The Chicago Bears (1-1) travel to Cleveland this week to take on the Browns (1-1). Although they are also both 1-1 against the spread (ATS), the Browns looked more impressive getting there.
Cleveland came very close to beating Kansas City in Week 1 and, although the Browns looked shaky at times, they did beat Houston with relative ease in Week 2.
Meanwhile, the Bears were humiliated by the Rams in Week 1 and barely held off Cincinnati at home despite intercepting Joe Burrow three times.
But with Cleveland opening as 7.5-point favorites, the market seems surprisingly sharp on Cleveland. So, is it still worth backing the Browns in this spot? Or should we take the Bears to cover for the second straight week?
Let’s take a deeper look at this latest matchup in the NFL pick of the day series.
Please note that all odds are current as of Friday, September 24.
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Bears vs. Browns Prediction
Andy Dalton’s injury is probably being celebrated in Chicago today, as Justin Fields will finally get the start everyone is so excited for.
However, if I was a Bears fan, I’m not ready for Fields yet.
After Dalton was surprisingly successful moving the ball in Week 1, the Red Rifle went 9-for-11 with a touchdown last Sunday before getting hurt. He averaged only 5.1 yards per attempt, but the Bears had the lead.
When Fields came in, however, he went 6-for-13 with an interception, and averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt. He added 31 yards on the ground, but he was sacked three times for a total of 25 yards as well.
It wasn’t all that good. Typical hard-headed football fans will say how Fields “got his team the win.” But how much do QB wins matter when the QB completes 45% of his passes?
On the other side, and despite some questionable play in Week 2, the Browns still look like a top-tier AFC team. The Texans went toe-to-toe with the Browns for most of the game, but there’s one major mismatch in the box score: The run game.
Cleveland ran the ball for 156 yards at 4.6 YPC while allowing Houston just 82 rushing yards at 2.9 YPC. That’s a huge difference that resulted in the Browns dominating the time of possession battle, 35:05 to 24:55. Nick Chubb was the bell-cow, compiling 95 yards and a touchdown on just 11 attempts.
The big question going into this game is if Baker Mayfield’s shoulder is alright. He popped it right back in after dislocating it, and it is his non-throwing shoulder, but it could be cause for concern.
Either way, I like the Browns to get the win here in Week 3. However, I think it’ll be closer than the Vegas oddsmakers make it.
Prediction: Browns 27, Bears 24
Bears vs Browns Best Bets
Best Bet: Bears +7 (-105 on DraftKings)
Following their Week 2 performance, I’m not ready to back the Browns as big favorites again.
The Bears may have uncertainties at quarterback, but as I mentioned, that only makes defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ job harder. Williams and the Browns defense have spent half the week preparing for two different quarterbacks.
During Kevin Stefanski’s 12-6 tenure as Cleveland head coach, the Browns have just a -5 point differential. It’s why they couldn’t cover a big spread last week, and why I don’t expect them to cover one this week.
Whether it was Dalton or Fields at the helm, I’d take the Bears to keep it close. I’d be comfortable playing Chicago down as far as +6.
Be sure to keep an eye on the latest line movements for this game and others with our NFL gameday odds.
Best Bet: Over 44.5 (-110 on DraftKings)
Both of these defenses were gift-wrapped wins in Week 1.
For the Bears: Joe Burrow threw three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown, while Tee Higgins fumbled once. Chicago only allowed 17 points, but was outgained in total yards despite winning the turnover battle 4-to-1.
I’m looking for the Bears defense to take a step back in Week 3.
For the Browns: Their defense got bailed out by the Tyrod Taylor injury. When Taylor left the game, he was 10-for-11 passing with two total touchdowns, and the Texans were tied for the lead.
Hopefully, the Browns’ defense can bounce back from a couple of questionable performances. But early week quarterback uncertainty for Chicago might make Gregg Williams’ preparation more difficult.
So, while the Browns’ offense should continue to be elite, I like the Bears to move the ball a bit as well.
Bears vs Browns Same Game Parlay Picks
Same Game Parlay Odds: (+165) at DraftKings
- Browns Moneyline
- Kareem Hunt Over 34.5 Rushing Yards
- Baker Mayfield Over 199.5 Passing Yards
I think this is a high-scoring affair in which the Browns win. So, I want to back Cleveland in both the passing game and the rushing game.
Hunt is going to be a bigger part of the rushing game going forward. He snagged 51 yards in the game against Houston, but he’s gotten 19 carries to Nick Chubb’s 26 through the first two weeks. The Cleveland offensive line ranks second in Adjusted Line Yards in the early 2021 season, and while I think both running backs are going to see success, I like Hunt to snag 35 yards in this one.
The Bears have an aging defense, but they’re particularly weak in the secondary. Chicago has allowed 7.9 net yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks through two weeks, and given how Baker has been playing, I think he hits the 200-yard mark easily in Week 3.
So, look for the Browns defense to show out in this contest, and for them to pull off the shootout victory.