NFL

Thursday Night Football Betting Preview: Will It Be the Bengals or Browns Getting Their First Win of 2020?

While it may have looked a little dicey at times this offseason, the NFL season is here! Thursday Night Football opens Week 2, and we get an AFC North clash between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Lock In the Under

If Week 1 was any indicator, points are going to be at a premium in tonight's contest in Cleveland, and the over/under is set accordingly, with FanDuel Sportsbook putting the total at 43.5 points.

Chalk it up to opponents with solid defensive units, or perhaps it is just taking some time for these offenses to hit their stride, but both units were downright ugly last Sunday. The Browns were held to a single touchdown and barely cracked 300 yards of total offense (306), while the Bengals tallied their only touchdown on a Joe Burrow 22-yard rushing scamper and mustered only 295 total yards. By our numbers, both offenses are in the bottom three in the league.

The pace is not on the side of this being a shootout, either. It's only one week, but both teams rank in the middle of the pack in pace so far in 2020. If we lean on what they did a year ago for a more meaningful sample, Cincinnati ranked seventh in pace but Cleveland was fifth-slowest.

In Cincinnati's last eight road games, they've nailed the under in six of the contests. In their last seven primetime games, the Browns have hit the under in all seven of them. Expect another low-scoring game tonight.

Other Bets to Consider

Looking at oddsFire, the public is backing Cincy as 66% of all bets on the spread have come in on Cincinnati -- although only 47% of the cash is on the Bengals' side.

Be careful, as looks and tendencies can be a bit perplexing from only one week. Our algorithm likes Cleveland to cover the 6.5-point spread 52.7% of the time. Even though Cleveland looked pretty poor a week ago, that came against a Baltimore Ravens team that might be the best in the NFL.

If you want to get super spicy, consider a Joe Mixon rushing yard prop. Most books have set his over/under around 70 yards, but the Browns were gashed by a multitude of runners a week ago, and Mixon closed 2019 with at least 135 rushing yards in three of his last four games.

Historical Betting Trends

-- The Bengals were a very poor against-the-spread (ATS) in 2019, posting a 6-10 mark.

-- Unfortunately, the Browns weren't anything to get excited about, either, going 7-9 ATS.

-- In games between these two divisional opponents, the Bengals have absolutely dominated as of late, going 8-3 straight-up and 9-2 ATS in the last 11 matchups.

-- Cincy has lost their last 13 road games.