Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns kicks off this Sunday at 1:00 pm EST in Cleveland as a home game for the Browns. The Bengals are currently a -2.5 favorite and -134 on the moneyline while the total is set at 47. Read on for more Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns best bets and predictions as the Bengals look to start off on the right foot.
Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction
It’s been anything but a normal preseason for the Cincinnati Bengals once Joe Burrow went down with an injury. While his own star receiver Ja’Marr Chase wished he would wait it out until week five to fully heal up, it’s widely believed that Burrow will be able to give it a go to open the season.
With Joe Burrow under center, the Bengals offense is one of the most lethal in the league. Head coach Zac Taylor learned from his mistakes last year early in the season when he tried to implement a heavy dose of the run, now ready to sling it out of the gate in order to beat the Browns elite secondary. By stretching out the secondary, running back Joe Mixon will find himself with more room to work with when he hits the gaps out of the backfield.
Not only were the Bengals already one of the most lethal offenses in the league, but now Joe Burrow may find himself with more time in the pocket after signing the Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The Bengals offensive line was one of their weak points, now turning it to one of their strengths at the most vital time as Burrow deals with his injury.
As for the Bengals defense, this unit is poised to improve from their league average Def DVOA marks as they made that their focus in the NFL draft. They used their first three picks to draft Clemson’s defensive end Myles Murphy, Michigan’s cornerback DJ Turner, and Alabama’s safety Jordan Battle. While unproven in the NFL, all three give the Bengals much needed depth at the most important positions.
Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Cleveland Browns Betting Odds
Even with Joe Burrow’s injury status uncertain, oddsmakers still give the nod to Cincinnati by opening the Bengals as a -1.5 favorite. Bettors have steadily backed the Bengals since the open, taking them up to -2.5 as of writing. With the number ticking closer to the key number of -3, this leads me to believe that Burrow is toying with the idea of playing rather than sitting out.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 47.5. Bettors have slightly leaned towards the unders favor since the open by taking the number down to 47 in some shops. With the Bengals focusing on their defensive effort and the Browns quarterback play in question, points may come at a slower pace than expected.
Cincinnati Bengals Vs. Cleveland Browns Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns below.
Bengals Trio vs Browns Secondary
With Joe Burrow potentially back under center, the Bengals pass attack remains in elite form. A big part of that is the Bengals possessing the best trio of wideouts in the NFL with Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.
Gonna be crazy when jamarr chase does this tonight 👀🔥 pic.twitter.com/2ZPdqHreee
— RG | Chosen™️ (@chosenlolll) January 15, 2023
It’s hard enough to cover Chase alone, now needing to stretch out in an attempt to cover all three productive receivers. A major issue for the Browns secondary who is currently facing injury concerns with Greg Newsome III, Grant Delpit, and Denzel Ward all listed as questionable. With the Browns secondary at less than 100%, Burrow should have no issue with throwing over the top and keeping the Browns defense constantly reeling.
Deshaun Watson vs Bengals defensive line
The Browns offense will only go as far as Deshaun Watson can take them and he has yet to look like even half his former self. Accuracy issues, a quick trigger under pressure, and ill-advised throws have plagued Watson since his return.
Even with one of the best offensive lines in football, Watson has yet to show any resemblance of his past self. A major issue for the Browns offense as they cannot continue to rely on the sole production of star running back Nick Chubb as the Bengals get the added benefit of stacking the box should Watson fail to get the pass game going.