Browns vs Buccaneers Odds, Pick, Prediction | Week 12 Preview

Browns vs Buccaneers Odds, Pick, Prediction | Week 12 Preview article feature image

Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.

  • The Buccaneers are 3.5-point favorites today in Cleveland.
  • This will be Jacoby Brissett's last start of the season, with Deshaun Watson set to return.
  • Ricky Henne previews the game and makes a pick below.

Browns vs Buccaneers Odds

Sunday, Nov. 27
1 p.m. ET
Browns Odds
-104o / -118u
Buccaneers Odds
-104o / -118u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The surging Buccaneers against the scuffling Browns looks like a mismatch on the surface.

Tampa Bay has won two in a row and is coming off its bye week, while the Browns have lost six of their last seven. Then, of course, there’s the indefinable drama of this being Jacoby Brissett’s swan song as the starting quarterback before giving way to Deshaun Watson next week. That’s an awkward situation for everyone involved.

But don’t be deceived. Oddsmakers project this to be a close game, and line’s remained largely unchanged all week. Let’s delve further into the numbers to see why.

Browns vs. Buccaneers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Browns and Buccaneers match up statistically:

Browns vs. Buccaneers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA1731
Pass DVOA927
Rush DVOA3032
Overall DVOA48
Pass DVOA76
Rush DVOA411
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Who has the advantage when an offense that can’t run the ball a lick takes on a defense as meek as a mouse defending it? The answer may very well determine Sunday’s outcome.

The Buccaneers are dead last in yards per game (70.7) and yards per carry (3.1). Their four rushing touchdowns are tied for the fewest in the league, and Football Outsiders ranks them 30th in rushing DVOA (-19.3%) and 31st in unadjusted VDA (-20.9%).

At the same time, Cleveland’s run defense is an abomination.  The Browns have Pro Football Focus’ lowest grade (29.9) by a good amount, and rank 32nd in DVOA (11.4%). They’ve additionally allowed 16 rushing touchdowns, which is third most in the NFL. The magic number to hit against them is 120 as Cleveland’s lost all five games in which the opposition’s eclipsed that number.

There’s no saying which team has the edge, but one thing we know for certain is that it’ll be the Rachaad White show for the Bucs. Expect the rookie to dominate carries with Leonard Fournette out with a hip injury.  White rose to the occasion in Tampa Bay’s last game after Fournette went down, running for 105 yards on 22 carries (4.8 yards per carry).

Bet at FanDuel
Buccaneers -3.5 | Browns +3.5

Meanwhile, a Browns team that loves to run the snot out of the ball hopes to get back on track after being stymied in back-to-back games. Nick Chubb has struggled mightily, carrying the rock 25 times for a measly 82 yards (3.28 yards per carry) over the last two weeks. The Browns rank fourth in both offensive DVOA (15.7%) and rushing DVOA (8.7%) over the course of the season, but Chubb producing is a huge part of that.

The big X-factor is Brissett.  He’s in an almost unprecedented situation of starting 11 games with the knowledge that he'll be relegated to the bench after the 12th. Brissett has been sneakily effective this year, ranking fifth in DVOA (17.2%) and Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (637). Still, you’ve got to figure there’ll be some psychological impact knowing you’re a lame-duck quarterback.

Finally, we’ve never seen a Tom Brady-led offense struggle like it has in the billion years he’s been in the league. That’s especially the case as the away team. Tampa Bay averages 15.0 points per game on the road compared to 20.5 at home.

However, we’re headed down the home stretch of the season and we all know how clutch Brady is come crunch time. True to form, Tampa Bay’s passing attack has come to life over the past five quarters, with Brady completing 40-of-55 passes (72.7%) for three touchdowns and one interception. That includes a game-winning, six-play, 60-yard drive in the final 44 seconds against the Rams.

Betting Picks

What do you do in a game that has few clear-cut advantages?

You obviously back Brady.

As Evan Abrams pointed out earlier this week, Brady is 8-3 against the spread on the road in his career following the bye. He’s also 35-19-4 ATS on extended rest over his career.

Meanwhile, an offensive line that struggles in the run game has been lights out in pass protection. The Buccaneers have surrendered the fewest sacks in the NFL (14) and boast the best adjusted sack rate. As such, Brady’s 2.43 seconds to throw is tops in the league. That should come in handy against a Cleveland team with the fourth-highest hurry percentage per drop back.

I expect a relatively close game but also see a path to Tampa Bay blowing the Browns out of the water if Chubb can’t get going. The Bucs allow the fourth-fewest points per game in the league (18.9). Without an effective Chubb, Cleveland will be forced to rely on Brissett carving up the league’s sixth-best defense in passing DVOA (-9.9%). I don’t like the Browns' chances to cover in that scenario, which is why I’m willing to move the line for the potential extra payout.

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