Thursday Night Football brings a battle for bragging rights in the state of Ohio. The Bengals will play host to the Browns as the NFL betting favorites. Which way are we leaning with our sports picks?
For the most part, the Bengals are favored by six points at the top sportsbooks against the Browns, but some sites already have a line of six-and-a-half and even seven here and there.
We see a relatively low total of 44 points on the board, and that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It's always a feisty affair when these rivals meet up, and it should be no different on Thursday.
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Bengals were undefeated and all looked well. They then went winless over their next three games, getting blown out by the Patriots and Colts and then having to settle for a tie against Carolina.
However, Cincinnati has gotten back on track by winning consecutive games in Weeks 8 and 9 against Baltimore and Jacksonville, with both victories coming at home.
It was an up-and-down game against the Jaguars this past weekend. It looked like the Bengals would pull away for good after going up 19-3, but Jacksonville came back to make things interesting, roaring their way back to make it 26-23 in the third quarter. Cincinnati got an insurance touchdown from Jeremy Hill, who ran 60 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Hill filled in for the injured Giovani Bernard and did a great job. He totaled 24 carries for 154 yards and two scores and added one catch for nine yards. QB Andy Dalton had 233 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, with Mohamed Sanu recording 95 yards and a score and newly-returned A.J. Green going for 44 yards and a touchdown too.
It hasn't seemed like Cincinnati has much trouble offensively this season -- the main issues appear to be on the other side of the ball. While the Bengals are #9 in rushing yards per game and #15 in passing yards per game, they're second-to-last in defending the run (139.6 yards per game) and are #21 against the pass.
How many of you pegged the Browns to start out with a 5-3 record through their first eight games?
Well here we stand. Cleveland has been playing good football, but it should be noted that they've had a reasonably easy schedule, especially in recent weeks. Three of their five wins have come over Tennessee, Oakland and Tampa Bay, so needless to say we're interested to see if they can keep it going against better competition with the Cincinnati Bengals.
In Week 9, the Browns held on to beat the Buccaneers 22-17 at home. Taylor Gabriel's 34-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference maker.
In all, Brian Hoyer had 300 passing yards with a couple touchdown throws and two picks as well. Terrance West got a majority of the work out of the backfield, but only had 48 yards on 15 carries, while Gabriel led the way with 87 yards and a touchdown in the win.
Despite Cleveland's strong start, there are still concerns. The Browns have been terrible against the run, much like the Bengals, and they haven't been much at stopping the pass either, ranking #18 in the NFL in that regard. That's not a good sign heading into a battle against one of the best QB/WR combos in the league.
We've been impressed by the Browns many times this season, but they are still prone to letdowns, and we're just not sold on that offense keeping up with Dalton, Green and the Bengals on Thursday night. Neither are those who plan the NFL odds.
Coming in, Cleveland has lost two of three on the road, with their one win coming by a single point over the Titans. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has yet to lose at home, recording four wins and a tie in their first five games inside Paul Brown Stadium this season.
With that being said, we have a feeling the Bengals will be able to stamp out a win and beat the visiting Browns by at least a touchdown in the process. Take Cincinnati as the NFL betting chalk with your Week 10 NFL picks.
Free NFL Pick: Bengals -6 at BookMaker