Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-9)
This line was a touchdown in favor of the visiting Bengals last week, but since has moved to 9.5. Ordinarily, I like to fade significant week-to-week line movements because they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play, but I think this line is still pretty appropriate, even with the Bengals missing tight end Tyler Eifert. The Bengals rank 3rd in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Browns are all the way down at 30th. They haven’t had many injuries this season and losing Eifert is very tough, but it’s hard to argue against this line being appropriate as long as it stays in single digits.
The Bengals are also in a good spot, hosting the Steelers next week, a game in which they could easily be 6+ point favorites. Favorites of 6+ or more, like the Bengals this week, are 80-42 ATS since 2012 before a game in which they will be 6+ point favorites again. It makes sense that good teams would be able to take care of business without any upcoming distractions and blow out an inferior opponent. I don’t have any confidence in the Bengals and I’d switch my pick to the Browns if the line jumps to 10, as about 6% of games are decided by exactly 10 points and 10+ point underdogs are 54-32 ATS before being favorites (as the Browns will be when they host the 49ers next week) since 2002. I wouldn’t take either side with any confidence though.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 Cleveland Browns 13
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -9.5