NFL Picks For Browns vs. Giants: 3 Ways To Bet Sunday Night Football
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images. Pictured: David Njoku
The Cleveland Browns gifted NFL fans the game of the year in a 47-42 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Monday night (which, of course, ended on a spread-swinging safety.)
Now the Browns have been flexed into primetime, with the league moving the originally-scheduled 49ers-Cowboys matchup to the afternoon and Baker Mayfield and Co. into the Sunday Night Football slot.
Our staff is here to walk you through their picks for the Browns’ bout against the Giants, including takes on the spread and total as well as two of our analysts on the same side of Nick Chubb’s rushing prop.
NFL Picks For Browns-Giants
Brandon Anderson: This has an old school feel to it, and Sunday night will feel like a throwback playoff game between two teams that feel like classics but haven’t exactly been there in awhile.
Beware the recency bias: This line would have been very different a week ago. At that point, the Giants were on a four-win streak and at the top of the suddenly competitive NFC East, coming off a surprise win over the Seahawks. The Browns were playing well, too, on a four-win streak of their own along with their best win of the season over the Titans.
Then both teams lost last week, but they lost in very different fashions.
The Giants were dominated by a Cardinals team that had been moving in the wrong direction whereas the Browns lost an absolutely classic back and forth Monday Night Football matchup, moving the ball at will against a good Ravens defense and hanging 42 points on them before taking the L in the final seconds.
The narrative now is that the Giants were never good to start with while the Browns are still 9-4 and here “for real” now, but narratives can be deceiving. After all, it’s hard to lose a football game despite scoring 42 points unless you have a pretty terrible defense.
It’s also really hard to count moral victories as anything significant in professional sports. Fans might feel good about the Browns nearly beating the Ravens, but the reality is that the players are coming off a devastating adrenaline rush letdown after putting everything on the table in their game of the season and losing at home anyway, and seeing their chances of a division win and a home playoff game slip through their fingers before a short week and a flight to New York for a third road game in four weeks.
Pretty different picture, huh?
The letdown factor is huge, and the revenge angle could be big, too. With Jason Garrett and Daniel Jones sidelined, Freddie Kitchens will call plays for Colt McCoy and a Giants offense against an exhausted, vulnerable Browns’ D. The Giants have been effective running the ball and should be able to run on the Browns and keep the game close and short.
Grab the Giants and the points. Sprinkle a bit on the moneyline, too, in case a feisty Giants defense shows up for real and pulls the upset with more on the line for New York in this game than Cleveland.
Matthew Freedman: As bad as the playcaller-quarterback combo of Garrett and Jones has been, the Kitchens-McCoy duo might be worse — and that points to me the under here.
The Giants have backups at both offensive coordinator and quarterback, and as much as I love the theoretical poetry of Kitchens and McCoy teaming up to put on a show against their former team, this Giants offense is likely to underwhelm.
The Browns have a top-five defensive line while the Giants likely have a bottom-five offensive line, so McCoy will be under pressure a lot of the game. And the Browns are likely to get back No. 1 cornerback Denzel Ward, so the Browns can slow down the Giants.
And on offense, the Browns don’t have a great matchup, and I expect them to play with their usual slow-paced, run-first style, which will help the under.
I’d take this to 42 if necessary but really like it at 44.5 (shop real-time lines here).
Nick Chubb Over 73.5 Rush Yards (-120)
Chubb has rushed for 80-plus yards in 7-of-9 games with a median of 108, so the market looks to be overweighting the absence of guard Wyatt Teller, especially with the Giants’ vulnerability to explosive runs.
Chubb is averaging 18.6 carries per game in five games since returning from injury and should get plenty of volume in a game the Giants are unlikely to run away with. I would bet this over up to 84.5 yards.
But Chubb is anything but average — he’s one of the best pure runners in football, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s playing behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. The Browns also run the ball at the third-highest rate.
NextGenStats has a metric that measures how many rushing yards a ball-carrier is expected to gain based on the location/speed direction of blockers and defenders. Well, in Chubb’s three NFL seasons, he finished second and third before taking over first (by a mile) in Rush Yards Over Expected per attempt this season.
As 6.5-point favorites, this is a prime spot to expect a max workload for Chubb:
- Games won between 1-10 points (5): 118 rush yards
- Games lost or won by 10-plus points (4): 74 rush yards
I would bet this up to 79.5 yards, but here are his projected chances of going over or under various lines based on my 10,000 player prop simulations: