Week 9 features an AFC North rivalry matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) and the Cleveland Browns (4-4).
The Browns are coming off a 15-10 home loss to the Steelers, which has in turn knocked them out of the projected AFC playoff bracket for the moment. Meanwhile, the Bengals are coming off a brutal 34-31 loss to the Jets in a game that many expected to be a blowout.
Both teams will be looking to bounce back and are in need of a win to keep up in one of the league’s most competitive divisions.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our Browns vs Bengals predictions and best bets.
Please note that all odds and lines are current as of 3:00 p.m. ET on Friday, November 5.
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Browns vs Bengals Prediction
The Cincinnati Bengals defense was rolling as a top-five unit until it gave up over 400 passing yards and three touchdowns to Jets backup quarterback Mike White in their 34-31 loss this past weekend.
The Bengals offense is far from the issue as it has been able to rely to Joe Mixon on the ground and a bevy of weapons in the receiving game with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
Joe Burrow’s life has been made easier due to the success of those three wideouts and how often they have been able to maximize receptions with their run after the catch ability.
It remains to be seen how the Bengals will bounce back from giving up 34 points to the Jets, but one can expect them to make enough plays to give their team a chance in the end.
Cleveland’s defense ranks 13th in the league in scoring at 22.5 points allowed per game and actually just turned in a very impressive performance, albeit against a weaker offense than the one they are about to face, holding the Steelers to 15 points in defeat.
On offense, the Browns have been decimated by injuries at the skill positions this season. Jarvis Landry (knee) has been limited in practice this week, but played through the injury in Week 8 and should suit up Sunday, while Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) returned to practice this week and could return to action against the Bengals.
Despite injury issues at wide receiver, Cleveland finally cut ties with Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday after the receiver’s father had posted comments on social media criticizing Mayfield earlier in the week.
However, the running game remains the key for Cleveland regardless of who is carrying the rock. Whether it has been Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, or even D’Ernest Johnson, the Browns have had success on the ground and their stable offensive line has a lot to do with it.
It’s hard to believe that the Browns can fall to 4-5, as many pundits viewed them as a potential AFC champion this year. However, they just haven’t had the right balance on offense and their defense simply isn’t as dominant as it might look on paper.
I don’t see the Browns beating the Bengals, especially with Cincinnati coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Jets. It’s all about how you respond in the NFL and I expect the Bengals to bounce back in an impressive shootout win.
Prediction: Bengals 34, Browns 27
Browns vs Bengals Best Bets
Best Bet: Bengals -2.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
After looking at our NFL gameday odds, it may seem hard to pick a winner in this rivalry affair. However, I believe the Bengals are the better football team and all they have to do to cover this number is win by a field goal at home.
I like this line for the Bengals, who would arguably have been 4-point favorites had they not lost to the Jets. The Bengals have shown that they can score with anyone, especially through the air as Cincinnati ranks second in the NFL in explosive passing plays.
Regardless how this game starts, the Bengals have proven they have the equalizer over the top with rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase.
I’m taking Cincinnati in a game I believe could be a back-and-forth shootout.
Best Bet: Over 47 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
So far this season, Browns games have combined for an average of 45.3 points, while Bengals games have averaged 47.7 points. However, the Browns have had some of the biggest combined point totals of the season, including an 89-point affair against the Chargers in Week 5.
The Bengals haven’t had anything quite to that extreme, but recently when the Browns and Bengals have played it always seems to result in a shootout. The two meetings between these teams last season would easily have cleared this over, as the teams combined for 65 and 71 points.
There could certainly be more points in this one.
Cleveland’s defense is allowing touchdowns in the red zone 69.23% of the time (26th in the NFL), while Cincinnati’s defense ranks 14th and is allowing touchdowns in the red zone at a 57.69% clip. Cincinnati’s offense, however, is scoring touchdowns in the red zone 70% of the time, which ranks in the top five league-wide.
The Browns might not be as strong in the red zone, but they do rank first in the league with a total of 41 explosive rushes this season. That’s a 16% average explosive run rate and something that has allowed them to overcome a lackluster passing attack.
I expect this rivalry game to be a shootout, and because of that, I’m making the over my NFL bet of the day.
Thank you for reading our NFL Week 9 Browns vs Bengals Predictions! For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Week 9 Best Bets.