Cleveland Browns Favored in NFL’s 100th Birthday Bash

Posted on: September 17, 2020, 07:13h. 

Last updated on: September 17, 2020, 09:45h.

Happy birthday, NFL.

The Week 2 matchup between the NFL’s two Ohio teams, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, will pay tribute to a critical meeting between 15 future franchise leaders that took place on Sept. 17, 1920, in Canton, Ohio. Halftime programming will originate from Canton.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has won three of four starts against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Image: Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports)

This is not exactly the finest matchup ever presented on NFL Network. Cleveland is 0-1 after getting blasted 38-6 by the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati also is 0-1, having lost 16-13 to the Los Angeles Chargers when it missed a chip-shot field goal that would have forced overtime.

Browns by 6

When Westgate SuperBook released its “lookahead” lines last week, the host Browns were 7.5-point favorites over the team that finished with the worst record in the NFL last season. However, the Week 1 results took a bite out of the spread.

It’s always interesting to look back after the games to see the perception and what’s changed,” said Ed Salmons, the vice president of risk management at Westgate SuperBook, to “Next week, the Packers play at the Saints on Sunday night, so we put that game up at Saints -6.5. Obviously, next week, based on how each team plays and injuries, things will get adjusted.

“Last week, it was Browns by 7.5. I think even though Cincinnati lost, they showed some parts in that game where you can see a lot of promise on the offense. Cleveland just got steamrolled by Baltimore and looked really bad, and (quarterback Baker) Mayfield looked awful again. I could see this line continuing to move downward. It wouldn’t surprise me if it went down as low as five.”

It hasn’t quite gotten that low, though it did dip to 5.5 a couple times on Wednesday before bouncing back to six as of Thursday morning. With most bets on Thursday night games taking place the day of the game, the line could be fluid.

Burrow vs. Mayfield

The Bengals used the No. 1 overall draft pick on quarterback Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy last year at LSU and is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. In his debut, Burrow passed for 193 yards and rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown, becoming the second quarterback to rush for at least 40 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut since 1970.

Burrow’s over/under is 239.5 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns at DraftKings. Standout running back Joe Mixon’s over/under is 75.5 rushing yards.

In four career games vs. Cincinnati, Mayfield has a 100.5 rating and 11 touchdowns (10 passing, one rushing), his most touchdown passes vs. any opponent. His play will be critical for the retooling Browns, who have missed the playoffs for 17 consecutive seasons.

Browns receivers Jarvis Landry (1,174 receiving yards) and Odell Beckmam Jr. (1,035) were one of six pairs of teammates each with at least 1,000 receiving yards last season. There are trade rumors swirling around Beckham after he caught just 3-of-10 passes for 22 yards last week.

Mayfield’s over/under is 240.5 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns at DraftKings. Beckham’s over/under is 61.5 yards.

Thursday’s game will be No. 15,771 since the NFL’s first contest in 1920. Over the past century, 60 cities have hosted 78 franchises. Including Burrow and the rest of the rookie class, 25,488 people have played in at least one NFL game. This will be the 94th meeting between Cleveland and Cincinnati, with the Bengals holding a 51-42 advantage.