Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6,
Unbeaten at home, the Cincinnati Bengals look to maintain their
grip on the AFC North Division lead when they host the
Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. Cincinnati got back wide
receiver A.J. Green in its win over Jacksonville last week and
the receiver paid immediate dividends by snaring a touchdown
catch. The Bengals are 13-0-1 at home in a streak that has
spanned three seasons.
Despite a rushing game that has struggled mightily of late, the
Browns have won two straight and four of their last five games
and are in the thick of the division race. Cleveland, however,
will have to break a long skid on road if it wants to climb
into a tie atop the division as it has lost its last 17 AFC
North games on the road. In fact, the last time the Browns won
a division game away from home was in 2008 at Cincinnati.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Most shops opened the Bengals
-6. They have spent some time -6.5, but most books are dealing
-6 again. The total has held at 44.5.
INJURY REPORT: Browns – WR Andrew Hawkins
(Questionable, knee), TE Jordan Cameron (Questionable,
concussion). Bengals – RB Gio Bernard
(Questionable, hip), CB Leon Hall (Questionable, head), LB
Vontaze Burfict (Out indefinitely, knee).
WEATHER: There is a 60 percent chance of rain
with wind blowing across the field at 14 mph. Temperatures will
be in the low-40s.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Browns (+2.75) +
Bengals (-0.75) + home field (-3.0) = Bengals -6.5
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Who would have believed
that Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer would have a higher QB
Rating than Andy Dalton at this stage of the season? He does
and as a result Cleveland is 5-3 at the half way point of the
season. Still, it’s difficult to overlook Cincinnati’s 13-0-1
SU and 12-1-1 ATS mark in its last fourteen regular season home
Expert Marc Lawrence.
CHEERLEADER WAR: The Browns don’t have
cheerleaders so we’ll need to use a random pic here…
ABOUT THE BENGALS (5-2-1 SU, 4-3-1 ATS, 4-4 O/U):
Green caught three passes for 44 yards and had another
touchdown nullified by penalty in his first game in a month
since suffering a toe injury. Running back Giovani Bernard
(ribs, shoulder) is questionable but his replacement, Jeremy
Hill, rushed for 154 yards and a pair of scores last week. It
will be an emotional night for defensive tackle Devon Still,
whose daughter drew headlines with her battle with cancer and
is expected to attend Thursday’s game.
ABOUT THE BROWNS (5-3 SU, 4-2-2 ATS, 4-4 O/U): Lead
back Ben Tate has rushed for just 65 yards in his past three
games, prompting the Browns to re-evaluate its backfield roles.
Terrance West actually had more touches than Tate last week and
scored on a short pass in Cleveland’s narrow win over Tampa
Bay. The Browns have not recovered from the loss of center Alex
Mack to a broken leg, but Brian Hoyer has continued to impress
and threw for 300 yards and two scores against the Bucs.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
* Underdog is 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
* Bengals are 14-3-1 ATS in their last 18 home games.
* Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers
Consensus, 62 percent of bets on this matchup are backing the