NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Raiders vs. Browns: Why You Should Live Bet this Matchup
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Derek Carr.
Editor’s note: The Raiders-Browns matchup has been postponed to Monday evening. We will update this story by Sunday evening with our analyst’s updated take on this game, once more information about the status of key players materializes.
|Time||5 p.m. ET|
Saturday NFL football is back!
Well… it might be back. We’re not really sure at this point because our first Saturday game of the season is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.
You surely know about all of the COVID protocol issues around the league by now, and the Browns have been hit about as hard as any team. As of Thursday evening, it looks like Cleveland could be without at least 11 starters heading into this week. Considering there’s 11 each on offense and defense, that’s literally half of the starters missing.
It looks like that will include Cleveland’s first- and second-string quarterbacks, leaving Nick Mullens in line for the surprise start. The Browns will also be missing their top WR and TE, their top two O-linemen, both starting safeties, and four of the top six corners. Oh, and Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is out too.
Before you bet this game, be sure to check the latest injury reports and beat writer news. And in truth, you probably need to wait until kickoff to place your bet — if you place one at all.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Raiders vs. Browns Injury Report
- G Richie Incognito (calf): Out
- G Denzelle Good (knee): Out for Season
- LB Denzel Perryman (ankle): Out
- WR DeSean Jackson (calf): Questionable
- LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle): Questionable
- TE Derek Carrier (pectoral): Out
- DE Carl Nassib (knee): Out
- DE Kendal Vickers (undisclosed): Out
- DE Clelin Ferrell (back): Out
- CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (toe): Out
- T Jackson Barton (undisclosed): Out
- CB Keisean Nixon (ankle): Questionable
- FB Alec Ingold (knee): Out
- TE Nick Bowers (neck): Out
- DE Malcolm Koonce (undisclosed): Out
- WR Jarvis Landry (knee): Questionable
- T Chris Hubbard (triceps): Out
- DT Malik Jackson (knee): Questionable
- CB Troy Hill (neck): Questionable
- QB Baker Mayfield (COVID protocols): Questionable
- CB Denzel Ward (hamstring): Questionable
- S Ronnie Harrison Jr. (ankle): Questionable
- FB Johnny Stanton (calf): Questionable
- DT Jordan Elliot (knee): Questionable
- LB Jacob Phillips (biceps): Questionable
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin): Questionable
- CB Greg Newsome II (concussion): Out
Raiders vs. Browns Matchup
|Raiders Offense||DVOA Rank||Browns Defense|
|Raiders Defense||DVOA Rank||Browns Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Las Vegas Raiders
Though it’s been a brutal week for the Browns with COVID news, it’s the Raiders who are reeling as a team. Las Vegas just got smashed for the second time in a month by the Chiefs, and the Raiders have now lost five of six games with 16 or fewer points scored in every loss.
The season went off the rails for this team when everything went down with Jon Gruden and Henry Ruggs, and the Raiders really haven’t been the same since. The offense has really missed the speed component with Ruggs opening things up downfield, and it hasn’t helped that Darren Waller remains out due to injury.
The Raiders haven’t run the ball well all season with their offensive line struggling to create room. Derek Carr has been among the league leaders in passing yards, but he’s struggled in this recent stretch without Waller and Ruggs. Vegas has been even worse on defense, especially against the pass. This team was once 3-0 but looked fraudulent then, and they’ve been exposed in the weeks since.
But after a season that has slowly gone off the rails, the playoffs are still a possibility for Vegas. Could this opportunity against the Browns backups be the perfect break they’ve been waiting to catch?
Are any of the Browns’ trends even relevant? It’s impossible to say at this point since it’s so hard to know what sort of team Cleveland will put out there, but we’ll try.
Cleveland has actually been a borderline top-10 team over the past six weeks by EPA, per RBSDM. For the season, the Browns have been mostly average. You can see from the chart above that they’re right around league average on offense, defense, and overall DVOA.
The one thing Cleveland continues to do well all season is run the football. While just about everyone else seems to be missing, Nick Chubb is fully healthy and ready to go, and he should get a huge workload, especially with Kareem Hunt out. But the Browns are missing both tackles and a guard and don’t have good offensive line depth, so even that strength could be mitigated.
The Browns haven’t passed the ball well, and this should have been a get-right opportunity for the passing game as bad as the Raiders pass D is, but now Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum, Jarvis Landry, and Austin Hooper are out. Nick Mullens is one of the best third-string QBs in the league, but that’s damning with faint praise. He doesn’t have many targets available and didn’t even know he’d be starting until under 48 hours before kickoff, so it’s a rough spot.
NFL Pick: Raiders vs. Browns
How do we bet a game when we have no idea who’s playing?
The Raiders defense is ripe for the picking, but the Browns may not have any pickers available. On the other side, Cleveland has just about no one left in the secondary, but as ice cold as Derek Carr and the offense have been, we’ll see just how much Carr can take advantage of the opportunity.
There’s one angle to keep an eye on here, and it’s the only one I can play in the end.
The Browns have been one of the league’s fastest starting teams. They’ve been terrific on early downs and great in the first quarter. Per RBSDM, the Browns offense ranks third in the NFL on first and second down EPA per play. Cleveland also ranks fourth in first quarter EPA offensively, but they drop to bottom five in the fourth quarter and overtime. They’re bottom five on late downs too, and especially bad passing in those spots.
The Raiders are just the opposite. Vegas has consistently started slow all season. The Raiders are the worst first quarter team in football by EPA outside of the terrible Jets, but Carr and the offense come alive late in the game. The Raiders rank top five in EPA in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Carr has three game-winning drives, a fourth quarter comeback, and three overtime wins this season.
The Browns this season have been great early but horrible late. The Raiders have been terrible early but terrific late.
I’m going to wait and look to live bet this game. Part of that is because, frankly, I just need to see who’s actually playing. But it’s partly so I can take advantage of that trend.
I’ll look to play the Raiders moneyline live once Vegas gets off to another one of those slow starts. Maybe Cleveland’s backups come out and get an early lead with a big adrenaline push. It’s not uncommon for teams to come out with low energy in a spot like Vegas with the opponent missing key names.
If I can get Vegas around even odds on the moneyline and have a decent feel for who’s playing in this game, I don’t mind getting my money in on the Raiders knowing they’ll be the stronger, healthier, better team in the second half.
But what if the Raiders just jump out early, grab a lead, and I never get that opportunity? In a game like this, that’s a chance we’ll have to take.
Pick: Bet Raiders ML live after the first quarter | Bet to: Around even odds if the Raiders start slow and you can get this near a pick’em
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