Rams vs Browns NFL betting picks and predictions: L.A. primed to break out passing game

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The Cleveland Browns bounced back on Monday after a lackluster performance in the season opener, but now have to face a real test as they welcome the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams to Cleveland on Sunday Night. **video

The Rams enter this matchup 2-0 SU/ATS behind a healthy (for now) running game and a strong defense. But will that be enough to cover 3.5-point as a road favorite for this prime time matchup? From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, we break down the best ways to wager Sunday night football.

LOS ANGELES RAMS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (+3.5, 46.5 @ BETAMERICA)

QUICK HITTER

The NFL really is a “what have you done for me lately” league. For instance, the Rams are averaging 28.5 points per game through the first two weeks of the season. That’s sixth best in the league. But people are still wondering with is wrong with the L.A. offense that averaged 32.9 points per contest last season.

The Rams ground game behind Todd Gurley (whose knee is holding up for now) and Malcolm Brown has been effective, but the passing game hasn’t looked as sharp. But this matchup is set up for Sean McVay’s offense to break out.

The Browns pass defense is banged up, with their top two corners questionable, but worse than that, they just haven’t played very well. The ever-inconsistent Marcus Mariota picked them apart, and as much as everyone wants to make fun of Luke Falk, he still put up 200 yards in less than a full game.

Expect McVay to have something dialed up early and to take a lead into the second quarter.

Pick: Rams -0.5 (+120) First Quarter Spread

FIRST HALF BET

While the Rams seems set up to break out, who knows what you can expect out of the gates from the Browns. They looked awful in their Week 1 loss to Tennessee and you really can’t take anything away from their game against the Jets “B” squad last Monday. Well, maybe nothing positive.

The Browns looked lost on offense at times last week. It seemed like they were constantly slow to the line. And realistically, if it wasn’t for some great plays from Odell Beckham Jr. and Nick Chubb, that game against the Jets could have been a whole lot uglier.

And now they must go up against the likes of Aaron Donald and the Rams defense, which is once again showing it is a strong unit, ranking in the Top 10 in total yards, passing defense, rushing defense and points allowed. It could take a while for the Browns to get going in this one.

Pick: Browns Under 9.5 First Half Team Total (+100)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

We already mentioned that we like the Rams passing offense to really get going in this one and that leads right into our favorite prop play of the game.

Jared Goff is averaging just 224 yards per game thus far this season, but could find success against this Browns secondary. Even if Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams weren’t listed as questionable, they haven’t played overly well this season anyway, particularly Ward. Titans rookie A.J. Brown burned Ward for 100 yards on three catches and then Robby Anderson grabbed four passes for 81 yards.

The Rams leading receiver varies from week-to-week, especially now that Cooper Kupp is back, but that depth will come in handy against the thin Browns secondary and we think that benefits steady Robert Woods the most. Woods continues to be Goff’s safety blanket making his receiving yards total too low in this one. Woods has eclipsed the current number of 64.5 in 14 of his last 17 regular season games. We like Kupp to go Over 69.5 yards as well, but if we have to take one, we’re going with Woods.

Pick: Robert Woods Over 64.5 Receiving Yards

FULL GAME TOTAL

This total hit the board at a nice high 51, and bettors promptly hammered the Under, moving the number all the way down to its current 47. This has to due with the fact that the Browns just haven’t looked very good so far. They have some good numbers on offense, but a lot of those came in garbage time against the Titans and from some big plays against the Jets. Not to mention Goff’s inefficacies this season and his struggles on the road from a year ago.

That said, has this number moved a touch too low? The Rams are set up well to score here. Gurley and Brown should find some rushing lanes against the Browns defense that struggled against Derrick Henry and still allowed LeV’eon Bell to get over 120 total yards despite the fact he looked like the only professional football player on the field for the Jets.

But this all comes back to the fact that McVay will try to unleash Goff in this matchup. And while the Browns haven’t been pretty on offense, they have enough talent at the skill positions to put a few points on the board.

Pick: Over 47

FULL GAME SIDE

Baker Mayfield needs to play his best game of the season if the Browns want to win this game. He’s been sacked eight times and thrown four picks already this season. And frankly, he just hasn’t looked very comfortable in the pocket at his point. To make matters worse for the Browns, they are the most heavily penalized team in the NFL, getting 27 flag thrown against them. That’s seven more than the next closest team.

If the Browns are unable to find some consistency on offense, and continues to lack disciple, they are going to be in real trouble against a talented Rams team, that despite scoring 57 points in two weeks is trying to really still get going.

Pick: Rams -3.5

 

VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. 

If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.

BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY

The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.

Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.

NO HANGOVER HERE

The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.

With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.

RIGHT SAID FRED

With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.

LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.

DOWN TO DEFENSE

With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.

The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers. 

Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.

We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.

QUICK HITTER

The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.

The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.

Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.

PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)

FIRST HALF BET

The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.

On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.

The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.

PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.

Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.

PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.

The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.

The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.

PICK: Under 224 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.

The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.

PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)