Bengals vs. Browns prediction: Take the underdog


After a slow start to the season, the Bengals have caught fire and look like the team that made a Super Bowl run last year following a win over the Chiefs last Sunday. Now, Cincinnati is laying 5.5 points at home to the Browns.

This number feels like a slight overreaction to last week. There are a couple of reasons why I believe taking the points with Cleveland makes sense here.

First, this will be Deshaun Watson’s second game back from suspension. Last week against his old team, the Texans, Watson was rusty, completing just 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards and an interception. I expect Watson to be better in his second game, facing a Bengals defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against both the run and pass.

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The other thing to remember is the Browns have dominated this series recently. Cleveland has won five straight over Cincinnati by an average margin of 11.4 points.

A big reason for the Browns’ domination is their defensive front matches up well against Cincinnati’s offensive line. In its 32-13 win earlier this year, Cleveland’s defense harassed Joe Burrow all game long, finishing with five sacks.

Betting on the NFL?

Lastly, Cleveland has played a lot of close games this season. Four of the Browns’ seven losses have been by three points or less. I expect another close game here, so I’ll go against the overvalued Bengals and take the points with Cleveland.

The play: Browns +5.5

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