This past week’s picks marked the fifth consecutive week in which I’ve picked at least 10 winners straight up. I went 10-3 picking straight last week, bringing my season total to 85-48-1.
It was once again another rough week picking against the spread as I finished 6-7. In four of the past five weeks, I’ve failed to finish above .500 picking against the spread. My season total is still 71-63, mostly thanks to a nice cushion I built up the first month of the season.
Cleveland Browns (5-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1)
Thursday, November 6 at 8:25 pm ET on CBS/NFL Network
*Line: Bengals (-6.5)
Few expected the Browns to be in this position at this point in the year. Technically, the Pittsburgh Steelers will still hold a tie-breaker over them, but a Browns win tonight will mean that they at least share the same record as the division leader at 6-3. The Bengals are currently in first place in the AFC North thanks to their tie, and a win for them will give them a one-half-game cushion over the Steelers at least until Sunday. Who would’ve picked the Ravens to be in last place, yet still with a winning record?
But the Bengals aren’t a good matchup for the Browns. The Browns have a good defense, coupled with a competent offense. Ultimately their problem is that they aren’t well constructed to play from behind. With tight end Jordan Cameron and wide receiver Andrew Hawkins nursing injuries, and Josh Gordon still on suspension, they don’t quite have the firepower to come from behind even against a disappointing Bengals defense.
The Browns greatest weakness however is their run defense. The same could be said about the Bengals as well. So this game will basically come down to which team’s running game can get off to the best start. I’ll put my money on the Bengals simply because their offensive line is a bit better and Jeremy Hill is coming off a 154-yard effort last week against the Jaguars. Comparatively, when the Browns played the Jaguars in Week 7, they only rushed for a combined 69 yards with their committee of running backs.
Not to mention the added presence of A.J. Green, which means the Browns can’t fully commit to defending the run. The Green-Joe Haden matchup will be a fun one to watch tonight.
With the Bengals being at home, I think they will pull out the win. But I do have that gnawing fear in the back of my mind that this is going to be one of those two or three-interception nights for Andy Dalton. No fear is the wrong word. Instead, I should say hope. I can’t think of another player that I gives me more enjoyment when he plays poorly than Dalton.
Spread Pick: Bengals
Straight Pick: Bengals