Bay, the Bengals hosted divisional foe Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. The Bengals just beat two name teams and now they must take to the road and face the lowly Browns.

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Cleveland won straight-up last week in Minnesota as 7-point road underdogs for us, and we’ll back the Browns once again this week. Home underdogs coming off a SU road underdog win the previous week is a strong momentum angle. The team has a ton of confidence off their win, and they feel disrespected since they are catching points on their home field. It’s a simple angle and it makes a lot of sense. 

Quarterback Brian Hoyer got the start last week and he ignited the Cleveland offense as they scored 31 points while totaling 409 yards of total offense. The Browns should continue their forward progression as offensive coordinator Norv Turner can call plays with the best of them. Hoyer proved to be the better QB right now for this offense, and we do not expect regression from the Cleveland offense. 

Cincinnati needs to throw the football to have offensive success. But the Browns’ defense has played outstanding this year. Cleveland is holding opponents to just 300 yards of total offense per game which is 6th best in the NFL. The Browns are #2 in the league in holding their opponents to just 4.2 yards per play. Cleveland ranks #6 in allowing only 5.7 yards per pass attempt. The Bengals are going to have a hard time moving the ball, especially since they are off an emotional game last week.

The Bengals are 2-2 SU in Cleveland over the last four seasons, however they are just 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS when laying points. Their lone win as a favorite came by just 3 points. 

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The current point-spread on this game has Cincinnati as a 4-point favorite with a total of 42 to 42.5 at various sportsbooks.

The Dawg Pound has been barking recently as the Browns are 6-3 ATS as home underdogs over the last two seasons. Cleveland holds the defensive edge in this game, and they also own the scheduling advantage. The Browns lost their home opener to the Dolphins as 2.5-point favorites but now they are catching more than a field goal in a good situational spot against their rival. We’ll back the Browns once again this week with our NFL picks, especially since they are catching points against a team off back-to-back high profile wins. Take the points with Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.

Free NFL Picks: Play BROWNS (+).

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