During the final weekend of the 2022 NFL preseason, the Cleveland Browns (1-1) host the Chicago Bears (2-0) on Saturday.
The Browns’ quarterback picture has been tumultuous. Cleveland traded disgruntled QB Baker Mayfield after acquiring Deshaun Watson, who has been suspended 11 games after the league appealed a softer punishment handed down in disciplinary hearings.
Chicago has experienced its own changes, with the arrival of new head coach Matt Eberflus and letting franchise wideout Allen Robinson walk in free agency.
Eberflus said Bears starters, including QB Justin Fields, will play around 25-30 plays up until the first half. The Browns’ plans are less clear, though Watson won’t play.
Read for the best Chicago vs Cleveland betting picks for this AFC vs NFC exhibition.
Tim Heaney’s 2022 NFL preseason betting record: 2-1, +0.72 units
Bears vs Browns Odds
Bookmakers unsurprisingly favor the home-field Browns in these NFL odds, given their deeper squad.
Bears vs Browns Implied Score
Browns 22.5, Bears 18
This Bears-Browns Over/Under might be underselling Chicago, which has averaged 23 points scored, compared to 12.5 allowed. Cleveland has held its own, lighting up the scoreboard with 22 points per game.
Bears vs Browns Pick of the Day
Read more on this Bears vs Browns bet below.
Bears vs Browns Matchup
Cleveland has been a slightly more efficient club this preseason, netting a -0.01 EPA per run and -0.06 per pass, compared to -0.11 and -0.12, respectively, for Chicago.
Presumptive starting Browns QB Jacoby Brissett will likely not play in this final tune-up, but backup Joshua Dobbs has made his own noise (24-for-33, 249 yards, 2 TD in two games) and should keep Cleveland competitive.
Dobbs holds the backup signal-caller advantage over Chicago’s Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman.
Cleveland’s second- and third-string wideouts comprise intriguing names fighting for work among Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Bell, and Anthony Schwartz.
The backup running backs in this game could steal the show, though. The Bears (Khalil Herbert) and Browns (D’Ernest Johnson) boast a reserve carrier talented enough to start for many other NFL squads.
If the Browns decide to play devastating pass-rushing duo Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney against Fields and the first team, Cleveland could run away with this one early.
Bears vs Browns Prediction
Browns 23, Bears 20
Fields will dictate the pace as long as he’s active. However, for the second-half flip, I’ll give the advantage to Dobbs and Cleveland’s backup skill players and nudge the cumulative scoring slightly above where the books set the total.
Bears vs Browns Bet Tips
While Eberflus has split his first two preseason games as a head coach, Stefanski has stood out with a 4-1 record in the preseason across his two seasons leading Cleveland.
Bears vs Browns Best Bets
Over 40.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Over/Under totals in general have climbed with each week of the preseason — unsurprising, given that teams take a week or two to find a rhythm. I’ll hop on board that trend for this NFL pick of the day.
The competence and experience of both teams’ backup quarterbacks should allow the offenses to keep things moving, and both clubs have depth skill players that should trample backup defenders effectively.