Get Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Cleveland Browns player prop picks & odds for the (9/10/23) matchup.
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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns Player Prop Picks
A year after making the controversial to and bring in embattled QB Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns are in a win-or-bust situation, and the burden is on them to prove that it won’t be “bust” in a brutal division. The Bengals are also looking to build on last year, after reaching another AFC Championship Game but losing; they will need a fast start in division competition to stay ahead. With tons of stars on the field, let’s take a look at some player props for this opening week matchup.
Joe Burrow u265.5 Passing Yards (-115 DraftKings)
As much as I expect Joe Burrow to be one of the most prolific passers in the league this year, this is not the spot to invest in him to rack up counting statistics. While he will be playing after sustaining a minor preseason injury, it’s hard to know exactly how close he is to 100%, and how much the Bengals will want to lean on him right out of the gates.
Moreover, they might not need his services as much as they might in some later contests. The Bengals match up very well with the Browns and should be playing from ahead while leaning on the running game led by Joe Mixon.
Unless they fall grievously behind, which feels unlikely, the Bengals could lean on the ground attack even in a close game. The Browns cannot defend the run and conversely, have a decent secondary. Myles Garrett leads a generally solid pass rush, which should be able to get after Burrow.
The Browns will also be a run-first squad, at least to start the game, which could cut down on total snaps. In what could be a gritty divisional matchup, I would err on the side of caution and expect Burrow and the Bengals to stay conservative.
Deshaun Watson o235.5 Passing Yards (-114 FanDuel)
As opposed to the pass-happy Bengals who might be pushed into a running game, the Browns could be playing from behind, and in that case would turn to the air. That’s not their favorite way to play, but with an extremely expensive quarterback in Deshaun Watson, they are absolutely ready to do so.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski has done great things in the passing game at times, with less-talented passers than Watson like Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield, and sometimes weaker receiving groups too. Watson showed some rust last year after missing extended time due to various injuries and his infamous 11-game suspension, but at his best, he’s one of the best passers in the game and could thrive in this system.
Amari Cooper is also poised to have a nice year after racking up 1,160 yards and 9 touchdowns despite catching passes from Jacoby Brissett rather than Watson for most of the season. He’s a great downfield threat, and will help Watson really exploit a Cincy secondary that will be recovering from the losses of Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in free agency.
With an offensive line that should give him plenty of time, and if that fails, the athleticism to evade stud Cincy pass rushers Trey Hendrickson and DJ Reader, Watson is in line to re-announce himself as one of the best, even if most controversial, passers in the AFC with a strong opening day performance.
Joe Mixon o54.5 Rushing Yards (-114 FanDuel)
Again, this is a pick based on how this game’s cadence. If the Bengals are ahead, they will be feeding Mixon, and 54.5 yards is not a particularly high threshold to cross. This number is just a bit below his per-game average from last year, but with second option Samaje Perine now on the Broncos, he should be getting the lion’s share of the handles for this Cincy offense.
His average of 58.1 yards per game a season ago was a career low by such a wide margin that I believe he could bounce back, at least to a degree. This number has been driven down due to that subpar production a year ago, and even then, he turned in his top two rushing performances in wins, one of which was a 96-yard performance against Cleveland, so the game script could be in his favor, especially with few other options for Cincy in the ground game.
Tee Higgins o57.5 Receiving Yards
To be completely transparent, I will be picking Higgins overs until they begin to fail me. The Clemson product is an absolutely tremendous talent who loses a bit of shine and remains one of the league’s most underrated players due to the presence of an even bigger talent, superstar wideout and Burrow’s perpetual savior Ja’Marr Chase.
Media isn’t the only type of coverage Chase draws from Higgins- secondary coverage flows towards the LSU legend as well. Higgins has consistent opportunities to get open and catch passes, and he has generally done quite well with those chances. He averaged 77.9 yards per game in 2021 and then 64.3 last year, clear of this number, but dragged down a bit by a zero-catch performance when he exited due to a hamstring issue after one snap…in a home game against the Browns. Higgins didn’t get a chance to create a track record of success in that game, but racked up 78 yards in that matchup the year before.
It’s also worth noting that in an offseason of huge contracts, Higgins was not involved. It’s reported that the two sides are not close to an agreement, and Higgins will be a man on a mission this year, either to prove to the Bengals that he’s worth the money, or more likely, after they signed Burrow to an enormous deal, auditioning for his next team. Even if the Bengals focus on the run, Higgins should get enough of a target share to get over this fairly low number.