Browns vs Bengals : The Steelers and Ravens get the headlines for dominating the Browns. The Bengals, however, have been the AFC North team that has most owned this team since the last time they were competitive.
Since the Browns beat the Bengals, 24-3, on Nov. 6, 2014, it has been all Cincinnati in this matchup. The Bengals have won seven consecutive games, averaging 30.4 points. The Browns have averaged just 9.4 points in that span, have cracked double digits just four times and scored more than 10 points just twice.
Their closest game in that span was a 23-10 loss and the Bengals jumped out to a 20-0 lead before halftime. The closest the Browns came to winning was probably last season in Cincinnati when the Browns managed to pull within a score with 6:57 left in the fourth.
This is not the same Browns, though, and it’s not the same Bengals. Cincinnati is a team headed in the wrong direction, having lost four out of five, and their defense is a mess. The Browns are coming off of a bye preceded by a win against Atlanta. New offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has shown the ability to use the Browns’ weapons to exploit opposing defenses.
The Browns get the Bengals twice over their last six games. They’ll change their fortunes against Cincinnati this week.
Sharp bettors took a big bite out of an otherwise low-profile NFL game, and that seems to be just fine with some oddsmakers. Covers checks in on that matchup and three others on the Week 12 Sunday docket, with insights from Eric Osterman, manager at The SuperBook at Westgate in Las Vegas.
It’s well-documented that Cleveland has been much maligned the past couple of years, but the squad is coming off a good win, followed by a bye week. The Browns (3-6-1 SU, 6-4 ATS), who fired coach Hue Jackson last month, dumped Atlanta 28-16 as 5.5-point home underdogs in Week 10, then got to rest in Week 11.
Cincinnati seemed to be firing on all cylinders at 4-1 SU and ATS through five weeks, but it’s been much bumpier sledding since then. The Bengals (5-5 SU and ATS) lost four of their last five, including a 24-21 setback at Baltimore as 6.5-point pups in Week 11.
“This game has actually seen quite a big line move,” Osterman said, noting that on Saturday alone, the number dropped from Bengals -2.5 to pick for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff. “This is one of those classic Pros vs. Joes games. A lot of sharps who have come here love the Browns, and we have large liability on the Bengals from the public. We had a house player lay -3 (-120) on Cincinnati early in the week.
“The need is what we want. We need the Browns pretty big, and that’s fine with us.”
New England has had two weeks to stew over a stunning blowout loss. The Patriots (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) went to Tennessee as 6.5-point road favorites and left with a 34-10 loss, halting a six-game win streak (5-1 ATS).
New York might be just the cure for the Patriots, as Todd Bowles’ squad will be without starting quarterback Sam Darnold (foot). The Jets (3-7 SU and ATS), who will start Josh McCown, have dumped four in a row SU and ATS, including 41-10 drubbing as 7-point ‘dogs at Buffalo in Week 10, before a bye in Week 11.
“As of now, that’s gonna be our biggest decision. We need the Jets to cover,” Osterman said of another 1 p.m. ET start. “Straight bets and parlays are all running to the Patriots. There’s not too much on Patriots moneyline yet, but I’d expect more by kickoff. Moneyline parlays are a favorite of our crowd.”
Carolina was 6-2 SU through eight games, then dropped two in a row on the road. In Week 11, the Panthers (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) fell to Detroit 20-19 laying 4 points.
Seattle is trying to remain at least on the fringe of the NFC playoff picture. The Seahawks (5-5 SU, 5-3-2 ATS) didn’t lead often in the Week 11 Thursday nighter against Green Bay, but were in front when it mattered most, winning 27-24 to push as 3-point home favorites.
“It looks like mostly Seahawks support on this one,” Osterman said, adding sharp play helped tighten the number for this 1 p.m. ET meeting. “Money came in on the Seahawks at +3.5.”
Green Bay is in must-win territory after losing three of its last four games. The Packers (4-5-1 SU and ATS) went off as 3-point underdogs at Seattle in the Week 11 Thursday nighter and led much of the way, but couldn’t finish in a 27-24 defeat.
Minnesota is playing in the Sunday night spotlight for the second straight week, after missing a chance to take over first place in the NFC North last week. The Vikings (5-4-1 SU and ATS) fell short at Chicago 25-20 catching 2.5 points.
“We opened Minnesota -4.5 and quickly moved down,” Osterman said of the 8:20 p.m. ET matchup. “There has been some sharp money on the Packers, even at +3.5. People are pretty down on the Vikings. If they lose, they’re in danger of missing the playoffs, which I don’t think anybody expected after last year. So bettors are coming in on the Packers, and we are gonna need the Vikings.