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No Burrow or Mixon Turns Bengals Into 5.5-Point Underdogs vs Browns – See Bengals vs Browns Line Movement

Michael Harrison

by Michael Harrison in NFL Football

Jan 5, 2022 · 11:57 AM PST

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) hands off to running back Joe Mixon (28) during an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
  • The Cleveland Browns are 5.5 point favorites hosting the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, January 9th
  • The line took a drastic turn after Joe Burrow was ruled out and Joe Mixon hit the COVID-19 list
  • Will the spread continue to move and what’s the best bet? Odds and analysis are here

The final week of the NFL regular season is upon us, which is the time of year clubs tend to rest starters to keep them fresh for the playoffs or shut down players if their postseason hopes are dashed. That has happened in the Bengals vs Browns game, where key cogs will sit out the finale.

The NFL Week 18 opening odds had the Browns as 3-point favorites, but as of Tuesday, the pendulum swung to Cincinnati as 3-point favorites. That has been totally flipped upside down yet again.

The NFL Odds are ever changing, so be sure to follow along to see the line movement for this, and every game. Before the news came out about Cincy not having the services of two of their star players, NFL public betting trends saw a whopping 88% of bettors were on them against the spread.

Bengals vs Browns Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Bengals +185 +5.5 (-110) Over 38 (-110)
Browns -225 -5.5 (-110) Under 38 (-110)

Odds as of January 5th at FanDuel

The spread for the game has changed considerably, from Cleveland as a 3-point favorite, then switching to Browns being 3-point underdogs with the news that Baker Mayfield won’t play. That has reversed course yet again as the Browns are 5.5 point favorites.

Bengals Without Key Players

Joe Burrow injured his knee late in the thrilling victory over the Chiefs in Week 17, which allowed the Bengals to clinch their first AFC North crown since 2015. As a precaution, he’s being held out for the final regular season game to ensure he’ll be better for the postseason. Running back Joe Mixon, who was named to his first Pro Bowl for his efforts this year, also won’t play as he was placed on the COVID-19 list.

Mixon is joined by offensive linemen Trey Hopkins and Quinton Spain, along with DE Trey Hendrickson, S Vonn Bell and LB Akeem Davis-Gaither on the COVID-19 list. Notable Browns who are questionable to play the finale including RB’s Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, TE David Njoku, DT Malik Jackson, along with CB’s Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams.

Expect the line to be moving as it gets closer to Sunday, with the report that there might be other Bengal key players taking the day off.

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What Bengals Have To Play For

Believe it or not, the Bengals actually still have a great deal to play for in their postseason positioning on Sunday. Though it’s unlikely, they could rise all the way up to the #1 seed and earn a first round bye.

If they win, the Titans and Chiefs both lose (To Houston and Denver), then either the Bills defeat the Jets or the Patriots lose to Miami, they get top seed. The fact that it’s extremely unlikely all those things would happen is probably why Burrow isn’t lacing up his cleats Sunday in order to get healthier.

A more realistic scenario is them getting seeds 2-4. Currently Cincy is third. They could jump up a notch if they win, the Bills win or Patriots lose and one of the Chiefs or Titans lose while the other wins. The likelihood is that they remain the #3 seed, and that can be achieved with a victory and a Bills win or a Pats loss.

The Pick

It won’t exactly be the fantastic billing that it could have been a few weeks ago. A Burrow vs Baker showdown for the division title could’ve been pretty exciting. Instead, we get a pair of journeymen backup QB’s.

With both teams fielding backups and the Bengals still holding out hope for a bump up in the standings, they still have a measure to play for, so taking the points at +5.5 is awfully enticing.

However, Case Keenum has much more experience and success than Brandon Allen, the Bengals may rest other key stars, plus Cleveland has won six of the last seven against their state rivals.

  • The Pick: Browns Moneyline (-225)
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