Colts vs. Browns Odds & Pick: Back Cleveland at Home
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr.
- The Indianapolis Colts head to Cleveland to battle the Cleveland Browns in a Week 5 matchup between two 3-1 teams.
- The Colts were originally favored in the game, but the Browns have since taken that position over in what is expected to be a close matchup.
- Stuckey breaks the game down below and shares a betting pick with updated odds.
Colts vs. Browns Odds
This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the Week 5 NFL slate. We have two legitimate AFC playoff contenders that each come into the week riding three-game winning streaks.
Let’s take a closer look at how this might play out on Sunday and determine where the betting value lies.
I was higher on the Browns than most coming into the season based on their offseason staff and personnel additions. I loved the upside of this team, which is why I bought a preseason Super Bowl future. We’re seeing some of that potential play out on the field even earlier than I anticipated.
Yes, Cleveland got trounced in its opener against Baltimore, but that was an almost impossible situation for a team going through wholesale schematic changes against a powerhouse Ravens team. The Browns have since played excellent football, dominating the Bengals and securing relatively easy wins against Dallas and Washington.
The play-calling and game-planning has significantly improved, and Baker Mayfield is being put in much more comfortable passing situations that complement his skill set. The improvement along the offensive line, specifically at the two tackle spots — a major weakness in recent seasons — has also paid dividends for the league’s No. 2 rated rush offense in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
Nick Chubb is now sidelined with an injury, but Kareem Hunt is more than capable of shouldering the load at running back. I expect Cleveland to have plenty of success on the ground once again on Sunday. That will set up some playaction shots down field to the talented Cleveland receivers against what I still think is a vulnerable Indy secondary.
Believe it or not, Cleveland’s offensive line actually leads the NFL in Adjusted Line Yards, per Football Outsiders. Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ highly-touted offensive line ranks 28th in that same category. It’s one of the reasons the Browns lead the league at 5.9 yards per carry, while the Colts surprisingly rank dead last at 3.5.
The Colts offensive tackles have been especially vulnerable. That’s an area Myles Garrett and a defense that continues to get healthier can exploit against the statuesque Philip Rivers. Plus, starting tackle Anthony Castonzo might have to sit with an injury. Remember this unit already lost Marlon Mack, Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell to injury.
Yes, the Colts defense has been nothing short of spectacular statistically to start the season. However, they’ve benefited from a relatively easy schedule. Plus, they could be extremely undermanned at linebacker in their 4-3 base. Darius Leonard has already been ruled out while Bobby Okereke and Anthony Walker (questionable) have injuries that could keep them off the field on Sunday.
I’m a huge fan of the Colts staff, including defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who should have something special cooked up in his return to his home state. But the Colts are simply overvalued after three straight wins against mediocre competition. Mix in their key injuries, and I have to ride with the home dog.
Ultimately, Cleveland should have more success on the ground and in generating pressure on Rivers. That will prove to be the difference in what should be a close contest.
I make the Browns close to 2-point favorites, so I immediately scooped up +3 (-120) earlier in the week. (Shameless plug: Follow me on the Action App to get real-time alerts when I track a bet.) I’d still play them at +1.5 or better (shop for the best real-time line here). They’re also a very appealing teaser piece if you can get them over a touchdown.
PICK: Browns +1.5