Cleveland Browns (5-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
Opening Spread: Bengals -5.
Opening Game Total: 48.5.
Opening Team Totals: Bengals (26.75) Browns (21.75).
Weather: Outdoors, no concerns.
The Line Report
- This line opened as Bengals -5.
- This line has moved to Bengals -5.5.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Bengals -6.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Bengals -5.5.
- This total opened at 48.5 points.
- This total remains at 48.5 points.
Bengals: Doubtful: TE Hayden Hurst. Questionable: WR Tee Higgins, Edge Sam Hubbard.
Browns: Questionable: WR Amari Cooper, WR David Bell, TE David Njoku, CB Denzel Ward.
The Bengals Offense vs. Browns Defense
After a slow start, the Bengals’ offensive line has been steadily improving. You could argue they are coming off their best game of the season against the Chiefs last week. I have the Bengals offensive line tiered right in the-middle-of-the-pack. The Browns have a slightly below average front that is headlined by premium Edge Myles Garrett. That said, the Browns blew out the Bengals back in Week 8 behind a very strong effort from their defensive front. All things considered, I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw from a macro sense, while Myles Garrett has a significant advantage on the outside.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Bengals are 9-3 against the spread this season.
- The Bengals are 4-7-1 on overs this season.
- Joe Burrow is 24-14 against the spread in his career.
- Joe Burrow is 18-18-2 on overs in his career.
- Zac Taylor is 34-27 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Zac Taylor is 27-32-2 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Bengals are scoring 26 points per game, good for seventh in the league.
- Cincinnati is third in the league in yards passing per game and 26th in yards rushing.
- The Bengals are passing on 66% of their plays and running on 44% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions.
- Per the Edge, Joe Burrow has 270 yards passing or more in eight of his 12 games this season. Burrow has breached 300 yards passing four times.
- Joe Mixon has breached 100 yards rushing once this season. Mixon has double-digit carries in seven of his ten games this season. Mixon has at least three targets in every game this season and he’s seventh among running backs in targets despite missing two games this year.
- After missing more than a month Ja’Marr Chase returned to action last week where he caught seven-of-eight targets for 97 yards receiving against the Chiefs. Chase has a 27.5% target share and a 36.3% air yards share on the season.
- Tee Higgins has a 19.7% target share and a 30% air yards share.
- Tyler Boyd has a 14.8% target share and a 20.6% air yards share.
- With Hayden Hurst listed as doubtful, Mitchell Wilcox is next on the depth chart at tight end for the Bengals. Wilcox has seven targets on the season.
- Per TruMedia, Ja’Marr Chase has played 384 snaps on the perimeter and 108 in the slot.
- Tee Higgins has played 433 snaps on the perimeter and 111 in the slot.
- Tyler Boyd has played 159 snaps on the perimeter and 547 in the slot.
- The Browns have allowed 25 points per game, which is 27th in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Browns have allowed the sixth-most yards rushing per game and the 13th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- Cleveland has given up the 20th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- Cleveland has given up the fifth-most PPR points per game to perimeter receivers.
- The Browns have allowed the 18th-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
The Browns Offense vs. Bengals Defense
The Browns have a top-five offensive line. The Bengals have a slightly below average defensive front. Cincinnati has a high-quality Edge in Trey Hendrickson who is Cincinnati’s only above average pass rusher. The Bengals defensive tackle duo is strong against the run but limited as pass rushers. Cleveland’s offensive line has a significant advantage in pass protection, but this matchup is closer to a draw in the run game.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Browns are 6-6 against the spread this season.
- The Browns are 8-3-1 on overs this season.
- Deshaun Watson is 26-27-2 against the spread in his career.
- Deshaun Watson is 26-29 on overs in his career.
- Kevin Stefanski is 19-26 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Kevin Stefanski is 24-20-1 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Browns are scoring 24.2 points per game, which is tenth in the league.
- Cleveland is 21st in the league in yards passing per game and fourth in yards rushing.
- The Browns are passing on 58% of their plays and running on 42% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions.
- Deshaun Watson was terrible in his return to NFL action last week.
- Per the Edge, Nick Chubb is second in the league in yards rushing with 1119 and rushing touchdowns with 12. Chubb has one target in six of his 12 games with a high of four targets in a game this season.
- Kareem Hunt has double-digit carries in one of his last seven games. Hunt has breached four targets in a game this season.
- Amari Cooper is 13th in the league in target share (27.2%) and tenth in air yards share (39.5%).
- Donovan Peoples-Jones returned a punt for a touchdown last week in Houston, but he only saw three targets in Watson’s first game back.
- David Njoku has six or more targets in six of his last seven games. Njoku missed last weeks’ contest against Houston and is currently listed as questionable on this week’s injury report.
- The Bengals have allowed 21.3 points per game, which is 13th in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Bengals have allowed the 20th-most yards rushing per game and the 15th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- Cincinnati has given up the 27th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- The Bengals have allowed the 12th-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
This Is What You’re Betting On in Bengals vs. Browns
On Monday Night Football back in Week 8 the Browns dominated the Bengals 32-13. Joe Burrow is 0-4 in his career against Cleveland.
A bet on the Bengals starts as a bet on Joe Burrow and his high-end skill group, but that’s not all that the Bengals are. Cincinnati’s offensive line struggled through the first half of the season, but they have been steadily improving and last week’s effort against Kansas City was their best effort of the season. The Bengals defense has been a rock-solid group since this time last year. When you’re betting on the Bengals you are now betting on a complete football team; one that will be a perennial threat in the AFC for as long as Joe Burrow is their quarterback. For most teams coming off a win against the Chiefs would lead to a let down the following week in most cases. For Joe Burrow’s Bengals, a victory over an elite team isn’t a surprise anymore. If you’re betting on the Bengals, you are betting on a championship-caliber team taking care of a division rival that has underachieved on defense and currently going through a quarterback transition. Your biggest concern as a Bengals bettor is that Cleveland’s pass rush has a spike game like they did when these teams played earlier this season. Your second is that Deshaun Watson is a completely different player this week after a truly terrible showing in Houston last week.
Deshaun Watson was terrible in his return to NFL action last week in Houston. If you are betting on Cleveland, you are making that bet with the expectation that Watson is a significantly different player this week. We can all reasonably expect Watson to get better as he gets more NFL games under his belt in the coming weeks, but expecting him to have a clean game or to elevate his team against the Bengals is a big ask. Even if Watson has a mediocre showing the Browns can lean on their offensive line and premium running game. Keep in mind that the Bengals defensive front wasn’t at full strength when these teams played in Week 8, but they are now. If you’re betting on the Browns in this spot, you’re primarily betting on their defense having another spike game against Joe Burrow. We’ve already seen it, so it’s certainly possible, but once again that’s a big expectation. Your biggest concern as a Browns bettor is that Joe Burrow’s offense exceeds expectations against an inconsistent Browns defense while Deshaun Watson looks more like the player he was last week than the dynamic difference maker he was two years ago.
Awards Market Ramifications: Joe Burrow is an MVP contender.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’m going to take the Bengals across the board in winner pools, even though Cleveland is an interesting differentiator option in that format. I expect to be a little higher than consensus on this game in my confidence pool rankings.
Spread Pool: I’m going to take the Bengals side or pass here, primarily because Deshaun Watson will need to be an entirely different player than he was last week for Cleveland’s offense to do well here.
Survivor Pool: I would avoid this contest if possible in survivor pools, as the Browns are a talented divisional opponent.
Ryan’s recent betting record:
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 43-22
Props 2022: 42-25