Thursday Night Football Betting Picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Despite resting on the losing side of Week 1, the narratives for the pair of Ohio teams could not be more different. Decimated by the Ravens, the Browns come home to no avail and with little to build on. The Bengals hit the road with hope after Joe Burrow looked the part in his NFL debut. Even after a brutal defeat, the Browns are a considerable home favorite in Week 2 against the rival Bengals. Here are a betting preview and Thursday night betting picks for the primetime matchup.
Thursday Night Football Odds— Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Spread: Cleveland -6
54% of bets backing Cleveland, per VegasInsider.com.
61% of bets on the over.
Bengals vs. Browns Injury Report and Analysis
Aside from battered ego, the Browns did not escape their Week 1 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens in full health. After catching the only Cleveland touchdown, David Njoku hit the IR with a knee injury. Fellow pass-catcher, Jarvis Landry, is questionable for the Week 2 contest (hip) after receiving five targets in Week 1. The Bengals travel to Cleveland with a relatively clean injury report and a renewed sense of confidence with their young quarterback.
Joe Burrow impressed on Sunday — displaying poise in a tight game against the Chargers at home. After scoring his first NFL touchdown on a 23-yard scamper in the first quarter, Burrow took the ball late in the fourth quarter down three points 3:08 left on the clock. Burrow led a 13-play drive down to the Los Angeles three-yard line with 12 seconds left. Burrow threw what appeared to be a go-ahead touchdown pass to A.J. Green that was ruled offensive pass interference. With time ready to expire, the Bengals sent Randy Bullock in to tie the game but Bullock missed to give Los Angeles their first victory of the 2020 season.
A.J. Green saw nine targets in the Week 1 matchup and Joe Mixon carried the ball 19 times. Mixon will face a Cleveland defense that surrendered two touchdowns on the ground but only 107 yards on 30 carries to the explosive Baltimore rushing attack. Green converted 5 of his 9 targets for 51 yards.
The nascent Bengals will look to exploit a Browns’ defense that allowed 5.7 yards per play in 2019. Cleveland was very exploitable on the ground in 2019 (5.0 yards per rush) — making Joe Mixon an interesting DFS play in Showdown formats. While Baker Mayfield and his receiving corps disappointed as breakout candidates in 2019 — Nick Chubb and the rushing game starred. The 4.8 yards per rush average in 2019 will translate well against a Cincinnati defense that struggled across the board last season. The Bengals bungled to a bottom-ten finish in both opposing points per game and yards per play.
The public seems to be reacting to the narrative presented earlier. The Browns opened in some as 7.5-points favorites. Bet down to 6-points favorites, the shaped line presents a bit of value for Cleveland backers. The more drastic movement can be found with the total. Opening at 46 points earlier this week, FanDuel bettors can speculate on a 43-point total.
TNF: Bengals at Browns Betting Picks
With the public typically overreacting to one-week sample sizes, value pops up everywhere in the second week of the NFL season. Productive players will be written off, teams will be damned to the bottom portion of the league, and Jets’ fans will wax about their same old team. While a case can be made about the Jets’ woes, many other perceptions are overblown. The Browns might not be good enough to contend in the NFC North, but have plenty of talent. A home matchup with a young, rebuilding Bengals team is exactly the elixir Baker and company needs to turn public perception back in their favor. I will grab this line at -6 before it moves back the other way closer to kickoff.
The Pick: Cleveland Browns -6 (PointsBet)
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Thursday Night Football Betting First Touchdown Picks
First touchdown props are a favorite of mine and a fun way to use a very, very minuscule portion of your bankroll. Here are a few of my favorite selections for tonight.
Nick Chubb +500 (FanDuel)
Austin Hooper +1300 (DraftKings)
Joe Mixon +700 (DraftKings)
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Here are my picks for one of the “More or Less” games at Monkey Knife Fight for tonight’s matchup.
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