Browns vs. Patriots Odds & Picks: Back Cleveland As Double-Digit Dog?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield
- The New England Patriots host the Cleveland Browns as double-digit favorites.
- Our experts analyze the double-digit spread and make their picks.
Browns at Patriots Odds & Picks
- Odds: Patriots -13
- Over/Under: 45.5
- Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: CBS
Odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Double-digit favorites have gone 247-282-11 (46.7%) against the spread since 2003. Even Bill Belichick, who has elite ATS results across the board, is only 34-31 (52.3%) ATS as a double-digit favorite, including 20-24 as a favorite between 10 and 14 points — pedestrian records for a coach who is an astounding 158-97-8 (62%) ATS since 2003.
But does it really make sense to follow the historical trends and fade the New England Patriots against the Cleveland Browns?
Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring a comparison to Sean Koerner’s projected odds and staff spread picks.
Browns-Patriots Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Browns
The Browns should be getting their top corners back with Denzel Ward (hamstring) and Greedy Williams (hamstring) returning to full practice off the bye week. DL Myles Garrett (knee) was added to the injury report on Thursday, but it’s not believed to be serious, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t play.
The Patriots placed Josh Gordon (knee) on injured reserve, but also traded for Mohamed Sanu. Julian Edelman (chest) and Rex Burkhead (foot) remain limited in practice, but Burkhead is the only one who has actually missed time from his injury. Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) should be ready to roll after playing last week and practicing in full on Thursday. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Patriots Short Passing Attack vs. Browns Linebackers
The Patriots should have plenty of success in the short passing game.
Per Football Outsiders, the Browns’ defense ranks fourth against the deep pass but 29th against short passes. Part of the problem has been their linebackers, who struggle in coverage and tend to get lost in the noise of their base 4-2-5 defense.
Mack Wilson and Joe Schobert have allowed 32 catches on 37 targets for three touchdowns (and no interceptions). They also each rank in the bottom 15 of NFL QB Rating allowed among 59 linebackers with at least 100 coverage snaps at 131.3 and 118.0, respectively. Schobert’s 131.3 rating allowed ranks dead last among LBs with at least 200 coverage snaps.
The Browns also rank 29th in the NFL defending slot receivers.
Expect the Patriots to take full advantage with wide receiver crossing routes and plenty of targets for their running backs in the passing game. — Stuckey
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Patriots -13.5
- Projected Total: 46
It’s important to note that my power ratings should be treated as a starting point, and diving deeper into how these two teams will approach the matchup could highlight some potential value. That’s why I would agree with my Pass/Run Funnel Model that’s leaning toward the under with a rating of -0.63.
We all know by now that the Patriots defense is a force not to be reckoned — quarterbacks have a ridiculous 1-to-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio against them, and Baker Mayfield happens to be the league leader in interceptions with 11.
The Browns could lean on Nick Chubb early and often to prevent turnovers — a game plan that might not be enough to beat the Patriots, but will certainly go a long way to help the under. — Sean Koerner
PRO System Match
The Browns were a popular dark horse Super Bowl team entering the season, but bettors have cooled on Mayfield and Co.
Nearly 70% of spread tickets are on the Pats as of writing (see live public betting data here). A lot of that has to do with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick being undefeated and 5-2 against the spread. There are few situations that it makes sense to bet against TB12, but this may be one of them as New England is currently covering by 11.79 points per game this season.
ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet against teams that have covered the spread by a big margin.
Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 310-239-16 (56.5%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,062 following this strategy.
It’s always difficult to bet against the Patriots given their track record of success, but history suggests bettors should fade them and take the points with the Browns. — John Ewing
PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.
Stuckey: Browns +13
The Patriots have had one of the easiest schedules en route to their perfect 7-0 record. I had to do a double take at their .273 Strength of Schedule, which is the lowest in the league. And to be honest, that paltry number may actually undersell how easy this season has been for New England so far.
New England’s seven wins have come against teams with a combined 11 wins, five of which are accounted for by the Bills, who have also had one of the easiest schedules and almost took out the Patriots in Orchard Park.
The seven quarterbacks who have finished games against New England have a combined three wins. And Daniel Jones, who is responsible for two of those three, had to play in Foxborough on a short week with almost all of his skill position players out with injuries.
The Patriots defensive numbers are extremely inflated.
Look, I’ve been screaming since Week 1 that this is the best defense in the NFL, but it isn’t historically great. Once they start playing real offenses with real quarterbacks, we should see regression across the board.
- Turnovers: The Patriots lead the NFL with a +14 turnover margin, one of the 25 best marks in league history through seven weeks.
- Red Zone: Opponents are scoring touchdowns on only 16.67% of drives inside the New England 20. Last season, that number was 63.46% and no defense has finished with a percentage lower than 30% over the past 15 seasons.
The Patriots certainly deserve credit for those numbers, but they’ve also benefited from facing extremely poor offenses (and quarterbacks) and luck, which will always play a major part in turnovers and red-zone performance.
The Browns rank 28th with a -6 turnover differential and 26th with an opponent red-zone touchdown percentage of 65%, but it’s fair to expect positive regression in both — in fact, I think this Browns offense will present this Patriots defense with its toughest test yet.
The Patriots have been running a ton of man on the outside, but with frequent Cover 0 blitzes (no safety help over top). It’s worked like a charm, but they haven’t had to shut down any receiving groups on par with the Browns.
The Patriots have also jumped out to big leads in almost every game in large part due to turnovers, which has forced teams into throwing the ball, playing right into Belichick’s hands. But don’t forget this defense was very vulnerable against the run last season. If Cleveland can avoid any random or stupid mistakes early, Chubb should have some success on the ground.
The Patriots don’t have the same explosive offense we’ve seen in recent years. Some of the struggles are a result of injuries, as they’ve lost a number of offensive linemen (starting guard Shaq Mason is also banged up this week) in addition to Pro Bowl fullback James Develin.
There’s also been a constant carousel of new characters at wideout and tight end. It’s one reason they traded a second-round draft pick for Sanu, who should help, but may take a week or two to get assimilated.
The potential return of Ward and Williams, meanwhile, should be enough to keep Brady from having an enormous day. Ranking fifth in adjusted sack rate, the Browns are also capable of getting pressure on him, which is necessary to have a shot at slowing down the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The Patriots should win, but this is too many points for me to pass on backing a desperate Browns team off a bye looking to avoid falling to three games out of first place in the AFC North.
Mayfield should makes enough plays to keep this within two touchdowns. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]