Bengals vs. Browns Week 8 matchup preview and current betting lines
The Cincinnati Bengals (4-3) can crush the soul of their in-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns, if they can drop them to 2-6 on Monday night. Few quarterbacks are throwing it better right now than Joe Burrow, who has 12 touchdowns against one interception since Week 3. The 0-2 start is buried in the past, but this team still needs to get its first win over the Browns since 2019 after getting swept the last two seasons.
Despite the record, Cleveland has been very competitive in every game but the New England loss. But the Browns are tied for the NFL lead with three blown fourth-quarter leads this season. Cleveland is also 1-11 when allowing at least 23 points over the last two seasons.
Cleveland’s offense has been surprisingly good at moving the ball with Jacoby Brissett as the starting quarterback, but his play in crunch time leaves a lot to be desired. If he was better at game-winning drives and not throwing crucial interceptions or setting up a rookie kicker on a field goal around 60 yards, the Browns would be right in the mix for the division lead right now.
But a frustrating start can be turned around with an upset here. The NFL Week 8 odds have the Bengals as a 3-point road favorite with a total of 45.5 points in this matchup.
Players to watch in the Bengals vs. Browns game
Tyler Boyd: With Ja’Marr Chase (hip) out, Tyler Boyd moves up to the No. 2 receiver position, a spot he would hold on most teams in the NFL if not for Chase and Tee Higgins. Boyd just had a career-high 155 yards against Atlanta and is poised to play a huge role for this team after the Chase injury.
Myles Garrett: He has not sacked a quarterback in a Cleveland win since he got Baker Mayfield down twice in Week 1. Garrett has six of his team’s 14 sacks, but between the disappointing on-field performance of this team and a car accident, he is not in the Defensive Player of the Year mix like expected. He has a sack in six of seven meetings with the Bengals and will have to play huge here for the upset.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Bengals vs. Browns game
We have two NFL Week 8 predictions for this Monday night clash in the AFC North.
Bengals vs. Browns Point Spread Pick: Browns +3 (+100)
The Bengals vs. Browns spread opened with the Bengals as a 2.5-point road favorite before moving up to 3.5, then back down a half point after the news that Ja’Marr Chase has a hip injury that will keep him out for several weeks.
With or without Chase, when it comes to playing the Bengals, it so often comes down to putting pressure on Burrow. The third-year quarterback is 2-9-1 when he gets pressured at least 12 times in a game, including a 41-16 loss at home to Cleveland last year when he was sacked five times.
But the Browns are one of eight defenses that are currently not getting pressure on 20% of snaps. Burrow has played four of the bottom teams in this area, and that includes a Pittsburgh team that hasn’t had T.J. Watt since he terrorized Burrow in Week 1. The opener was also the last time Burrow threw multiple interceptions in a game he still should have won if not for the short kick miscues.
Rushing leader Nick Chubb is usually good for one explosive game against the Bengals each year, but the Browns are going to miss injured tight end David Njoku, who has been a real threat the last month.
A prideful night by Garrett and the defense at home is not hard to imagine, but this probably would have been an easy choice of Cincinnati to cover before the Chase news hit on Thursday. He is such a playmaker after the catch and he has a big impact on making things easier for his teammates. So, we are going to flip our gut pick and go with the Browns to cover this one for an NFL bet of the week.
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Second Half Spread: Bengals -1 (-105)
We know the Bengals have been a bit of a front-runner team under head coach Zac Taylor. They are at their best when the passing game is clicking early, Burrow is in rhythm, and they just jump out to big leads and hold them up for wins.
That is most ideal in this matchup against Chubb and the run-minded Browns. Make Brissett throw should be the goal of any defense, which is probably why Chubb faces so many loaded boxes. Still, he has his success because he is that good behind his line.
But the Browns are a team that has blown three fourth-quarter leads this year, tied for the most in the NFL. We know the Browns keep most games close, but they also lose most of them too.
Without Chase, we actually like the game script to flip on this one. The Browns come out on fire and playing with desperation to avoid 2-6 while the Bengals look out of sorts on offense without Chase. But if you look at game scripts this year, the Bengals have been an elite second-half team:
- Cincinnati has been outscored 95-102 in the first halves of games, but the Bengals are outscoring teams 78-27 in the second half.
- Cincinnati’s 27 points allowed after halftime is second best in the NFL (Buffalo, 17).
- Cleveland has been outscored 101-77 after halftime.
- The 101 second-half points allowed by the Browns are tied for the second most this season.
Look for the Bengals to win the second half of this game as the passing game catches on later and it’s up to the Browns to hang on late in the game to avoid another loss.bet on NFL with draftkings >
Frequently asked questions about the Bengals vs. Browns game in week 8
The game is being played at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
Since 2020, Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski is a league-worst 4-11 ATS (26.7%) in division games. But he is 4-0 SU against the Bengals.
Since 2019, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor is a respectable 11-8-1 ATS (57.9%) in division games. But Taylor is 9-5 ATS (64.3%) in division games since drafting Burrow in 2020.
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