Chicago Bears quarterback Andy Dalton was supposed to face his former rival in Ohio this Sunday as the Bears (1-1) visit the Cleveland Browns (1-1) at FirstEnergy Stadium at 1 p.m. ET (FOX). The Browns are favored by at least a touchdown for those interested in NFL betting.
Instead, Dalton suffered a knee injury to his former team last Sunday in a 20-17 home-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals and will be on the sidelines.
Former Ohio State star quarterback and rookie Justin Fields will step in as the Bears’ starter. He returns to his college state to make his first NFL career start. Despite Dalton starting in Week 1, Fields entered the season with strong Rookie of the Year odds.
For his first NFL start, Fields' team is a decided Illinois sports betting underdog.
Most sportsbooks, including BetMGM Illinois, have the Browns as 7.5-point favorites. The over/under is 45.5 points with FoxBET and PointsBet Illinois. On the moneyline, the Bears are +390 at BetMGM and the Browns are -333 at PlaySugarHouse.
Fields, the 11th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, completed 6-of-13 passes for 60 yards with one interception and rushed for 31 yards on 10 carries against the Bengals after Dalton’s injury last week.
As Fields learns on the job, the Bears will rely heavily on their defense, and for good reason. Sunday marked Chicago's seventh game since 2018 (most in the NFL) with at least three takeaways and four sacks. Chicago’s record during that span in such games: 7-0.
Mayfield Key for Browns
The Browns used a 10-point third quarter last week to upend the Houston Texans, 31-21, in their home opener.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 19-of-21 passes for 213 yards with one TD and one INT plus had eight carries for 10 yards and a score on the ground. Running back Nick Chubb had 11 carries for 95 yards with one TD and wide receiver Demetric Felton had two receptions for 51 yards and one TD to help the Browns cause.
The Browns are 8-0 in games when Mayfield has a 100+ passer rating since last year and 4-6 when he's below that mark.
Browns Will Cover
Prediction: This is an intriguing matchup on both sides of the ball for Illinois online gambling enthusiasts. The Bears have a rookie QB starting with a lot of promise along with a defense that will support him and keep the team in games. The question is can the rest of the offense help him and step up along with his protection up front?
As Mayfield goes, so goes the Browns. There is immense talent on both sides of the ball for the Browns, but sometimes they don’t play up to that talent. I think it all comes together for Cleveland on Sunday. You will see a lot of Nick Chubb on the ground and the return of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will help boost an already talented receiving group and help the QB too. Look for the Browns defense to keep the Bears under 20 points. Browns 31-17.