Browns-Saints Betting Preview: Will New Orleans Disappoint as Big Home Favorites Again?

Browns-Saints Betting Preview: Will New Orleans Disappoint as Big Home Favorites Again? article feature image

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michael Thomas / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denzel Ward

Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints

  • Spread: Saints -9
  • Over/Under: 49
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

>> All odds as of 8 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: The Saints aren’t quite as big of favorites as they were in Week 1 against the Buccaneers, and I doubt we’ll see this line reach -10 at the majority of books.

As of writing, about 64% of bettors are still expecting a bounce-back performance from New Orleans, taking the Saints in the -8 to -9 range (see live data here).

This comes as a bit of a surprise — considering the Saints’ ugly loss to the Bucs and the Browns’ tie with the Steelers — since public bettors tend to make decisions based on what they saw lately.

Seventy-two percent of over/under dollars are on the over, which has pushed this total from 47.5 to 49 since opening. Mark Gallant

Injury watch: The Browns offense is as healthy as it could be, but defensive starters LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), CB E.J. Gaines (knee) and FS Damarious Randall (head/neck) could all join DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) on the sideline after failing to practice in full on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Saints’ suddenly-suspect defense is fully healthy.

The offense will also more than likely be at 100%, although left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) and guard Andrus Peat (quad) were limited in practice Thursday.

Stud wide receiver Michael Thomas (illness) missed practice on Wednesday, but was a full participant on Thursday and is fully expected to play on Sunday. Ian Hartitz

Note: All injury info as of Thursday 9/13 at 5:30 pm EST. Please visit our Week 2 Injury Dashboard for updated daily practice participation and game statuses up until game time.

Trends to know: If the Saints let you down as 10-point favorites a week ago, history says they’ll make it up to you against the Browns.

Since 2003, teams that lost their previous game as double-digit favorites have gone 35-22-2 (61%) against the spread the next week. And if the team is favored, the record improves to 19-9-1 (68%) ATS.John Ewing

Did you know? There is no way the Saints can lose consecutive home games with Drew Brees and Sean Payton, right?

Since Brees and Payton’s first season together in 2006, the Saints have lost at home and then played at home the next week a total of eight times.

The Saints were favored in all eight games and are only 3-5 ATS and 4-4 straight-up, losing two of their last three games SU in the spot since 2010. Evan Abrams

DFS edge: The Saints are the league’s only offense averaging more than 30 points per game at home since 2015.

This has resulted in Brees posting some Ben Roethlisberger-esque home/away splits in recent seasons, as Brees has averaged an additional 4.2 DraftKings ppg with a +3.1 Plus/Minus and a 58 percent Consistency Rating in the Superdome since 2014 (per our NFL Trends tool). Hartitz

Bet to watch: Over 49.

While the Saints and Bucs combined for 88 total points in New Orleans last week, the Browns and Steelers played to an ugly 21-21 tie, which is likely why this line opened so conservatively (47.5).

That Browns-Steelers game might be getting overweighted, though. It was played in heavy winds (which have been known to limit offenses), there were two missed field goals and it was Josh Gordon’s first game action with Tyrod Taylor.

All of that creates value on the over in this matchup.

It can often be a fool’s errand to chase line movement, but when the total in a Saints home game with Brees at quarterback has increased by 0.5 to 2 points, the over has gone 23-10-1 (69.7%).

An increase of more than 2 points is when the value starts getting sapped: The over has gone just 5-6 (45.4%) in such situations.

Games with Taylor have been similarly profitable, with the over going 13-5 (72.2%) in his career in games where the total increased at least 0.5 points from open. Chris Raybon

Bet to watch: Saints -9.

The Saints defense gave up 529 yards and 48 points to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1. It was a throwback to the 2014-16 seasons, when New Orleans finished 31st, 32nd and 31st in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA metric.

It’s important to not overreact to one game. Last season, the Saints were eighth in defensive DVOA. They still have Pro Bowlers in defensive end Cameron Jordan and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, and there’s a good chance we’ve seen this team’s worst defensive game of the year.

Even if New Orleans can’t figure it out on that side of the ball, there is no way a Taylor-led offense can keep pace with Brees, Thomas and Alvin Kamara.

Cleveland has never scored more than 30 points under Hue Jackson. Over the past two seasons, New Orleans has topped 30 points in 16 regular-season games. Ewing 

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.