Browns-Raiders Betting Preview: Is Baker Mayfield Still Undervalued?
Credit: USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, Derek Carr.
Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders
- Spread: Raiders -2.5
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 4:05 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: Neither sharp nor square bettors are buying into the Baker Mayfield hype.
This line opened as a pick ‘em, but moved toward Oakland quickly. We saw a little buyback once it reached +3, but otherwise, it’s been all Raiders money. — Mark Gallant
Injury watch: Baker Mayfield will be working with a fully healthy offense, but the defense isn’t so lucky.
Linebacker James Burgess (knee), linebacker Christian Kirksey (shoulder/ankle), defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) and safety Damarious Randall (heel) are questionable for Sunday.
The only Raider seemingly at risk of missing Sunday’s game is safety Karl Joseph (hamstring).
Trends to know: Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, 22 different quarterbacks have been selected No. 1 overall in the draft. Those quarterbacks are 4-18 straight up and 6-16 ATS in their first start, losing their last nine consecutive games SU and ATS.
Only one No. 1 overall pick has won his first start when that game is played on the road, John Elway as a 7-point underdog in Pittsburgh in Week 1 of the 1983 season.
In the past 30 years, eight No. 1 overall pick QBs have had their first career start come on the road, and they are 0-8 SU and ATS, losing by an average of 17.9 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Did you know? The Browns finally won a football game, but a much more difficult task will be ending their current 22-game road losing streak.
Over that span, Cleveland is 6-15-1 ATS, losing by an average margin of more 12 points per game.
The Browns’ last road win came in 2015 against the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. Cleveland has not won a regular-season road game in regulation in their last 28 tries. — Stuckey
Browns turnover regression: The Browns lead the NFL with a plus-nine turnover differential, having forced 11 takeaways with only two giveaways in three games.
For comparison, Cleveland finished dead last by a wide margin in 2017 (-28) and 29th in 2016 (-12).
Cleveland has forced and recovered six forced fumbles in just three games. How unlikely is that pace? The Browns recovered six fumbles ALL OF LAST YEAR — out of 14 total fumbles.
Cleveland also has five interceptions (tied for third-most), only two fewer than it had all of last year.
In fact, the Browns only had 13 takeaways last season, two more than they have in just three games so far in 2018. — Stuckey
DFS edge: David Njoku could be the skill-position player who benefits DFS players the most with Mayfield under center.
With a 92% Bargain Rating on DraftKings in our FantasyLabs Models, he is ridiculously cheap at only $3,200, and his 16% target share is actually second-highest on the team.
It just hasn’t quite translated into fantasy points yet with only 15.9 DraftKings points, which could change with Mayfield more willing than Tyrod Taylor to attack defenses — Joe Holka
Bet To Watch: Raiders -2.5
I think this line is a complete overreaction to Mayfield’s debut against a bad Jets team, which came at home in a spot where he really had nothing to lose.
The Browns have one of the worst special teams units in all of football, in addition to a coaching staff that I rate in the bottom three of the league.
The extra time to prepare after a Thursday game won’t have the same benefit from an X’s and O’s perspective as it would for other elite staffs.
The Browns’ defense is solid, but it is also being slightly overvalued after three games, mostly due to some unsustainable turnover luck and an impressive showing against the Saints.
The Browns are headed in the right direction with what appears to be their future franchise quarterback and a solid foundation on defense, but they are still the Browns.
Buy low on the Raiders, while selling the Browns in a potential letdown spot after getting that long-awaited victory. — 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.