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Bengals vs. Browns odds, predictions: Count on red-hot Joe Burrow to deliver

Even without top wideout Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati should continue its spread-covering ways

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow enters Monday night's game at Cleveland having passed for 781 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow enters Monday night's game at Cleveland having passed for 781 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)Read moreTodd Olszewski / Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals opened the season looking like a team trying to shake off a Super Bowl hangover, as they lost back-to-back games as a 7-point favorite. Since then, though, the Bengals have sobered up with four victories in their last five contests.

But just when it appeared Cincinnati was off and running, along came some crushing news: Top wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase will be sidelined up to six weeks with a hip injury.

How much does the loss of Chase sway our wagering opinion for the Bengals’ Monday Night Football showdown at instate rival Cleveland? Probably not as much as you might think. Here’s how we’re betting Bengals vs. Browns, which caps Week 8 of the NFL campaign.

Note: Odds updated as of 1 a.m. ET on Oct. 31.

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Bengals vs. Browns Prediction

  1. Bengals -3, -120 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

Bengals vs. Browns Prediction: Analysis

Fifteen catches, 262 yards and four touchdowns. That’s what Chase delivered in the last two weeks, with Cincinnati riding that impressive production to a pair of victories over the Saints (30-26 on the road) and Falcons (35-17 at home).

So, yeah, not having access to one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons is gonna hurt the Bengals. But it shouldn’t be a death knell, at least not Monday night against the floundering Browns.

Because while the Bengals have been on a roll, Cleveland has dropped four in a row and five of its last six. That includes three straight home losses to the Jets, Chargers and Patriots.

The silver lining? Four of the Browns’ five losses were by a total of nine points. Throw in a 26-24 season-opening victory at Carolina, and five of the team’s seven games have been decided by a field goal or less.

So why not grab the points Monday night — especially with Chase in street clothes? Because Burrow is scalding hot; he’s still got plenty of help around him; and he’s facing a generous Browns defense that entered Week 8 ranked 29th in the league in points allowed (26.6 per game).

» READ MORE: Eagles open as huge favorite over Texans ahead of Thursday Night Football game

Let’s start with Burrow. He’s passed for 275 yards or more and tossed multiple touchdowns in five of seven games. His numbers in the last two weeks alone: 62-for-79 passing (78.5%), 781 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. In fact, since a four-INT debacle in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, Burrow has been picked off just once in 217 passes.

And while Chase (47 catches, 605 yards, six TDs) has been Burrow’s primary target, he hasn’t been the only one. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have 29 and 31 catches, respectively; each has 455 receiving yards; and each is averaging more yards per catch (15.7 and 14.7) than Chase (12.9).

Cleveland’s offense, meanwhile, has tailed off. After averaging 28.3 points in the first three games, the Browns have put up 20.8 points in the last four (including 20 or fewer three times). And even though quarterback Jacoby Brissett played a clean game last week in Baltimore (22-for-27 for 258 yards), he still has twice as many interceptions the past four games (four) as he does TD passes (two).

Finally, with or without Chase, we are in no hurry to step in front of the spread-covering machine that has been the Bengals. Not only has Cincinnati cashed in all five games during its current 4-1 SU run, but as we noted in our Week 8 NFL trends report, the Bengals are on a 13-2 ATS run dating to last December (playoffs included). That includes an 8-1 ATS mark on the road.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

On the other hand, Cleveland has cashed just once in four home games this season and just four times in its last 17 AFC North tilts. The Browns are also 3-12 ATS in the last 15 meetings against their Ohio rivals and 1-7 ATS in the last eight series clashes in Cleveland.

If there’s one concern about backing Cincinnati, it’s stopping the run. The Bengals have been bulldozed two of the last three weeks and will be facing one of the league’s best rushing offenses Monday.

However, we trust that Cincy will install a fairly simple defensive game plan: Load the box and force Brissett to beat them with his arm. And we don’t see that happening.

Lay the field goal with the Bengals at Caesars Sportsbook.

Bengals vs. Browns Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook)

  1. Point spread: Bengals (-3, -120) @ Browns (+3, +100)

  2. moneyline: Bengals (-165) @ Browns (+140)

  3. Total: 45

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.