Bengals vs. Browns Odds & Pick: How To Bet Thursday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow, Myles Garrett
Bengals vs. Browns Odds
The Browns hired head coach Kevin Stefanski to help turnaround a team that went 6-10 last season despite having a playoff-caliber roster.
That didn’t get off to a great start in Week 1.
One of the expectations was that Stefanski would install the type of run-heavy offense he ran in Minnesota. Inheriting arguably the best running back duo in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt would undoubtedly make things easier. And beefing up the offensive line by signing Jack Conklin — who earned Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best run blocking grade among tackles in 2019 — then drafting first-rounder Jedrick Wills would also help.
Leaning into a run-heavy approach would ultimately take some of the pressure off Baker Mayfield and limit his turnovers, too. The only issue was that the Baltimore Ravens are not the type of opponent this approach would work on (hence the blowout).
The Cincinnati Bengals, however, are that type.
You can expect the Browns to lean on Chubb and Hunt early on Thursday night, and to set up play-action passes between Baker and Odell Beckham Jr. Then once they build a lead, the Browns will be able to rely on their pass rush — led by Myles Garrett — to attack a weak Bengals offensive line and apply pressure on 2020 first overall pick Joe Burrow.
The Browns were able to generate pressure on Lamar Jackson at the fifth-highest rate (40%) in Week 1, which is terrible news for Burrow. He faced pressure on eight of his dropbacks in his NFL debut against the Chargers, going 0-3 on those attempts and taking three sacks. That said, Burrow was able to perform well when facing pressure in college, so I expect him to eventually be fine, it just may take a few games for him to adjust at this level.
I have this total projected at 43 points, so I don’t see any value on it. But while my Browns -6 projection also aligns with the market, there could be an opportunity to buy Cleveland if this line moves against Baker and Co. — action is split between both sides of this matchup as of writing (find real-time public betting data here), but if this line falls back down to -5.5, I’ll be on the Browns.
Bengals kicker Randy Bullock injured his calf as he missed the game-tying field goal in Week 1, but he’s set to play on Thursday night, and getting a number like 5.5 could be crucial in a game in which a kicker may be shaky.
Plus, as we covered, the Browns are built to win matchups just like this one.
Look to bet: Browns -5.5 [compare real-time odds]