The Cleveland Browns (6-7-1) host the Cincinnati Bengals (6-8) this Sunday in a late-season AFC North battle between two sub .500 teams. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 23rd at FirstEnergy Stadium and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Browns listed as 7-point home favorites. That line has yet to change after early betting, as Cleveland is currently available at -7. The total for this matchup is 45 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 16 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Browns vs Bengals Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Cincinnati finally ended their five game losing streak last weekend, beating Oakland 30-16 at home to improve to 6-8 overall. The Bengals had a fantastic game on offense despite missing three of their biggest offensive weapons, as Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are both down for the season while WR Tyler Boyd was also forced to leave the game after catching four passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. The star of the game was clearly RB Joe Mixon, who racked up 129 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. QB Jeff Driskel continued to have a tough time in replacement of Dalton, throwing for only 130 yards and one touchdown. As a whole, Cincinnati is currently averaging 24.1 points per game (14th overall) on 326.2 yards of total offense.
The Bengals have been dreadful on the other side of the ball through their first fourteen games, allowing opponents to score a troubling 29.5 points per game (31st overall) on 413.0 yards of total offense. They have been brutal against both the pass and the run, as they are currently 29th overall in both categories.
Cleveland has now won four out of their last five games after a very impressive 17-16 victory on the road against Denver last weekend. The Browns trailed 13-10 heading in the 4th quarter but managed a way to come away with the win after WR Antonio Callaway caught a two yard pass from Baker Mayfield in the end zone with less than 12 minutes remaining. Mayfield had an up and down game, completing just over 50% of his passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. RB Nick Chubb had a big game on the ground, rushing for 100 yards on 20 carries. Five different players chipped in with over 30 yards in the receiving game, as Callaway, Landry, Perriman, Higgins, and Njoku combined for over 150 yards. Overall, Cleveland is currently averaging 22.1 points per game (16th overall) on 355.8 yards of total offense.
The Browns hasn’t been all that great defensively for most of the regular season, as they are currently giving up an average of 24.9 points per game (22nd overall) on 401.1 total yards of offense. They have really had a hard time defending against the pass, allowing 275.1 yards per game through the air (30th overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Cleveland -7
I think that Cleveland offers pretty decent value in this particular spot, as the Bengals have been free-falling since the start of November. The offense is going to be without their starting quarterback and both of their top two wide receivers on Sunday, as Tyler Boyd and A.J. Green have already been ruled out. The Browns have really been playing well as of late, going 4-1 in their last five games. One of those victories was also on the road in Cincinnati, where they won by 2+ touchdowns back in Week 12.
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The favorite has really performed well against the spread when these two teams have met over the last several seasons, going a perfect perfect 7-0 ATS. Cleveland is also a rock solid 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games. Cincinnati is just 3-6 ATS over their last nine games overall. They are also only 3-5 ATS in their last eight road games.
Without three of their top offensive playmakers in the lineup here in Week 16, the Bengals are going to be in tough on Sunday afternoon. Joe Mixon certainly can’t carry the entire load on offense by himself, so I don’t see how Cincinnati will be able to stay within double-digits of Cleveland – especially on the road. I’m happy to lay the seven points and roll with the home favorite. Give me the Browns.