Week 8 in the NFL concludes with the Battle of Ohio as the surging Cincinnati Bengals visit the struggling Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns
Monday, October 31, 2022 – 08:15 PM EDT at FirstEnergy Stadium
Halloween night football on ESPN! There is a ManningCast again this week as well.
Sometimes, results in a series don’t make sense. Cincinnati was clearly better than Cleveland last season as the Bengals finished 10-7 and won the AFC North.
They of course would then make a fairly surprising run to the Super Bowl and nearly upset the Los Angeles Rams in it.
Cleveland was a 2021 disappointment at 8-9 and missed the playoffs, which led to Baker Mayfield’s departure this offseason and the trade for Deshaun Watson.
Yet, the Browns were 2-0 vs. the Bengals, although you can really throw out the game in Cleveland as it was Week 18 and Cincinnati rested Joe Burrow and most of its starters because it was locked into its playoff seed.
Brandon Allen started at QB and he was predictably bad. Mayfield didn’t play, either, as Case Keenum threw for two scores. The Browns rushed for 205 yards.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 51-46 but has lost the past four. The underdog is 5-0 against the spread on NFL picks in the past five meetings.
Burrow Going Ballistic
I absolutely believe in a Super Bowl Hangover, whether it was the team that won or lost that game.
The Bengals were tough-luck losers the first two weeks this season as Joe Burrow had a few issues and wasn’t being protected well, but Cincinnati is 4-1 since and Burrow looks fantastic.
On Sunday, the Bengals had no trouble in beating the visiting Falcons 35-17 as Burrow completed 34 of 42 pass attempts (81 percent) for 481 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 138.2 rating and added a rushing touchdown.
He became the third player in NFL history with at least 475 passing yards, three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown in a single game, joining Norm Van Brocklin (Sept. 28, 1951) and Billy Volek (Dec. 19, 2004). Billy Volek?
Burrow also became the first QB to have five games of 400 yards or more in his first three seasons. It was the second time in his career Burrow created more than 500 total yards (rushed for 20) and four total touchdowns and became the only player in NFL history to do that twice.
To no surprise, he was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, the third time in the former Heisman winner’s career he has gotten that honor. Burrow has tied Jeff Blake and Andy Dalton for the second-most Player of the Week awards ever by a Bengals quarterback. Only Boomer Esiason (nine-time winner) has more.
Tyler Boyd had eight catches for a career-high 155 yards and a TD in the win, and Ja’Marr Chase eight catches for 130 yards and two scores.
Bengals Make History
It was the first time two Bengals receivers got 100 yards in a half since Sept. 18, 2011 in Denver when A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson did it. Since 2021, Chase leads the NFL with five 50-plus TDs and Boyd is second with four. Burrow nearly had three 100-yard receivers as Tee Higgins came up seven yards short.
Maybe you don’t think of the Cincinnati defense as one of the NFL’s best, but that unit is allowing just 18.9 ppg and has yet to surrender a second-half touchdown this season, the first team since the 2000 Ravens to do that through the first seven weeks and only the third team since the merger. That Baltimore team won the Super Bowl.
The Bengals played Sunday without nose tackles D.J. Reader and Josh Tupou and middle linebacker Logan Wilson. Top pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson suffered a neck stinger in the win but did have a sack.
It sounds like Reader will miss this game, but that Hendrickson and Wilson are trending in the right direction. Cincinnati is 9-1 ATS on the NFL odds in its past 10 after a win and 8-1 ATS in its past nine on the road.
Browns Heading South
Cleveland will get Deshaun Watson back from his 11-game suspension in Week 13 in Houston, but the team might be all but eliminated from playoff contention by then at 2-5 and on a four-game skid.
I don’t expect the Browns to win here. Then it’s their bye week, followed by trips to Miami and Buffalo and a home game vs. Tampa Bay before Watson’s return. Cleveland will be an underdog in all those games.
Jacoby Brissett hasn’t been awful, but he’s a clear backup. In Sunday’s 23-20 loss in Baltimore, he was 22-for-27 for 258 yards but no TDs.
The Browns have had special teams mistakes all season and had another late in that game when a false start penalty moved a potential tying field-goal attempt from 56 yards to 61. It was blocked.
No. 1 tight end David Njoku injured his ankle after making seven catches for 71 yards and will miss 2-5 weeks. Starting linebacker Jacob Phillips likely will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury.
He leads the defense with 46 tackles, a career-high, and has also recorded two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits.
Phillips had taken over signal-calling duties after captain Anthony Walker Jr. suffered a season-ending quadriceps injury in Week 3.
The new starter likely will be Deion Jones, who was acquired from Atlanta via trade Oct. 10. Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward didn’t play as he remains in concussion protocol and is not expected back for this one.
With the Trade Deadline next Tuesday, don’t rule out the Browns dealing unhappy No. 2 running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt's $1.35 million salary is attractive to other teams.
He has 66 carries for 263 yards and three scores, but doesn’t get many touches behind star Nick Chubb.
I refuse to bet an NFL game with a spread of 3.5 points as so many finish with a margin of just 3. Let’s that out of the equation and simply take Cincinnati on the moneyline.
Trust the Bengals to win more than I do them to cover 3.5 if that makes sense.
Score Prediction: Bengals 28 - Browns 24
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.