Bears vs. Browns Odds, Picks, NFL Sunday Predictions: Justin Fields’ Debut Makes This Over Worth Betting In Week 3
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Fields.
- Justin Fields makes his first NFL start for the Bears in their Week 3 NFL matchup against the Browns.
- How should the rookie impact how we bet this game? Our analyst sees value on the over/under.
|Moneyline||+270 / -350|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The anticipated first start for Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields takes place on Sunday against the Browns. In his first set of extended minutes, Fields showed both the upside of his throwing ability and mobility, but also made some costly mistakes. If he can learn from those mistakes and limit his turnovers, he could make the Bears a tougher out each week.
Cleveland will hope being a heavy favorite again goes better than it did last week. While the Browns did win by 10, Houston was able to keep the game within three points until the final six minutes. A comfortable win where Cleveland controls the line of scrimmage on both sides would go a long way in showing fans the Browns can live up to the preseason hype.
Let’s take a deeper dive to see if we can find value on either side.
Bears Ready For Fields’ Debut
After holding a 20-3 lead with 6:40 remaining in the game, Chicago nearly let victory slip through its grasp against the Bengals. Fortunately, Fields would redeem some of his mistakes that allowed Cincinnati to come within a field goal by rushing for a key third-down conversion during the Bears’ final possession.
Chicago will hope Fields’ mobility brings some pop to what has been a stagnant offense. After two games, the Bears are the only team that has more yards per rush (4.3) than net yards per pass (3.9), per Pro-Football-Reference.
Part of their offensive troubles come from trying to cover up for a weak offensive line. Per Next Gen Stats, Andy Dalton has the fifth-lowest time-to-throw. Transitioning to a rookie, the quick hit-off offense will likely disappear. This could help the Bears create the big plays they have been missing, but it also could put Fields under heavy duress if the line does not hold.
Defensively, the Bears have not lived up to their standard of being a top-10 defense so far. Their struggles have lied on the backend as PFF gives them a poor 54.2 grade in coverage. The only bright spot has been Jaylon Johnson, who PFF grades as the second-best corner.
However, Cleveland has no problem spreading the ball around and attacking the weak links. The whole backend will need to step if the Bears slow down the Browns’ passing attack.
Browns Welcome Back OBJ
Big news came in on Friday for Cleveland as Odell Beckham Jr. announced he will play. His return could not come at a better time as Jarvis Landry was placed on IR with a knee injury earlier this week. OBJ’s return gives the Browns an outside threat that demands the defense’s attention. This should open up running lanes and give secondary receivers opportunities to make big plays.
The rushing offense will be in for its toughest challenge yet. Chicago currently ranks fifth in yards per rush allowed at 3.3. The Browns entered the year with the anticipated best offensive line, and they have lived up to the hype so far — albeit against weaker run defenses. We will see if they can continue that success against one of the better run defenses.
Defensively, the Browns have been two different teams against the pass and run. Against the run, Cleveland has suffocated opponents holding them to just 3.0 yards per carry.
Against the pass, though, the Browns have allowed a quarterback rating of 115.2. But this could be a good bounce-back stop for Cleveland’s pass unit. Chicago has struggled to move the ball through the air and is weak up front. This should be a good turnaround spot for Myles Garrett, who had zero pressures and two missed tackles last week.
DraftKings still has Garrett as the second-favorite to win the NFL Defensive Play of the Year award. This seems as good a spot as any for him to have a statement game.
In his first start, I expect Justin Fields to make some mistakes. Last week he threw an interception late in the fourth quarter that brought Cincinnati within a field goal. This week, things will be no easier as he faces a better defensive front.
While Fields will make some rookie mistakes in his first start, he also has a game-changing dynamic ability. Even in his limited snaps last week, we saw some of these plays.
There was a perfect 40-yard pass that Allen Robinson II dropped in the end zone, as well as his game-clinching run in the fourth. Fields’ blend of high- and low-end plays should lead to scoring opportunities for both teams.
Seven points is too much to put on the line in Fields’ debut with both pass defenses being unreliable. However, the over seems to be a good place to turn in this matchup.
If Chicago starts strong, Cleveland will be able to strike back off of the mistakes Fields makes. If Cleveland pulls ahead early, Fields will either create big plays or make big mistakes.
Take the over in what should be an exciting first start for Fields.
Pick: Over 44.5