Browns vs. Bengals: AFC North Divisional Rivals Face Off Sunday

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, 11/27/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Cincinnati -7.5
Current Betting Line:  Cincinnati -7.5
Opening Total:  36
Current Total:  37.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Cincinnati Bengals rookie QB Andy Dalton will look to get his team back on the winning track

Cleveland is set to resume its AFC North divisional schedule Sunday in playing its first such contest since dropping a 27-17 season-opening contest as 6.5-point home favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Browns will need second-year quarterback Colt McCoy to continue his strong play, completing 72.5 percent of his passes the past two games.  The team snapped a three-game losing streak with last week’s 14-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars as one-point home favorites.  Cleveland is 0-2 ATS this season as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points.

The Browns come in with the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense, but a lot of that has to deal with the schedule they’ve played.  Cleveland will be facing Cincinnati rookie quarterback Andy Dalton for the second time, allowing him to throw for 81 yards on 15 passes in the season opener, splitting time with Bruce Gradkowski.  Offensively, the running back situation may be improved with the potential of star Peyton Hillis playing his first game in seven weeks.  Cleveland will finish the season playing five of its last six games against divisional opponents.

Cincinnati has lost two straight games after winning five in a row, falling to both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Bengals have won 11 of the last 14 meetings and lead the all-time series by a 40-36 margin.  Dalton has thrown five interceptions in the last two games, but also comes off a career-best 373 passing yards versus the Ravens in a 31-24 loss as seven-point road underdogs last week.  Cincinnati is 1-6 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points the last two-plus seasons, while the ‘over’ is 5-2 in that situation.

The Bengals defense is allowing just 3.4 yards per rushing play, which ranks second in the NFL, helping the team to come in with the sixth-best defense in allowing just 311.1 yards per game.  Cincinnati is hoping that rookie wide receiver A.J. Green will be on the field Sunday, missing the past six quarters with a right knee injury.  He’ll be needed in trying to breakthrough against a secondary that’s allowing just 166.5 passing yards per game.  The former Georgia Bulldogs star leads all first-year receivers with 635 receiving yards.

Bettors will likely back the Browns due to their 7-2 ATS mark as a road underdog of 3.5 to 10 points, while the Bengals are 3-13 ATS as a home favorite.

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