Cleveland Browns (5-3 SU, 4-2-2 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1 SU, 4-3-1 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date and Time: Thursday, November 6, 8:25pm EST
Where: Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, OH
TV: NFL Network
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLE +6/CIN -6
Over/Under Total: 45
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This Thursday night on the NFL Network, we get to see not just an inner-state rival, but also an AFC North battle when the Cleveland Browns travel to Cincy to take on the first place Bengals. Cincinnati sits atop the AFC North with a 5-2-1 record, while the Browns are not too far back at 5-3 overall. This game could shift the division in a major way and both teams will come out focused and ready.
The line in the game opens with the Bengals as the six point home favorite while the total points are set at 45. Coming into week 10, Cincinnati is 4-2-2 against the spread while the Browns come in at 4-3-1. These two teams have very similar records both overall and against the spread. Before the season started, no one would think these teams wouls be so close in the standings, but here we are….and there is another half of the season to go. Things could get very interesting.
Before the 2014 season kicked off, I had a lot of faith in the Bengals. I thought this team had a legit shot to win the AFC North and make a serious push for the AFC title. Now, do not get me wrong, I still think they are a good team, but I am losing a little faith each time I see them play on the road. They have been blown out their last two games away from Paul Brown Stadium, but that has no bearing on this game. They are home. In the confines of Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals are 4-0 and have played well there for the last few seasons. Not only do they play great at home, they finally have AJ Green back, who is Andy Dalton’s primary target. Having Green back on the field should allow the offense to get clicking again. While Dalton, Green, and Sanu do a great job working together to have a good passing game, it is the rushing attack that has carried the Bengals so far in 2014. Ranked 9th in the NFL, Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill are averaging about 120 yards a game. The key to this contest is just that; control the ball and play mistake free football. Cincinnati is the better team, and as long as they do not hand the Browns any easy scores, I think they could not only win this game, but cover the spread with ease.
Something has the Cleveland Browns playing pretty good football so far in 2014. No, it has nothing to do with Johnny Manziel either. Brian Hoyer has proven that he is the man in Cleveland and has led them to a 5-3 start to the first half of this season. The Browns already have wins over the Saints, Steelers, and Titans this season. As for the Steelers, Cleveland is 1-1 against them but was just seconds away from being 2-0 after blowing a huge lead in week one. This Cleveland team is no Super Bowl contender, but they are pretty good. Statistically, they are not great, but they get the job done. The one weakness on this team is the rushing defense, allowing over 135 yards a game and ranked 30th in the NFL. In order to win this game, or at least make it close, the Browns need to buckle down and make the Bengals throw on long 3rd downs. If Cincy is ripping off 4 yards a carry, this could be a very long day for Cleveland.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This game is tough. A six point spread for a division game with two teams with winning records…ouch. Which side to take on this one is a toss up. Lets look at some stats and trends and see what we can come up with here. First off, the Bengals are 8-1 in their last 9 home games against the spread versus division opponents. Since 2013, Cincinnati is 11-2 at home straight up. If you continue to check trends in this game, they all seem to be pretty one sided in favor of the Bengals, the only trend that leans in favor of the Browns is the fact that they are 2-1 against the Bengals in the last three games head to head. I hate doing this, I really do, even with all the trends in favor of Cincy, I feel like I want to pick Cleveland, but I am not. I am going with the home team who has been hot for two years now on home turf. PICK THE CINCINNATI BENGALS -6 AND OVER THE POSTED TOTAL OF 45