Chargers-Browns Betting Preview: How to Bet This Over/Under
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Melvin Ingram, Denzel Ward
Betting odds: Los Angeles Chargers at Cleveland Browns
- Spread: PK
- Over/Under: 45
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Channel: CBS
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Betting market: Quite early in the week, sharp action on the Browns pushed them down from +2 to a PK. This stemmed from a reverse line move at Pinnacle, one of the sharpest offshore books on the market.
Trends to know: Since 2003, no stadium has treated under bettors better than FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. The Under is 74-47-1 (61.2%) at the Dawg Pound according to our Bet Labs data, profiting bettors 23.1 units in that span. — Evan Abrams
Not only has the under been profitable in Cleveland but weather is providing another reason to bet the under in this one. The forecast calls for average wind speeds of 13 mph during the game.
Since 2003, in NFL games with average winds of 10 mph or stronger the under is 439-351-10 (56%). (Be sure to check the forecast closer to kickoff, as forecasts can shift.) — John Ewing
Metrics that matter: The Chargers will really miss Joey Bosa this week against a very vulnerable Browns offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks in the league and ranks 30th in adjusted sack rate.
Cleveland struggles at both tackle spots, but can now focus its efforts on doubling Melvin Ingram.
The Chargers’ 4-3 scheme is just not the same without Bosa. L.A. has 11 sacks on the season (tied for 19th in NFL) — six fewer than the Chargers had at this same point last season. — Stuckey
Sneaky storyline: The Browns are usually at a massive disadvantage when it comes to special teams, as they boast the league’s worst unit by a wide margin.
But that disadvantage won’t be material, as they are facing another dreadful special teams unit in LA.
Biggest mismatch: Browns run game vs. Chargers run game
With potential high winds, the passing games on both sides may be stymied — especially considering both secondaries match up fairly well with the opposing receivers.
I expect Browns rookie corner Denzel Ward to get the task of guarding Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen, and if you haven’t seen Ward play, he’s the real deal. There’s a reason the Browns have the second-best pass defense in the league, per Football Outsiders.
If the passing games are indeed limited, this game could be decided by each respective running game. Both of these teams average 4.6 yards per carry on the season — good enough for top 10 in the league.
While both defenses have also allowed exactly 4.1 yards per rush this season, if you dig a little deeper into the underlying metrics (this season and last) and adjust for opponents, you will see the Browns have a significantly superior rush defense.
- 2017: Cleveland finished second in the NFL with a skimpy 3.3 yards per rush allowed, while the Chargers allowed a league-worse 4.9 yards per rush.
- Per Football Outsiders, the Browns defense ranks eighth against the run this season compared to a subpar 21st for L.A.
- The Browns defense is much healthier, as the Chargers have a number of injury question marks at linebacker (Kyzir White, Jatavis Brown).
If this becomes a ground battle, the Chargers have the bigger-name back in Melvin Gordon, but the Browns will have the bigger edge. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Browns
The Chargers are again expected to be without White (knee), Bosa (foot) and wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot).
There’s also plenty of concern on the offensive line, as left tackle Russell Okung (groin), right tackle Joe Barksdale (leg) and center Mike Pouncey (knee) should be considered questionable for Sunday.
The Browns’ largest concern is at wide receiver, as Rashard Higgins (knee) is considered week to week and isn’t expected to suit up Sunday.
DFS edge: It’s difficult to not have Melvin Gordon as an every-week consideration when he’s averaging 20.2 touches per game, is second on the team with 22% percent of their target share, and is dominating red-zone usage with 36% of their red-zone market share of opportunities.
Bet to watch: Under 45
The Browns have struggled across the board on offense, ranking 30th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, so the key for this over/under will be limiting the Chargers’ passing offense (third in DVOA).
Cleveland is uniquely positioned to do that, ranking second in pass defense per DVOA. Los Angeles is also one of the slower offenses in the NFL, averaging only 61.4 plays per game according to Team Rankings.
Finally, the current forecast is calling for steady 13 mph winds, which will make it more difficult for both teams to hit big plays through the air.
As mentioned above, since 2003, unders are 439-351-10 (56%) in games with double-digit winds. — PJ Walsh
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.