The 2021-22 NFL regular season will come to an end Sunday, as most teams have nothing to play for and a select few jockey for playoff (and draft) positioning. The Bengals have already wrapped up the AFC North and now have one final game against the Browns before starting their playoff journey.
Let’s look at this Battle of Ohio and see where the value remains.
- Opening Line: Browns -6, O/U 38.5
- Current Line: Browns -6, O/U 38
- Last meeting: October 28, 2018, Seahawks 28, Lions 14
In Cleveland, things turned quickly as a 3-1 start was followed by eight losses in 12 games. Baker Mayfield struggled to stay on the field with various injuries. Mayfield is now officially done for the season with a torn labrum. With nothing to play for, Case Keenum will start this one and do his best to end the season on a high note.
For the visiting Bengals, despite having an outside shot at claiming the #1 seed in the AFC, they will rest QB Joe Burrow and running back Joe Mixon in preparation for the Wild Card game. While head coach Zac Taylor won’t say much more about who’s sitting this one out, I expect a similar plan for the defense that needs to get healthy for a chance at a run in January.
- Over is 6-0 in Bengals L6 after an ATS win
- Over is 4-0 in Bengals L4 vs. AFC North
- Browns 0-4 ATS in L4 games as a favorite
I think the absence of Mayfield will be a good thing for an offense that has relied on its rushing attack behind Nick Chubb. Meanwhile, their passing game averaged fewer than 200 yards per game this season. The Browns remain relatively healthy on the defensive side of the ball, and I like for them to make backup Brandon Allen’s day a tough one here.
Look for the Browns to roll in a mostly meaningless game.
Pick: Browns -6
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