Motivation will be a key factor on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns host their in-state rival Cincinnati Bengals. Cleveland’s odds of making the postseason took a major hit last week with a 20-13 loss last week against the Steelers despite jumping out to an early 10-0 lead. The Browns are now two games back of Pittsburgh for the final wild-card spot in the AFC. The Bengals are coming off their first victory of the season with a 22-6 win over the Jets. Andy Dalton made his return to the starting lineup and threw for 243 yards with a touchdown.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to play despite a hand injury that happened when he smashed it on a facemask of a Steelers defender last week. Mayfield was limited in practice and said he’d like to play without wearing a glove as he did in the second half on Sunday. The Bengals will be getting back wide receiver John Ross who has missed the last eight games with a shoulder injury.
ESPN’s FPI gives the Browns a 77.3% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Sunday’s AFC North matchup between the Bengals and Browns.
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Bengals vs. Browns Game Details
Date: Sunday, December 9
Time: 1:00 pm
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio)
Spread: Browns -7
This line opened at Browns -10.5 and has been bet all the way down to Browns -7 with the majority of the bets and money on the Bengals. The line is correlated with the action and is moving with the market.
- Bengals are 1-11 SU and 5-7 ATS this season
- Browns are 5-7 SU and 4-7 ATS this season
- Under is 9-3 in Bengals games this season
- Under is 7-5 in Browns games this season
Analysis & Picks
This feels like a prime letdown spot for the Bengals. Fresh off their first win of the season, I expect Cincinnati to revert back into their early season form as they now have to go on the road against a desperate Browns team fighting for their playoff lives. Cleveland’s offense should get a boost from the return of tight end David Njoku, who is expected to be activated and play for the first time since Week 2. As long as Baker’s hand injury is under control and there aren’t any lingering issues, I expect the Browns to be able to move the ball by attacking the outside of the Bengals defense. Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry should have solid games and both should be played on their anytime touchdown prop. Swallow the points and take the Browns.
PICK: Browns -7 (-110)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith