Browns vs Eagles Spread, Preview: Expert Best Bet for Thursday Preseason Game

Browns vs Eagles Spread, Preview: Expert Best Bet for Thursday Preseason Game article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

It’s the preseason, which means nothing is a given and all we can do is speculate roughly when QBs will be in the game.

I try to estimate when certain QBs/units will be in the game to plan my pre/in-game betting strategy. Everything is subject to change and I update these charts as we get more information.

Browns vs. Eagles

Thursday, Aug. 17
7:30 p.m. ET
NFL Network

The Browns' quarterback rotation has been made crystal clear for tonight’s game: Dorian Thompson-Robinson is expected to get the start for the Browns, and he will play the first half while Kellen Mond plays the second half.

The Eagles' QB situation, however, is a bit murky. They aren’t expected to play their starters as they are treating their joint practices with the Browns this week as their “game," which has been a league-wide trend over the past couple of seasons.

Marcus Mariota isn’t a lock to get playing time here as they could opt to hold him out as well. If he does draw the start, I would expect he plays a quarter or less. We will see rookie Tanner McKee play most of the first half and possibly into the second half, with Ian Book closing out the game. If Mariota is held out of action we could see McKee and Book play a half each.

The first half should be fairly even in terms of QB matchups since Thompson-Robinson has played well enough to move up to No. 3 on the Browns depth chart, but he could overtake Josh Dobbs as Deshaun Watson's backup if his strong play continues. DTR has gone 17-of-21 for 184 yards and a 2:0 TD:INT ratio through the air, while also rushing for 47 yards on nine carries in two games of action. Thompson-Robinson has a ton of chemistry with Cedric Tillman, David Bell and Anthony Schwartz, who will likely be his three main WRs for much of the half. It’s not a situation where we will see a ton of different WRs rotating in/out of the lineup, which can disrupt a QBs timing.

For the Eagles, McKee was solid in his debut last week, throwing for 148 yards on 20 attempts. Having some combo of Mariota or McKee for the Eagles against DTR seems fairly even on paper. The Eagles have arguably the best roster in the league and have great depth, so their second- or third-string units are going to be better than most.

I’m not sure, though, that McKee throwing to Tyrie Cleveland, Joseph Ngata and Jadon Haselwood for a half warrants a first-half spread of -3.5. The only time the Eagles will have that big of an edge is the scenario where McKee is playing against Mond in the third quarter, which will only happen if Mariota ends up suiting up tonight.

I’m going to lock in Browns +3.5 for the first half (DraftKings).

A potential in-game or second-half betting scenario will be to back the under once we have Kellen Mond vs. Ian Book the rest of the way. That could be as soon as halftime if Mariota sits tonight and we could see McKee play the first half, with Book getting most of the second.

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