2022 NFL Week 14: Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
Siding with Bengals -6.5 in AFC North showdown
We have observed that, historically, week 14 represents the safest period of the NFL regular season for backing favorites against the spread. Back to 2003-04, favorites are 152-114-5 ATS (57%) this week (p = 0.06). Consistent with this trend, our approach flagged several chalk layers worth considering this week, including the Cincinnati Bengals as home favorites versus the Cleveland Browns. We are betting accordingly.
To be clear, we are not simply laying all chalk in week 14. Rather, our framework happened to highlight several favorites this week. That the uptick in action on teams expected to win fits with a seasonally strong point for chalk layers bolsters our confidence in the likelihood that we turn a profit in week 14. The specific justification for backing the Bengals though is rooted in a system predicated on fading bad versus quality teams, after a bit of positive momentum:
Teams that 1) missed the prior playoffs, 2) are no better than 50% SU and 3) that rattled off two consecutive wins have proven great regular season fades against teams that did appear in the last post-season...
The notion of recency bias suggests bettors might be inclined to overemphasize more recent outcomes in their handicapping efforts. We suppose this cognitive bias explains the success of this angle.
The Browns knocked off the Bucs and Texans over the last two weeks, but are only 5-7 SU, after a 1-6 run in the seven games prior (...regarding this system's third criteria, Cleveland has not earned a playoff berth in a couple of seasons). Casual bettors may expect that the Browns' burgeoning win streak represents the start of a turnaround. History though hints that such optimism is likely misplaced heading into week 14.
Since shooting up from 3.5 to 6 points last week, Browns backers have showed up to pressure the line back down to the current 5.5. The Bengals are supported by 63% of spread wagers tracked by Sports Insights, but the handle is split about 50-50.