The Cleveland Browns head to New York on Monday night to face the Jets in what was supposed to be a matchup between two up-and-coming teams in the NFL. Instead both squads are coming off disappointing losses at home with the Browns getting embarrased in a 43-13 defeat against the Titans while the Jets squandered a commanding fourth-quarter lead to fall by a single point versus the Bills.
The Jets will also be without quarterback Sam Darnold for the next several weeks making them sizable underdogs for this matchup at home. We break down the odds for this game with our best bets and predictions.
CLEVELAND BROWNS AT NEW YORK JETS (+6.5, 45 @ BETAMERICA)
After the news came out that Darnold would be out until at least Week 5 due to mono the line for this game jumped from the Jets being 3-point underdogs to 6.5-point dogs. Sportsbooks have little faith in backup quarter Trevor Siemian who hasn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2017 when he started ten games for the Broncos. That year he completed 59 percent of his passes and tossed 12 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions.
Le’Veon Bell is also listed as questionable for the game after an MRI on his shoulder turned up negative. Even if he ends up playing (and that’s looking likely) the Browns will stack the box and force the Jets to beat them through the air which Siemian likely can’t do. Take the Browns offense to score first.
PICK: First team to score – Cleveland (-150)
Cleveland signal-caller Baker Mayfield threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter last week but don’t expect that play to continue into the Monday night matchup. Mayfield has a gunslinger mentality and has shown the crucial ability to shrug off mistakes. Expect the Browns to come out fired up, even in hostile territory.
With the Jets missing key players on both sides of the ball look for them to come out flat-footed and go into halftime with a deficit of at least a field goal.
PICK: First Half Spread – Cleveland -3
Last week Cleveland was gashed by Titans running back Derrick Henry who rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on the ground and added a 75-yard TD catch. This week they can expect a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell with Siemian behind center.
There was talk that Bell might miss this game due to shoulder problems but an MRI turned up negative and Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters on Friday that Bell is “good to go”. While you can’t trust Bell to get many rushing attempts because that’s entirely dependent on game script, it is likely that Bell will get a lot of targets in the passing game. Bell played every snap in Week 1 and caught six passes on nine targets.
This might be a wager you wait until Monday to take, just to make sure that Bell is indeed playing without any restrictions, but the Over 4.5 on Bell’s receptions total seems like a good bet.
PICK: Le’Veon Bell – Over 4.5 receptions (+105)
FULL GAME TOTAL
We already touched on why the Jets offense will struggle but the Browns defense, at least on paper, is pretty good as well. They have an athletic front seven led by Myles Garrett and a lockdown defensive back in second-year corner Denzel Ward. Cleveland allowed three pass receptions of more than 45 yards last week but if they can limit those big plays they will be solid.
As for Cleveland’s offense they looked out of sync against the Titans, especially late in the game when they were forced to abandon the run and play catch up, forcing Mayfield into making some bad throws.
Mayfield is more efficient when he can lean on the ground game and with the Jets offense unlikely to get going early the Browns will feature a more balanced attack that controls the clock. Take the Under.
PICK: Under 45
FULL GAME SIDE
This line has jumped and for good reason, it’s hard enough to win in the NFL with a backup quarterback let alone one who has no receiving targets. And yes wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught 14 passes in Week 1, but 99 receiving yards on 17 targets isn’t good. The Jets will also be without All-Pro linebacker CJ Mosley and the third overall pick in this year’s draft in defensive lineman Quinnen Williams. So it’s not just their offense that will be hurting.
One reason that the Browns offense struggled in Week 1 was because their line couldn’t protect Mayfield, letting their franchise QB get sacked five times. But the Jets managed only one sack last week and if they can’t get pressure on Mayfield he will be able to attack downfield with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, while Nick Chubb eats up the clock with carries. Take the Browns to win and cover the spread.
PICK: Cleveland -6.5