The struggling Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) host the Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) on Sunday in an AFC North showdown. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on November 25th at Paul Brown Stadium and the game will be broadcast on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Bengals listed as 3-point home favorites. That line has yet to move at all after early betting, as Cincinnati is currently available at -3. The total for this matchup is 47.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 12 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Bengals vs Browns Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Cleveland improved to 3-6-1 on the season in Week 10 after an impressive 28-16 victory at home over Atlanta. The Browns played extremely well on both sides of the ball, although the big story heading into their bye week was the play of RB Nick Chubb. Chubb turned in a fantastic performance against the Falcons, rushing for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He has now rushed for at least 80 yards in three out of his last four games to lead the way on the ground for Cleveland. QB Baker Mayfield seems to be settling in nicely since the departure of Hugh Jackson, passing for 216 yards and three touchdowns his last time out. He has racked up five touchdowns in his last two games and is just 16 yards shy of the 2,000 mark. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 21.8 points per game (20th overall) on 355.4 total yards.
The Browns have certainly had their share of struggles on defense this year, giving up an average of 26.3 points per game (25th overall). They have really been exposed through the air, allowing 287.6 passing yards per game (30th overall).
Cincinnati lost their second consecutive game last weekend, falling 24-21 to Baltimore on the road. The Bengals have now lost four out of their last five after a scorching 4-1 start. QB Andy Dalton has really struggled over the past several weeks, throwing for less than 220 yards in three out of his last four starts. He has also struggled a lot with interceptions this season, getting picked off ten times in ten games. There is no doubt that Dalton is really missing the services of A.J. Green, who was forced to miss the last two games with an injured toe. As of Saturday morning, Green is looking doubtful to suit up on Sunday against the Browns. WR Tyler Boyd has done a pretty good job in his absence, although he has been slowed down a bit by opposing defenses since taking over the #1 receiver spot. RB Joe Mixon has had a good season on the ground, rushing for 584 yards and five touchdowns. Overall, Cincinnati is currently averaging 25.6 points per game (11th overall) on 329.3 total yards of offense.
The Bengals have been atrocious on the other side of the ball through ten games, giving up a ridiculous 31.2 points per game (31st overall). They have been especially bad against the run, getting torched for 153.6 yards per game on the ground (32nd overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Cleveland +3
I was leaning a bit towards Cincinnati in this particular matchup until it became apparent that A.J. Green likely isn’t going to be able to play on Sunday afternoon. The Bengals offense is clearly lost without him, as they don’t have enough receiving depth after Tyler Boyd. It certainly hasn’t helped that Tyler Eifert is lost for the season as well. Cleveland should be well rested and have a ton of confidence after their bye week following a statement win at home over Atlanta. Nick Chubb has really kicked it into another gear and now gets to face the NFL’s worst run defense here in Week 13.
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The Browns are a solid 4-1 ATS over their last five meetings with an AFC opponent. They are also 6-4 ATS so far this season, while Cincinnati is just .500 overall. The Bengals are also only 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall, and are clearly trending in the wrong direction.
Andy Dalton is averaging just 182 passing yards per game over his last two starts, so I’m not sure how much he and the rest of the Bengals offense will be able to take advantage of a below-average Cleveland pass defense. He simply doesn’t have enough weapons right now, and that has translated to an offensive output of 21 points or less in four out of Cincinnati’s last five games. I’m taking the free points and rolling with the Browns to cover this small spread on the road.