Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Betting Odds, Preview and Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

Fighting for its first win and for the job of head coach Pat Shurmur, the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in Week 6 NFL action.

The Browns opened as a one-point home underdog, but betting on Cincy has moved the number to a PK as of Thursday, according to the college football odds menu at OddsShark.com.

"The Bengals have won seven of eight against Cleveland and the Browns have lost 14 straight as an underdog," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com. "But those streaks are both straight-up, not ATS, where the Browns have been 5-1-1 in seven recent divisional games."

One scores prediction engine has Cincinnati winning 24-17.

The importance of the return of Joe Haden to this Cleveland Browns' defense cannot be overstated. An elite cover corner, Haden makes Cleveland a much more dangerous team defensively.

If Cleveland can get to 27 points like it did in its last game against the Bengals and last week against the Giants, that could actually be enough for a win this time. Cleveland is 0-5 SU and 2-2-1 ATS this season.

That might save Shurmur, who was the second choice in odds posted Thursday on which NFL coach would get fired first. Buffalo's Chan Gailey topped the list.

Last week’s loss at home to the Miami Dolphins was a momentum killer for Cincinnati. Now 3-2 SU and 2-2-1 ATS, people are left wondering if the Bengals can build on last season and make the playoffs again, or if they’ve just been the beneficiaries of a soft schedule to this point with wins over Cleveland, Washington and Jacksonville.

The offense has looked solid, averaging 25 points per game led by Andy Dalton and AJ Green continuing to connect for big plays.

The key to this game will be the matchup between Joe Haden and AJ Green. Miami’s Sean Smith did a good job containing Green last week, and as a result the Bengals' offense struggled and Cincinnati lost.

Four of the last five games between these two in-state AFC North rivals have been decided by a touchdown or less, and this one isn’t likely to be any different.

Cleveland is due for a win. The Browns have been fighting hard over their 11-game losing streak, losing seven of those games by a touchdown or less and going 7-3-1 ATS over that stretch.

At home, against a division rival, trying to become the last team in the NFL to pick up a win, look for the Browns to dig deep and still not find a way to pull it off.

PICK: Cincinnati PK (courtesy of PickShark.com)

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