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NFL Schedule Week 1 – Game info

2023 NFL Regular Season Game
Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) vs Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Date: Sunday, Sept. 10
Time: 1:00: p.m. ET
Venue: Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: NFL+

The NFL regular season has finally arrived, and it feels good to once again be making NFL picks and predictions ahead of the upcoming Week 1 matchups.

Our first featured game for the 2023 season is the all-Ohio clash between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, which will see Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and Co. head north to Cleveland to visit the Browns.

The quarterback situation will be a hot topic for both teams in this game. Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson needs to regain his top form quickly after his slow return to football in 2022. Meanwhile, Burrow isn't quite at 100 percent yet after suffering a calf strain early in the Bengals’ training camp.

Let’s take a look at this matchup to see how it might turn out. I’ll also be making picks and predictions for this opening-week game on Sunday.

Bengals vs Browns Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under - NFL Odds Week 1

Moneyline: Cincinnati Bengals -140, Cleveland Browns +120
Spread: Bengals -2.5 (-110), Browns +2.5 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 47.5 points

Bengals vs Browns Preview 

The Cincinnati Bengals, who reached the Super Bowl two seasons ago, will be striving to get back there in 2023. They head into this season as a solid favorite to win the AFC North division. Head coach Zac Taylor’s team could get its new year off to a flying start by scoring a Week 1 divisional win over the Browns, who will be hoping for a much smoother season than what they experienced in 2022.

Browns QB Deshaun Watson came in cold last year after serving a lengthy suspension. He had been kept away from the team until he was permitted to play in a game, so it was no surprise that things looked a little disconnected down the stretch.

It’s a different story in 2023. After getting an entire summer and preseason camp with Cincinnati under his belt, Watson will look to remind football fans of the player he once was.

The Browns quarterback will have an opportunity to test a new-look Bengals secondary that lost two of its best players to free agency during the offseason. Both Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell signed elsewhere, meaning the patrol team on the back end of the Bengals defense will feature fresh blood in 2023. Dax Hill, a 2022 first-round draft pick, will step into one of those starting roles. The soon-to-be 23-year-old will need to perform at a high level to make up for what could otherwise be considered the weakness of a starting lineup expected to contend for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Additions to Cincinnati’s offensive line for a second straight year will hopefully result in even better protection for quarterback Joe Burrow in his quest to take the Bengals back to the big game.

Cincinnati has brought in Orlando Brown Jr. to protect Burrow’s blind side, which was a problem last season when the team got off to a slow start that featured some terrible performances from the offensive line. This year, Cincinnati’s linemen can make an opening-week statement by stonewalling a Browns pass rush that features Myles Garrett and newly added Za’Darius Smith.

Bengals vs Browns Predictions & NFL Picks Week 1

It certainly feels like the outcome of this game will largely depend on each team’s performance in the trenches. The Bengals spent a lot of money on their offensive line prior to the 2022 season but found it took several weeks for the whole thing to click into place.

This year, Cincinnati wants to quickly get its offensive line on track, particularly since Joe Burrow is already dealing with injuries.

Cleveland’s secondary has good corners, so watching Bengals receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins go up against Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II should be fun.

If the Bengals' offensive line can hold up, and Joe Burrow can establish the early connections we've become accustomed to with these new-look Bengals, Cincinnati should come away from this game with a win.

I’ll take the Bengals to cover the 2.5-point spread. They were 12-3-1 against the spread last season -- a bettor’s dream -- so here’s to them starting hot once again in 2023.

The Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 (-120)

If Deshaun Watson and the Browns offense need a few weeks to really get rolling, we might see them take part in some low-scoring contests to start the season.

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb could, of course, spark a much higher Week 1 scoring output, but the Bengals have done a good job in solidifying their defensive front to deal with the league’s top rushers.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense are capable of scoring 40-plus points on any given Sunday. We have seen that happen many times, but I like this Browns secondary a lot. Cleveland is well-positioned to make a statement against one of the league's most explosive offenses, and while the Bengals will likely win, the Browns DBs could still look pretty good.

I expect the Bengals to win this game, and I like the under for total points.

The Pick: Under 47.5 Points (-110)

Best NFL Player Prop Bets Today for Week 1

Ja’Marr Chase

The Cleveland Browns have a very talented secondary that will make life difficult for the Bengals on Sunday.

Last year, Cleveland ranked among the NFL’s top five teams in yards yielded to wide receivers, giving up just 132.8 per game. They were also one of the league’s top two teams when it came to per-game receptions by opposing wide receivers. There is no doubt that Cleveland covers receivers extremely well.

Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase is undoubtedly going to have a great year, and he did manage 119 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Browns last season. However, Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward has been thriving in training camp, and should do a better job containing the Chase threat in Sunday’s opener.

I'll bet on the under for Ja'Marr's receiving yards in this first week, since I anticipate a competitive matchup between Chase and Ward on Sunday.

The Pick: Ja’Marr Chase Under 78.5 Receiving Yards (-141)

Deshaun Watson

I don’t mean to sound too pessimistic when making opening-week predictions, but I see another under on the horizon for this game.

Cleveland QB Deshaun Watson did not exactly light up the NFL when he returned to football last season. It takes time for any QB to connect with his receivers and regain his past performance level. Given the pressure Watson could face from a very effective Bengals front seven, I don’t expect too many fireworks from the Browns QB in Week 1.

Apart from Amari Cooper and, arguably, Donovan Peoples-Jones, the Browns receivers are unproven. Rookie Cedric Tillman could break into the lineup as a big-body receiver, and the franchise has high hopes for former New York Jets wideout Elijah Moore, but we have yet to see how that will actually play out.

Watson’s line for passing yards in this game is likely a little high, particularly since he will be facing a secondary that is young and largely unknown. Unless Amari Cooper goes off for 130-plus yards, I feel great backing Watson to go under in Week 1 as running back Nick Chubb does more of the work on the ground.

The Pick: Deshaun Watson Under 235.5 Passing Yards (-115)

Best Same Game Parlay Picks for Bengals vs Browns Week 1: 2-Leg Parlay Pick (+260)

Point Spread

Leg 1: Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 (-120)

Total Points

Leg 2: Under 47.5 Points (-110)

Odds are subject to change* 

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