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Bengals at Browns: Analysis, odds, expert picks and predictions

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Come all ye unfaithful, more like it.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Bengals haven’t played the Browns in Cleveland this late in the regular season since 2008, but that’s exactly what will happen on Sunday. Their playoff hopes freshly ended despite snapping a five-game losing streak last week. Now, they have a chance at revenge against a Browns team that humiliated them on their own turf back in Week 12.

Cleveland has won four of their past five games to get to this point. They have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL with first-overall pick Baker Mayfield looking like he was worthy of that selection. Despite that, they had the slightest hopes for the playoffs entering this weekend. Those hopes were evaporated with a Titans win on Saturday.

The Bengals, on the other hand, are a banged up mess who appear to be limping towards the finish line. The biggest question at the moment is if Marvin Lewis will still be the head coach after what’s looking like his third-straight losing season. This could lead to a spirited-effort from the players who are able to suit up, as they will likely be playing for their jobs no matter who the coach ends up being next season.

Odds

The Bengals are currently nine-point underdogs against the Browns, according to Bovada. That isn’t entirely surprising considering the Bengals top offensive weapons are either sitting on injured reserve or had trouble getting a full practice in. Tyler Boyd has been declared out for Sunday, and while Joe Mixon and John Ross should play, they may not be 100 percent.

The offense without A.J. Green and Andy Dalton has already been lackluster, without Boyd in the mix now, things shouldn’t get better. Cincinnati luckily has Giovani Bernard behind Mixon in case Mixon needs to take a breather every now and then, but the receivers outside of Ross figure to be Cody Core, Alex Erickson and either Josh Malone or Auden Tate for Jeff Driskel at quarterback. Not ideal.

Betting trends

  • Cincinnati is 3-6 against the spread in its last nine games
  • Cincinnati is 1-5 straight up in its last six games
  • The total has gone over in 5 of Cincinnati’s last seven games
  • Cincinnati is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games on the road
  • Cincinnati is 1-4 straight up in its last five games on the road
  • The total has gone over in five of Cincinnati’s last seven games on the road
  • Cincinnati is 7-1 against the spread in its last eight games when playing Cleveland
  • Cincinnati is 7-1 straight up in its last eight games when playing Cleveland
  • The total has gone under in six of Cincinnati’s last nine games when playing Cleveland
  • Cincinnati is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games when playing on the road against Cleveland
  • Cincinnati is 4-1 straight up in its last five games when playing on the road against Cleveland
  • The total has gone under in five of Cincinnati’s last five games when playing on the road against Cleveland
  • Cleveland is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games
  • Cleveland is 4-1 straight up in its last five games
  • Cleveland is 6-18-1 straight up in its last 25 games
  • The total has gone under in four of Cleveland’s last five games
  • Cleveland is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games at home
  • Cleveland is 8-16 against the spread in its last 24 games at home
  • Cleveland is 4-2 straight up in its last six games at home
  • Cleveland is 5-18-1 straight up in its last 24 games at home
  • The total has gone under in 15 of Cleveland’s last 20 games at home

Expert picks and predictions

  • Fox Sports is predicting a 21.1 to 25.9 loss to the Browns
  • All 10 of ESPN’s experts chose the Browns to defeat the Bengals
  • None of CBS Sports’ seven experts took Cincinnati
  • All six SB Nation experts took Cleveland to defend their home field
  • NFL Pick Watch, which takes into account picks from across the web, has Cincinnati receiving eight percent of the picks

This is pretty shocking even given the amount of injuries the Bengals have. The Browns have a lot more to lose in this game, and this matchup breeds notoriously close games more times than not. This Bengals team is also likely playing to keep Lewis from getting fired at the end of the season, so they have some extra motivation as well.

It is pretty surprising that more experts aren’t taking an upset flyer on Cincinnati, but it isn’t surprising in the slightest that they are the clear underdog.