Cincinnati Bengals (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS, 1-2 O/U) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS, 1-2 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Cincinnati Bengals -3. Total: 40.
It will be a battle between 0-3 teams when the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Cleveland is coming off consecutive setbacks at the hands of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Indianapolis. The Bengals almost picked up their first win this past weekend but fell at Green Bay in overtime.
At least the offense looked better
Ken Zampese, Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator heading into this season, did not last long. The Bengals opened with a 20-0 loss to Baltimore and a 13-9 loss to Houston. And consider this: the Ravens recently gave up 44 points to Jacksonville. Zampese was fired after Week 2 and replaced by new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who oversaw a much better show in last Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Packers. A.J. Green caught 10 passes for 111 yards and his first touchdown after combining for 10 catches in the first two games. The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first possession, ending a drought of 25 series without finding the end zone.
“We obviously played better; we scored a touchdown,” quarterback Andy Dalton noted. “But, at the end of the game, we’ve got to find a way to put that away. We know what kind of offense [the Packers] have. We know what Aaron (Rodgers) can do. I thought we did some good things. Going down on that first drive and scoring was big; we needed that.I thought the tempo was good. I thought the way things were getting called and getting personnel groups in, I thought it was good.”
“Everything is a process,” Green added. “I feel like we took a step forward.”
0-3 is where they want to be
No one should be surprised that the Browns are 0-3. In fact, even their own quarterback does not sound overly shocked.
“We’re right where we want to be,” rookie DeShone Kizer commented. “We just don’t have the wins to support it. Everything is right there. We have the talent; we have the players; we have the mentality.”
To say Cleveland has not yet put it all together would be a gross understatement. Kizer leads the NFL with seven interceptions and he has not been helped by a smorgasbord of dropped passes. The former Notre Dame standout was picked off three times and lost a fumble in his team’s most recent setback, a 31-28 decision against lowly Indianapolis. Kizer has 646 passing yards, a mediocre-at-best 52.8 completion percentage, three touchdowns, and eight turnovers through three starts. His 53.2 passer rating is the worst in the league among starting quarterbacks. He has been sacked 10 times, as well–tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. The Browns have also committed double-digit penalties in each of their last two contests.
The Cincinnati Bengals are:
- 12-5 ATS in their last 17 road games
- 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against teams with losing records
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games on grass
The Cleveland Browns are:
- 6-22-1 ATS in its last 29 overall
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against teams with losing records
Cincinnati has been bad; Cleveland has been even worse. The Bengals showed some encouraging signs of progress against Green Bay but simply could not get the defensive stop they needed at the end of regulation in order to prevent overtime. Progress should be expected, because they feature veterans at key offensive positions in Dalton and Green. Cleveland, on the other hand, is sporting a rookie quarterback who is struggling mightily and not getting much help. Cincinnati is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 on the road, 10-4 ATS in its last 14 against losing opponents, and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 on grass. The Browns are 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 overall, 2-8 ATS in their last 10 at home, 1-6 ATS in their last seven against losing opponents, 5-21 ATS in their last 26 following a loss, 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 against the AFC, 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 on grass, and 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings between the two teams. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -3
Although Cincinnati improved offensively, it still bogged down in the second half–managing only three point during that stretch, a problem that has seemingly carried over from 2016 when the team would start fast and then struggle. The under is 6-1 in the Bengals’ last seven overall, 4-1 in their last five on the road, 10-2 in their last 12 against losing opponents, 17-5 in their last 22 against the AFC, 21-8 in their last 29 against the AFC North, and 10-4 in their last 14 on grass. It is also 8-3 in their last 11 overall, 6-0 in their last six at home, 6-1 in their last seven on grass, and 5-1 in their last six against the AFC North. Additionally, the under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams and 4-0 in Cincinnati’s last four trips to Cleveland. Look for this one to stay under the total.