Browns-Bucs Betting Preview: Will Another Over Cash in a Tampa Game?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, Jameis Winston
Betting odds: Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Buccaneers -3.5
- Over/Under: 50.5
- 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: After being reluctant to move this game off Bucs -3 early in the week, oddsmakers finally gave in. At the time of writing, the Bucs are getting 61% of bets and 68% of dollars (see live betting data here). The number finally moved to -3.5 or even -4 at some books. —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: One way to tell if the pros like an over is by tracking ticket and dollar percentages. When you’re seeing a higher percentage of money than tickets (i.e. 65% of dollars but 45% of bets), that is an indication of sharp action.
According to our Bet Labs data, the over has gone 67-54-1 (55%) since 2016 when there is at least 10% more money than tickets wagered on the over.
Through five games, the Buccaneers are scoring more than 28 points per game, but they are also giving up nearly 35.
It’s easy to see why all five of Tampa Bay’s games and first halves have gone over the total. — Evan Abrams
After opening the season 2-0 straight up and against the spread, Tampa Bay has failed to cover — and failed to win — in each of its past three games.
The good news for the Bucs? Since 2003, favorites on at least a three-game SU and ATS losing streak are 74-52-4 ATS (+19 units). — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Browns tight end David Njoku vs. Buccaneers pass defense
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has developed a connection with emerging second-year tight end David Njoku, who leads the offense with 30 targets, 18 receptions, 176 yards receiving and 74 yards after the catch in Mayfield’s three starts.
And now Njoku gets the pleasure of facing the Bucs, who rank 29th in pass DVOA (41.6%) against tight ends and have surrendered a league-high 97.2 yards per game to the position.
Every starting tight end to face them has outperformed expectations: Ben Watson (4-44-0), Zach Ertz (11-94-0), Vance McDonald (4-112-1), Trey Burton (2-86-1) and Austin Hooper (9-71-1).
With Mayfield struggling to complete passes to wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway (4-20-0 on 19 targets last week), he could look to his tight end often in a great matchup made all the better by the absence of Tampa Bay starting strong safety Chris Conte (knee, IR).
Backup safety Justin Evans has allowed a 15-173-2 receiving line on 17 targets in his coverage. — Matthew Freedman
Which team is healthier? Browns
The Buccaneers could be without key defensive linemen Vinny Curry (ankle) and Gerald McCoy (calf) against Carlos Hyde & Co. The back end of the defense isn’t set up very well, either, as safety Jordan Whitehead (hamstring) and cornerback Carlton Davis (groin) are far from 100%.
The Browns are devoid of talent at receiver at this point, as Rashard Higgins (knee) is expected to join Derrick Willies (shoulder, injured reserve) on the bench. Starting center JC Tretter (ankle) isn’t guaranteed to suit up, and starting cornerback E.J. Gaines (concussion) has already been ruled out.
DFS edge: Njoku leads the Browns with a 23.5% target share since Mayfield took over as the starting quarterback.
As Freedman mentioned, Njoku draws a favorable matchup against a Buccaneers defense that’s allowing 8.2 targets and nearly 100 receiving yards per game to tight ends this season.
Bet to watch: Browns/Buccaneers Over 50.5
The Bucs are the only team in the league to have all of their games hit the over, and it’s thanks to an explosive offense scoring 28.2 points per game and a league-worst defense allowing 34.6.
Led by Mayfield, the Browns have been inconsistent on offense, but they are talented enough to exploit a unit that could be without key players.
On defense, the Browns have allowed the Raiders and Chargers to score 45 and 38 points, respectively, over the past three weeks.
With a talented pass-catching unit of wide receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, it’s reasonable to expect quarterback Jameis Winston to lead the Bucs offense to 3-plus touchdowns with 2-3 field goals.
I’d be comfortable betting this line up to 51.5. — Matthew Freedman
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.