Cincinnati Bengals (-178) vs. Cleveland Browns (+150) Total: 45.5 (O -108, U -112)
It’s always fun when AFC North teams face off. The spotlight will be on these clubs, with the Bengals owning a 4-3 record and the Browns sitting at 2-5. It was a slow start to the season for the Bengals after winning the AFC last year, while the Browns have struggled to find consistency in their passing game.
The Browns and Bengals have opposite offensive strengths. Cincinnati has had a lot of success passing the football under Joe Burrow, while the Browns have found more success running the ball with Nick Chubb. Still, the Bengals will be missing one of Burrow’s top targets, Ja’Marr Chase, for the foreseeable future, so the rest of their wide receiving corps will need to step up. They have the receiving corps depth but losing one of football’s most explosive receivers will make things more difficult.
Cincinnati’s offense has combined to score 65 points over the last two games, which isn’t good news for the Browns. Cleveland has some defensive strengths but has allowed between 23 and 38 points in each of their past three matchups. It’s easy to see Burrow finding a way to exploit their defense tonight, even without Chase on the field. The Browns have a solid pass rush, which could be an issue for Burrow and his offensive line, but there’s been a higher standard to their play of late.
The Bengals sit as 3.5-point road favorites, a number that’s difficult to pass up against a struggling Browns squad. The moneyline price of -178 is acceptable, but the spread has more value.
Best Bet: Bengals -3.5 (-104)
Cincinnati has been tough to stop on offense, and it’s hard to see that changing in this matchup. Cleveland’s secondary isn’t scary, and if the Browns can’t force a lot of pressure on Burrow, he could have a hard time burning their defense for 30-plus points again. Even with the Bengals’ offense being the biggest storyline, the Browns should also contribute some offense on the ground. Cleveland operates through their ground game, which should continue tonight. The Bengals should find a way to win this game by more than a field goal, but the Browns should still see some offensive success, at least enough to go over the total of 45.5.
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