After an exciting first week of football, the second week of the NFL season kicks off with the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are coming off losses, though the Week 2 NFL odds are pretty lopsided for this Bengals vs. Browns matchup.
As if the “Battle of Ohio” isn’t intriguing enough, this edition will be amplified by the bright lights of primetime.
Bengals vs. Browns Week 2 NFL Odds
- Opening Lines: Browns -6.5; O/U 44
- Current ATS Line: Browns -5.5
- Over/Under: 43
- Location: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cleveland, OH
- Start Time: 8:20 pm ET
- Television: NFL Network
- Last Meeting: December 29, 2019 – The Bengals beat the Browns 33-23 in Cincinnati
- Attendance: Up to 6,000 fans will be allowed to attend
Bengals vs. Browns Overview
While it isn’t likely to translate to many wins in 2020, the future does appear to be bright for the Bengals. Joe Burrow, the number one overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, did alright for a rookie QB making his first NFL start. Burrow’s 193 yards passing came against a talented Los Angeles Chargers defense. He also added 46 yards rushing and a score. His lone interception came on a shovel pass when trying to do too much. All in all, not a shabby debut.
Burrow figures to have a great opportunity in the passing game on Thursday against a weak Browns’ defensive secondary that has been further depleted by injuries. A.J. Green led the Bengals in receptions (5) and receiving yards (51) Sunday in his first game back after missing all of the 2019 season. Tyler Boyd, running back Giovani Bernard, and tight end C.J. Uzomah all had four catches apiece.
For the Browns, there’s nowhere to go but up after suffering a beatdown loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Look for Cleveland to try to establish the run game early and often on Thursday. Kareem Hunt (72 yards) and Nick Chubb (60) averaged 5.5 and 6.0 yards per carry respectively against a Ravens defense that is much more formidable than the Cincinnati one they’ll see this week.
Baker Mayfield was lackluster in Week 1, throwing for 189 yards, one touchdown and one pick. He will need to improve as the season progresses, as will Odell Beckham Jr., whose three catches for 22 yards is less than you’d expect from a receiver of his skill level. Defensively, the Browns strength is the front seven. Expect a concerted effort to slow down Mixon and the Bengals rushing attack, thus forcing Burrow to make winning throws. Though, the NFL odds are predicting him to look like a rookie in this game.
Bengals vs. Browns Betting Trends
- Bengals 2020 Betting Trends: 0-0-1 ATS; 0-1 to the Over
- Browns 2020 betting Trends: 0-1 ATS; 0-1 to the Over
- The Bengals are 9-2 ATS in the last eleven head-to-head meetings between the teams, but only 2-2 in the last four.
- The Bengals are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against the Browns.
- The over is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings between the teams.
Bengals vs. Browns Stats
- The Bengals rank 29th in overall adjusted offensive efficiency after Week 1 (28th in passing, 23rd in rushing).
- The Bengals rank 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency after Week 1 (12th against the pass, 13th against the run).
- The Browns rank 31st in overall adjusted offensive efficiency after Week 1 (31st in both passing and rushing).
- The Browns rank 31st in overall adjusted defensive efficiency after Week 1 (32nd against the pass, 6th against the run).
All adjusted efficiency statistics courtesy of Football Outsiders
Bengals vs. Browns NFL Picks and NFL Odds
Joe Burrow Over 233.5 Passing Yards (-110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Last year, Joe Mixon was the biggest threat on the Bengals offense. With A.J. Green now back healthy and Joe Burrow playing quarterback, that is no longer the case. Cincinnati’s best bet to attack the Browns on Thursday night is through the air. While Mixon will get touches to maintain a semblance of balance, it’s hard to envision him getting much going against a Cleveland defensive front that includes Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, and Larry Ogunjobi. The Browns’ secondary is not so fortunate. Cleveland is already without safety Grant Delpit, and corners Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson are both yet to practice this week due to injury. Burrow will need to perform if the Bengals are to win this game. Assuming he is given time to throw, 234 passing yards seems well within reach.
Bengals vs. Browns NFL Pick
The key trend I am zeroing in on for this game is the run of overs in the head-to-head series. Including both games last year, the over has cashed in four of the last five in the Battle of Ohio series. The only game that didn’t go over also didn’t go under. A 26-18 Browns win in December of 2018 pushed on the total line of 44. What’s more, with the under attracting some betting action early in the week, the new total of 43 is lower than the final score in each of the last five games in the head-to-head series.
Neither team got off to the start they had hoped for in Week 1, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Given the talent and playmakers both sides have, I expect some positive regression to the mean in terms of scoring. The Bengals best bet is to exploit Cleveland’s secondary, while the Browns will focus on running the football behind an offensive line that is one of the NFL’s best when it comes to run blocking. It likely won’t be a shootout, but 43 total points are certainly attainable.
Pick: Total Over 43 (-110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)