NFL Odds Preview - Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Cleveland Browns

NFL BettingThe sports betting world can already see the results starting to happen in Cleveland. The Browns are 0-3 this season, but the team looked good in the week three 24-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Little sparks of light such as the relentless running of Peyton Hillis who racked up 144 hard-fought yards on 22 carries against a very good Baltimore Ravens run defense.

The Cincinnati Bengals are making a mess of the NFL betting lines this season. When wide receiver Terrell Owens was signed to the Bengals, his receiving counterpart Chad Ochocinco all but guaranteed a Super Bowl berth for Cincinnati. Football betting experts usually do not put a lot of stock in what Ochocinco says, but the Bengals are an improved team over last season and they should be challenging for the AFC North title this season.

The problem with the Bengals is that they are inconsistent . . . again. After getting schooled in week one by the New England Patriots, the Bengals have gone on to beat the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers. But even as badly as the Panthers played in week three, the Bengals could not put the game away until late in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati needs to pick up the pace on offense if Ochocinco’s prediction has any chance of ever coming true.

This week’s NFL pick for the Bengals will be a win over the Cleveland Browns, but it will not be easy and it will not be a guarantee. If the Browns get that offense of theirs rolling by the second quarter, then Cincinnati’s inability to put anyone away this season could come back to haunt the Bengals. The Bengals need to put the hammer down early in this game, and get the Browns down by a couple of touchdowns by the second quarter.

The Browns and their fans can see the improvement already. However the one area that is obviously lacking in Cleveland is at quarterback. The prevailing theory is that Colt McCoy is being groomed to be the starter in Cleveland, but Mike Holgren does not rush quarterbacks. The one thing Cleveland fans will have to learn is patience. Mike Holgren will deliver a winner to Cleveland, it will just take a couple of years to get there. When Holgren got to Seattle not many people thought that Matt Hasselbeck was a starting quarterback in the NFL. By the time Holgren was done with Seattle, Hasselbeck was a Super Bowl quarterback and one of the best quarterbacks to play for the Seahawks.

The Browns will be game in this contest, and it will take everything the Bengals offense has to pull this game out. The Cincinnati offense line is still suspect, and the running game is struggling to support the passing game. The Bengals should have just enough to get past the Browns this week, but look for the Browns to slowly remove that label of NFL doormat as Cleveland moves towards respectability in the NFL.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals 16-14


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