Browns vs. Ravens Betting Picks & Odds: Use Baltimore in Teasers?
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6).
Browns at Ravens Betting Odds
- Spread: Ravens -6.5
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).
Hopes were high in Cleveland to start the year, but the Browns find themselves 1-2 and a near touchdown underdog in Week 4 to the Ravens. Baltimore, meanwhile, has only a Kansas City loss on its resume and will look to keep momentum going.
Read below for Sean Koerner’s projected odds, injuries to watch, notable mismatches and our staff’s favorite betting picks.
Browns-Ravens Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Ravens
Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (knee) is likely out again after failing to practice this week so far. TE Mark Andrews continues to battle a foot injury and missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday — the first time this season he’s missed consecutive practices.
The Browns are in brutal shape with five players missing practices on Thursday, including three injuries to the secondary in CBs Denzel Ward (hamstring), Greedy Williams (hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (quad). Williams owns one of the best Pro Football Focus coverage grades on the team, which could make it a very long day for the Browns defense. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Ravens Rushing Defense vs. Browns Rushing Attack
One of the most disappointing parts of Cleveland’s season has been its lack of rushing success. The Browns rank just 25th in Football Outsiders’ run offense DVOA despite returning running back Nick Chubb, who totaled 996 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on just 192 carries in 2018.
The Ravens have won the last three home games against the Browns with an average margin of victory of 12.3 points. In those games, Cleveland has 48 rushes for a total of 176 yards (3.67 yards per carry) with no rushing touchdowns.
The Browns have struggled mightily to find success on short third- and fourth-down runs, ranking 28th in Power Success.
The Browns need to keep the Ravens’ pressure defense off balance, as their offensive line has been even worse in pass blocking. They rank just 25th in pass protection, and Baker Mayfield is currently 29th among all quarterbacks in fantasy points per dropback. Cleveland must find success on the ground to enable Mayfield to jumpstart the disappointing offense.
Teams struggle to run in Baltimore, which translates to a lack of sustained drives. With Lamar Jackson guiding an explosive Ravens offense, Cleveland will need to dominate time of possession. Baltimore linebacker Pernell McPhee and safeties Tony Jefferson and Earl Thomas have been strong against the run all season.
If the Browns want to avoid a 1-3 start, they need to find a way to run the ball successfully in a tough AFC North venue. — Mike Randle
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Ravens -6
- Projected Total: 45.5
Last week I said it was time to buy low on the Browns. Unfortunately, as game-time approached, the Browns realized they were going to be without multiple defensive backs. It’s always a concern when you get a cluster of injuries like that.
To make matters worse, their play-calling was again a major issue in their 20-13 loss to the Rams. We could see Freddie Kitchens surrender those responsibilities to offensive coordinator Todd Monken in the near future.
I expected the Browns to struggle early on, so I’m not overreacting too much to their poor start. Getting +7 in this spot will offer some value if Morgan Burnett, Damarious Randall and Denzel Ward are all able to suit up this week. — Sean Koerner
Stuckey: Why I’m Using Ravens in Teasers
There’s three things you can take to the grave: Death, taxes and the Ravens beating the Browns.
The Ravens have dominated this divisional matchup. The last time the Browns won in regulation in Baltimore was 2002. (Their two wins there over that span have both come in overtime.) John Harbaugh also boasts a 10-1 record at home against the Browns.
What does that mean for this game? Not much on the surface, but the Ravens are using it to play the disrespect card after hearing all of the Browns hype in the offseason.
This is a statement game for Baltimore.
Both teams are dealing with key injuries.
With Smith likely out again and corner Tavon Young on IR, the Ravens’ secondary is left very thin. Anthony Averett has had to fill in on the outside, which has not gone well for the 2018 fourth-round draft pick. He’s blown assignments and been out of place, and it’s a major reason for Baltimore’s 27th ranked pass defense. (There are other communication issues in the defensive backfield that the Ravens need to straighten out, in fairness.)
However, it looks like the Browns won’t have the services of wide receiver Rashard Higgins once again — and I think the Browns offense really misses him (as well as Njoku, who could have given Baltimore fits). Damion Ratley is a guy Averett can actually stick with, while the Ravens are solid in the slot with Brandon Carr and on the outside at their No. 1 corner spot with Brandon Humphrey.
Meanwhile, the Browns secondary is in much worse shape and could be without three of their four starters this week. Even if Andrews can’t go for Baltimore — which would certainly be noteworthy despite the depth at the position — both quarterbacks should have opportunities downfield.
But this game boils down to is the trenches, where the Ravens have a significant edge.
Both defenses generate a ton of pressure and as quick as anybody in the league.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 25, 2019
The Browns’ strength on defense is their line, led by Myles Garrett, one of the best defensive ends in the NFL.
However, the Ravens have one of the best pass-blocking left tackles to match up with Garrett in Ronnie Stanley. In fact, per PFF, only Dallas’ Tyron Smith has a higher pass-blocking grade among all offensive tackles this season. Orlando Brown has also been solid in that department on the right side; he’ll have to deal with Olivier Vernon.
The Browns’ offensive line hasn’t been awful from a pass blocking perspective — Baker Mayfield has abandoned the pocket too soon in certain instances — but it hasn’t been as good as the Ravens’ and it’s performed significantly worse from a run-blocking perspective. Plus, Cleveland could be without starting RT Chris Hubbard (game-time decision) once again. And the drop-off in pass blocking from him to Justin McCray is significant.
Throw in the crowd noise and Mayfield might be abandoning the pocket at a much higher rate than Lamar.
2019 Passer Rating when under pressure
(min. 100 dropbacks)
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) September 25, 2019
Also, while the Browns’ special teams have been surprisingly strong so far, you have to give the nod to the Ravens in this department.
On Sunday, the Ravens will have the better run game, a more reliable OL, superior coaching and a special teams edge. And they’ll play at home in front of one of the better home-field environments in the league.
I do expect a fight from the Browns, who should be fine once they get healthy (assuming the play-calling improves). And Mayfield should be better, but I still feel confident in a Ravens win.
And while I’m not crossing 7 and 3, I did the next best thing by teasing off a 7 or 3. I ended up teasing the Ravens down from 7 to -1 and paired them with the Vikings (which you can read more about in our Minnesota-Chicago preview).