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Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Bengals vs. Browns (10/31/2022)

By Michael Savio
October 31, 2022
Photo by: Kirk Irwin - Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns (10/31 @ 8:15 PM EST)

Spread: Bengals -3
Money Line: Bengals -165 / Browns +140
Total: 45

Overview and Betting Info

The Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) are coming to Cleveland Monday night to renew their inter-state rivalry with the Browns (2-5). Cleveland has lost four straight, including three where they were within three points at the end. Conversely, Cincinnati comes in hot, having won four of their last five games.

The Bengals are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games. They’ve gone under the point total in three of those games, including in their previous two.

The Browns are 2-3 against the spread in their last five games. They’ve hit the over three times in their previous five games and have gone over the total in all four home games. They’ve won the last four meetings between the teams.

Cincinnati Bengals

The offense is led by quarterback Joe Burrow, who has 18 combined touchdowns and owns the third-highest completion rate among NFL starters. He’s coming in after a career game against the Falcons, where he threw for 481 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll need to keep it going this week with star receiver Ja’Marr Chase out Monday night. Chase leads the team in every major receiving category, so his absence will be felt. Fortunately, the Bengals have two stellar receivers to fill the void with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. While the former has been dealing with injuries, he’s an elite talent capable of being Burrow’s top option. The duo will be tested more by opposing secondaries in the future, so we’ll see how well they can hold up.

On the ground, pro bowler Joe Mixon has found little-to-no running room this season. He leads the team with just 405 yards and an average of 3.3 per carry. It’s been a shock for a rushing offense commonly among the league’s best. Mixon held a closed-door meeting with the offensive line after last week’s game to try and spark the unit. They’ll be crucial in helping open up a passing game that’s missing its top weapon.

On defense, the Bengal’s secondary has become one of the league’s best units. They’ve allowed just six passing touchdowns and are in the top five in completion percentage, touchdowns, and passing yards allowed. They’ve benefited from the play of safety Vonn Bell, who has a career-high 3 INTs. The secondary will need support from a defensive line that has struggled to contain opposing rushers all season. They face one of the league’s best rushing attacks, making this the key matchup to watch.

Cleveland Browns

Backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett helms the Cleveland offense. He’s struggled early, completing just 62.7% of his passes for six touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s yet to have more than 22 completions in a game (Burrow has 6) and has had his most successful outings when he’s asked to pass 30 times or less. Brissett will be further hindered this week by the loss of tight end David Njoku, who combines with Amari Cooper to lead the team in receptions. He’s been a crucial safety blanket for Brissett, so it will be on Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones to get more involved. Peoples-Jones has been involved in the offense a lot more over the last four games, so don’t be surprised if we see him thrive with Njoku out.

Luckily for the Browns, an elite running game supports their struggling pass offense. They have one of the NFL’s top running backs, Nick Chubb, and he’s having another big year with 750 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. The Bengals have struggled against the run and will likely stack the box, but that may not be enough to stop Chubb. If he can find his way to another big game, it should help open things up for Brissett to find success.

The Brown’s defense played better last week at Baltimore, but they allowed 30+ points in back-to-back games in their previous two games. The defense may get a boost Monday night with the return of Jadeveon Clowney. If he can play, he’ll join Myles Garrett (6 sacks) to form one of the most feared pass rushes in the league. With Chase out for the Bengals, we may see Burrow holding onto the ball a bit longer, leaving him vulnerable to these two sack masters.

Free Pick: Bengals -3

We believe the Browns will make this a close game at home, but we are rolling with the Bengals here. While the loss of Chase hurts, Boyd and Higgins will fill the void. We see Mixon’s player-only meeting paying off with a 100+ yard day and at least one touchdown. That’s a recipe for their third-consecutive 30-point game, which is something the Browns have only achieved once. Chubb will get his yards on the ground, but Brissett must still make plays against a great Cincinnati secondary. Without Njoku, we don’t think Brissett and Browns passing game can keep up.

We’re laying the points to take the Bengals against the spread. 

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