NFL Football Preview: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

NFL Football Preview:  Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

The NFL ‘Battle of Ohio’ takes place on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are 2-1 on the season, having recovered from a blown lead in their opening game against the Chicago Bears to win their next two contests. The Browns are 1-2, winning against the Minnesota Vikings last week after opening their season with two straight losses. Cleveland seemed to respond to the fan rancor after the team traded away running back Trent Richardson, playing with a lot of emotion and intensity in their victory over the Vikings.

Few things are more dangerous in NFL betting than playing sides that look ‘too obvious’ and that definitely applies to the Bengals here. They’re simply the more talented team across the board but they have a maddening tendency to ‘play not to lose’ and that’s not good when you’re laying points with them. This ‘play not to lose’ mentality cost them a victory in the opening game against Chicago. Cincinnati also has a big home game against New England on deck. That being said, they’ve been on a great ATS run over the last season or so (9-2-1 ATS run).

Rob Chudzinski gets his first shot at his in-state rivals here and in many ways this game could be more important to Cleveland than Cincinnati. Brian Hoyer will get the start at quarterback once again for the injured Brandon Weeden and Hoyer was very effective against Minnesota last week. That could have a lot to do with the Vikings porous secondary, of course, but for a guy who wasn’t considered much of a downfield passing threat he looked good. To be honest, Cincinnati’s secondary isn’t anything special and Hoyer could be effective here. Hoyer did throw 3 interceptions last week which is typical of a young quarterback trying to do ‘too much’. Given the Browns’ current state doing ‘too much’ may not be a bad thing. Cincinnati has failed to cover the last three matchups in this series. Laying points on the road is seldom a good idea in the NFL and we’d rather be taking points with a hard trying Browns team.