Panthers-Browns Betting Preview: Will Cam Newton & Co. Get Right in Cleveland?
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1).
Betting odds: Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns
- Spread: Panthers -1.5
- Over/Under: 47
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Both of these teams are coming off of ugly losses and with neither playing convincing ball last weekend, the public is opting to bet on the non-Browns team (shocker).
The Panthers are getting 63% of bets at the time of writing and has even seen some sharp action at a PK and -1.5 (see live data here).
However, some sites that have moved the line up to the -2 range for the Panthers have seen buyback on the other side, with pros hitting the Browns. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Panthers have lost and failed to cover in four consecutive games. Teams in this situation have gone 92-78-3 (54%) against in their next game since 2003, per our Bet Labs data.
If the team plays its next game on the road, like the Panthers, they have gone 49-32-1 (61%) ATS — and if that team is favored: 8-1 ATS. — John Ewing
One counter to John’s trend: Carolina has the lost the turnover battle in its past four games and enters this game with a 6-6 record.
Teams that are .500 or better and have lost the turnover battle in four consecutive games, are 1-9 straight up and 2-7-1 ATS since 2012, failing to cover the spread by 7.5 point per game according to our Bet Labs data. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Panthers Rush Offense vs. Browns Rush Defense
Carolina leads the NFL with an impressive 5.5 yards per carry. That should play against a Browns defense that really struggles to contain opposing rushing attacks.
Cleveland ranks 23rd in the league in yards per rush allowed (4.8) and Football Outsiders ranks them similarly at 26th overall.
If you want to get even more technical, the Browns’ defense ranks 31st on second-level runs (carries between 5-10 yards) and 25th in open-field yards (10+-yard carries). The Panthers rank sixth and second in those two respective categories.
That might be surprising if you recall that the Browns had one of the best run-stopping defenses in the NFL last season, as they struggled against the pass.
Well, a few offseason moves have changed that, starting with the defensive line, as Cleveland really misses Carl Nassib and Danny Shelton, who helped the Browns lead the league in yards before contact last year.
Expect plenty of broken runs from Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey on Sunday. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Browns
The Panthers won’t have tight end Greg Olsen (foot) for the remainder of the season. They haven’t ruled out offseason shoulder surgery for Newton yet, but he is at least expected to finish out the season while playing through the soreness.
The Panthers are otherwise healthy with the exception of kicker Graham Gano (knee).
The only Browns players thought to be in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game are center JC Tretter (ankle), corner back Denzel Ward (concussion) and corner Phillip Gaines (knee).
DFS edge: McCaffrey is easily the best DFS play in this game. He’s averaging 20.8 touches and 32.5 DraftKings points per game over the past six weeks. Additionally, CMC could see a slight target boost with Olsen out.
He has averaged 1.2 more targets per game in the 12 games Olsen has missed over the past two seasons. McCaffrey leads all main-slate running backs with his median projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Panthers -1.5
Not only do the Browns struggle to defend the run (which I mentioned above), they have struggled to cover running backs in the passing game.
Cleveland ranks 25th in pass defense against running backs, according to Football Outsiders. McCaffrey should have a huge game against the Panthers’ vulnerable outside linebackers — much like he did against Seahawks (237 total yards).
Baker Mayfield has put up some gaudy numbers recently, but he has done so against a stretch of bad defenses. Don’t get fooled by his 397-yard passing performance at Houston last week. He became the first quarterback in more than two years to throw for 350-plus yards in the second half.
They were down 23-0 against a bad Texans pass defense and I wasn’t impressed with his first-half line: 5-of-13 passing, 47 yards and 2 INTs.
The No. 1 overall pick has shown flashes, but his numbers over the past few weeks are inflated.
Mayfield has seen success throwing to his backs, but that is not how you beat this Carolina team, which is very strong against the run and at covering running backs in the passing game.
I think the Panthers get right here on the ground with a favorable matchup on both sides of the ball and on special teams. — Stuckey
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.