Browns vs. Cardinals Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Should You Trust Baker Mayfield & Co. to Cover?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kyler Murray.
- The updated betting odds for Sunday's game between the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals make Cleveland small road favorites (spread: Browns -3) with an over/under of 48.5.
- How should you be betting this matchup? Our experts cover all the details and pick out their favorite bets for Browns-Cardinals.
Browns at Cardinals Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds
- Odds: Browns -3
- Over/Under: 48.5
- Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Sunday afternoon and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns travel to Arizona to face off with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in a game featuring two promising young quarterbacks but generally disappointing teams.
Our experts anticipate Mayfield and Cleveland to test Arizona’s lagging defense in a potential shootout. Find their picks and full analysis below.
Browns-Cardinals Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Cardinals
Terrell Suggs has been absent this week due to a back injury and an illness. He’s second on the team in quarterback pressures, sacks and hurries. Christian Kirk (ankle) has been limited in practice all week, but since he’s still getting practice sessions, I wouldn’t hit the panic button yet.
It appears Odell Beckham Jr. (groin) will continue to play through his sports hernia that he’s been dealing with this season, so his streak of appearing on the injury report is likely nothing to worry about. David Njoku (knee) popped back up on the injury report after just one game, but he was upgraded to a full practice on Thursday. Center J.C. Tretter (knee) has also missed back-to-back practices so far. His potential absence wouldn’t be ideal considering he’s one of the league’s best pass-blocking centers. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Browns Passing Offense vs. Cardinals Pass Defense
No matter where you look in this Cardinals secondary, the results are ugly.
We are talking about a defense that ranks 29th in pass defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders. That includes bottom-five ranks against No. 1 receivers, slot receivers, tight ends and running backs. That’s obviously not ideal against a Browns aerial attack that features Beckham and Jarvis Landry with the recent additions of running back Kareem Hunt (back from suspension) and tight end David Njoku (back from injury). With Hunt and Njoku now back in the fold, this passing offense is much more potent than some of their season-long statistics indicate.
Pro Football Focus actually ranks Arizona as the worst coverage defense in the entire NFL with a coverage grade of 33.8, which is lower than Miami’s 39.1. Inside the perfect conditions of State Farm Stadium in Phoenix, Baker Mayfield should find opportunities all day against this Arizona defense that simply can’t cover. — Stuckey
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Browns -3
- Projected Total: 48
I’m right in line with this market, so this is a pass for me. — Sean Koerner
Raybon: Browns -2.5
“Armageddon.” Those were Stuckey’s words when I told him I was betting the Browns as we drafted our picks for this week’s Action Network Podcast. As a 100th-percentile Murray/Kliff Kingsbury truther, this is way, way off-brand for me.
But covering this game would be off-brand for the Cardinals.
Arizona has posted a respectable 7-5-1 record against the spread this season, but they’ve never covered a spread as low as +2.5 despite already having had three opportunities to do so. In Week 2, they were +2 at home against the Panthers. They lost 38-20. In Week 13, they were +2.5 at home against the Rams. They lost 34-7. Last week, they were +2.5 at home against the Steelers. They lost 23-17. To recap: When the Cards have been underdogs by less than a field goal, they’ve failed to cover by an average of 15.3 points per game.
To be fair, they’re 4-of-4 at covering spreads of +3/3.5, but those four games came against the Lions (3-9-1), Bengals (1-12), Falcons (4-9), and Giants (2-10). At 6-7, the Browns have been a relative disappointment, but they’re nowhere near as bad as the aforementioned four. Cleveland’s average point differential — a better predictor of future performance than win-loss record — is -1.4, but the Browns played the eighth-hardest schedule according to opponent point differential, which adjusts to +1.2 after adjusting for strength of schedule. The Cards have played the seventh-hardest slate, but their adjusted mark still sets at -5.4.
Both teams have been roughly equal on offense — Cleveland ranks 13th in schedule-adjusted efficiency while Arizona ranks 14th, according to Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA (which weights recent games more heavily). While the Browns have been slightly below-average on defense (19th), however, the Cardinals have been borderline terrible (26th) and are even worse on special teams (29th). The Cardinals offense ranks 24th in third-down conversion rate and 30th in red-zone TD rate while the Browns defense ranks fifth and 12th, respectively, in those same categories.
So while I’m usually reluctant to back the Browns under Freddie Kitchens, I like them in this spot.
Despite often getting in their own way, the Browns are still talented enough that they’ve still performed at the level of an average team, while the Cardinals roster around Murray simply doesn’t afford them any margin for error. Their only wins coming against teams that are a combined 7-32 (.179). I think Cleveland takes care of business and wins this game, so I’d be willing to bet this up to -3 in hopes of a push in a worst-case scenario, but the real value is at -2.5.
According to our public betting data, 64% of the bets and 69% of the money has come in on the Browns as of this writing, so if you plan to bet this, act quickly to grab a -2.5 before they’re gone.
Raybon is 180-132-10 (57.7%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.