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)
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)
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