Browns vs. Cardinals Odds, NFL Picks, Week 6 Predictions: How to Bet Sunday Afternoon’s Game
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyler Murray.
- The Browns host the Cardinals to kickoff the late afternoon slate of Week 6 NFL games.
- Based on the Browns vs. Cardinals odds after news broke the Kliff Kingsbury would not be on the sideline, our analyst no longer sees value on this spread.
- He still has an angle for those in search of Browns vs. Cardinals picks, though. He details that below.
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Arizona Cardinals remain the only undefeated team in the NFL entering their matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Arizona has played in pretty much optimal conditions through those five games, but this game will take place with 18 mph winds bouncing off the south shore of Lake Erie.
Both teams might be in the top-six in scoring, but the weather could be disastrous for their offensive game plans on Sunday.
I’ll expand on that and much more to get you set for what should be a compelling non-conference matchup in Cleveland.
Cardinals Defense Deserves More Plaudits
In Week 5, we saw the San Francisco 49ers limit the Cardinals to 17 points in a losing effort. Arizona passed for 210 yards in the game, which is 75 yards fewer than its season average. The 49ers did well at times to limit the Cardinals from getting behind them down the field. Arizona finished with 6.4 yards per catch, roughly five fewer yards than its season average (11.5).
San Francisco’s performance isn’t easy to replicate, though, because teams still need to have the proper personnel. However, it utilized a strategy that we see more and more as defenses choose to go with a two-high-safety look. We saw the Bills do precisely that on Sunday night to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Defensive coordinators can even reinforce this methodology by mixing in some Cover-4 or Cover-6 packages. While we know this can work in optimal conditions, it’s probably even more lethal with 18 mph winds.
The Cardinals are ranked fourth with an explosive pass rate of 12%. We could see a much more traditional offense on Sunday, which would make things easier for the Browns to defend against. The conditions will affect both teams and while many have been quick to compliment the Cardinals offense, their defense also deserves some plaudits.
Arizona is fourth overall in Football Outsiders Defensive DVOA rankings. The team is better known for its pass coverage, led by Budda Baker at safety and Byron Murphy and Robert Alford. However, it may need to utilize more run defense if we expect the throwing conditions to be challenging.
Arizona will not only have to brave the elements on Sunday, but it’ll also have to do so without head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. Kingsbury’s absence could be vital since he handles the play-calling duties.
Another thing worth noting is that the Cardinals injury report did not include quarterback Kyler Murray, who repeatedly received treatment on his shoulder from the Cardinals training staff last Sunday. He was even limited in practice earlier in the week.
I think this is a bit of gamesmanship on Arizona’s part because we saw a similar incident last season, when Murray also hurt his shoulder but didn’t land on the injury report for a few weeks.
One player we know that won’t play on Sunday is Cardinals starting center Rodney Hudson (ribs/shoulder). On defense, their backup linebacker, Tanner Vallejo, will also be sidelined with a hand injury.
Browns Down Half of Dynamic Rushing Duo
I was on the wrong side of a total last week in a game that involved the Browns and the Chargers. Los Angeles couldn’t stop Cleveland from running the ball, and that influenced head coach Brandon Staley to go for it on fourth down on three occasions to avoid giving the ball back to the Browns. The Chargers converted all three of those fourth-down opportunities, which contributed to the high-scoring game.
Nonetheless, what stood out for me was Cleveland’s 230 rushing yards in the game. By now, there shouldn’t be any confusion regarding Cleveland’s intentions on offense. Only the New Orleans Saints (54.74%) run the ball more than the Browns (52.55%).
However, it’s not just that they run the ball a ton. They’re pretty good at it as well. Cleveland leads the league with 187.6 rushing yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. That’s problematic for a Cardinals defense ranked 29th in allowing 139 rushing yards per game and 31st in 5.4 yards per carry.
One thing we know is that Cleveland doesn’t hide its affinity for running the football. Opposing teams know their game plan and still can’t do much to stop it. According to PFF, the Browns entered this season with the top offensive line in football. Given their run production, I’d say they’ve done well to live up to that billing.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, it’ll be without half its lead rusher on Sunday as a calf injury will keep Nick Chubb sidelined. The Browns lead the league with 35 rushing attempts per game, so you can understand why Chubb and Hunt share the workload.
The only other running back to carry the ball outside of the top two is D’Ernest Johnson. Johnson had two carries against the Bears in Week 3 for five yards. In addition to Chubb being out, backup linebacker Malcolm Smith also won’t play due to an abdominal injury.
Browns vs. Cardinals Picks
There’s been plenty of action on this game, and as I write this, the Browns have been bet up to 3.5 (check real-time NFL odds here).
I agree with the move — my assessment centers on the windy conditions that could plague a warm-weather team like the Cardinals. And it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s more to Murray’s shoulder injury. These issues, combined with losing their primary play-caller, seem like a lot to overcome for the Cardinals on the road. However, the Browns were available at -2.5 earlier in the week, so the value is completely gone at the current number.
If you’re looking to get involved in this game, you might want to consider playing the total. While our analysis leans to the Browns, it correlates nicely with the under, given the windy forecast and the injury report.
Our Action Labs database shows that the total is 6-1 to the under when the Browns are at home with an opening total of at least 50 points. But, like the point spread, the total has also moved as it was as high as 54 earlier in the week, but we can look to gain some of that back by playing the under as part of a six-point, two-team teaser.
BetMGM is still offering a total of 49 as of writing, so we can bring that number up to 55 and pair that with another leg of your liking. As for me, I prefer to go with the Packers against the Bears. Green Bay’s covered the spread in each of its last four games, and it’s also covered the spread in the previous four meetings against Chicago. Moreover, it’s 17-5 ATS on the road in Chicago.
I love the idea of bringing the Packers’ six-point spread down to a pick’em and pairing it with the under in the Browns game.
Pick: Tease Cardinals-Browns under from 49 to 55; pair with Packers from -6 to pick’em