Bengals Browns Betting – AFC North Rivals Clash In Cleveland Opening Sunday
For the majority of past decade, the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens had traded places at the top of the AFC North, while the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals have tried helplessly to remain relevant with any sort of consistency. There aren’t high expectations for either of the latter two entering this sports betting season, but at least one will open their regular season schedule with a win as the two kick off against one another at Cleveland Browns Stadium this Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Sunday September 11, 2011 – 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
NFL Betting Lines: Cleveland Browns – 6.5
The Browns are expected to be further along the curve after turning to Colt McCoy fulltime a year ago, something that is reflected in the spread. Cincinnati is looking to follow in their footsteps with rookie Andy Dalton now under center, unless of course Carson Palmer has a drastic change of heart.
NFL Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals
Without Palmer, the Bengals will attempt to build a new identity just two years after reaching the postseason and appearing to break through. Gone are Chad Ocho Cinco and Terrell Owens, and while the former may have been a distraction, Dalton sure could use the latter to help his progression. The second-round pick struggled with consistency in the preseason, but he was better than Bruce Gradkowski and Dan LeFevour, so head coach Marvin Lewis wants to run with him from the beginning. The transition at quarterback will make the running game that much more important, but Cedric Benson and Brian Leonard haven’t played very inspiring ball so far this preseason. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has his hands full after losing one of the top cornerbacks in the game in Jonathon Joseph, although the Browns likely won’t challenge them too much in the passing game.
NFL Betting Preview: Cleveland Browns
While Owens and Ocho Cinco are gone, the Browns’ secondary will still need to shift towards AJ Green, the explosive first round pick that has already made some big plays this preseason. Green is a big target capable of making plays anywhere on the field, and if Cleveland can slow him down their defense should be able to get to Dalton. On offense, the Browns will continue to operate the west coast offense with McCoy using the short game to open things up for the rushing attack and deep ball. Look for Cleveland to push with a heavy dose of the run, as they go hunting with Peyton Hillis and company to move the ball on the ground.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
Neither of these teams inspires much confidence, and that is why the points are so hard to overlook heading into this matchup. The Browns could win but a touchdown differential may be asking too much against a divisional rival that isn’t that far apart in terms of overall sports betting bonus talent.
NFL Betting Pick: Cincinnati Bengals + 6.5