Browns vs 49ers NFL betting picks and predictions: Look for big plays from Cleveland

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Two up-and-coming young teams face off on Monday Night Football as the Cleveland Browns, fresh off a 40-point performance against the Ravens, take on the 3-0 San Francisco 49ers. From the first whistle to the last we break down the odds and give our best bets and predictions for this matchup.

CLEVELAND BROWNS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-5, 47 @ BETAMERICA)

QUICK HITTER

The Browns will be the best defense the 49ers have faced this year. So far San Fran’s offensive line has managed to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s jersey relatively clean, letting him get sacked just twice in three games.

However, the Browns led by Myles Garrett are fourth in the league in sacks with 3.5 per game and should be able to apply more pressure than what Jimmy-G has faced this year.

The 49ers defense has been excellent against both the run and the pass; holding opposing running backs to just 3.3 yards per carry and opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 57.14. So both offenses could struggle out of the gate in this one.

We like the Under 9.5 on the 1Q total.

PICK: First quarter total – Under 9.5 (-110)

FIRST-HALF BET

San Fran has put points on the scoreboard this year but they tend to do most of their damage in the second half. In the opening half they average just 11 points per game. Cleveland scores 9.5 ppg in the opening half and even in their 40-point performance last week, scored only 10 points through the first 35 minutes of the game.

On the defensive side of the ball, both teams have been stout in the early going. The Browns hold opponents to just 6.2 ppg in the opening half, the third-best number in the league. The Niners defense, which features a front seven just littered with first-round draft selections, isn’t far behind them giving up 7.7 points in the first half.

Take the Under on the 1H total.

PICK: First Half total Under 23 (-110)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

We’ve already described how much the 49ers defense has improved and one stat in particular makes this clear: interceptions. In 2018, the 49ers set an NFL record for the fewest interceptions in a season, picking off just two passes! This year, through just three games, they’ve already more than doubled that total with five INTs.

Browns QB Baker Mayfield has plenty of potential but he’s a gunslinger who’s not afraid to force passes. Unfortunately for Cleveland fans that also means he gets picked off a lot. Mayfield has been intercepted in every game this season, and going back to last year he’s thrown 13 interceptions over his last nine games.

Odell Beckham Jr. has been limited to just 86 yards on eight catches over the last two games (with not a single reception of 20 yards or more), so you might see Mayfield force the ball downfield a bit more on Monday night. We like Mayfield to throw an interception even with the number juiced heavily towards that happening.

PICK: Baker Mayfield Over 0.5 interceptions (-150)

FULL GAME TOTAL

Both defenses have looked very strong this season while the offenses have been inconsistent. Cleveland’s offense finally broke through last week, but through the first three games of the season looked out of sync on that side of the ball, averaging just 330.3 yards and 16.3 points per game.

San Francisco has racked up a lot of yards this year but if you look below the surface there are troubling signs. The best defense they’ve faced this year was Pittsburgh who rank 19th in the league in yards allowed, and the Niners have turned the ball over more than any team in the league with 2.7 giveaways per game. They also have one of the worst red-zone offenses in the NFL, scoring a touchdown just 42.86 percent of the time they enter the red zone.

We think the second half will be higher scoring than the first but we’re still leaning towards the Under.

PICK: Under 47 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

San Francisco might be 3-0 but they’ve beaten up on some pretty weak opponents in the Buccaneers, Bengals, and Roethlisberger-less Steelers. The Browns got stomped by the Titans in Week 1 but are coming off an impressive win against a good Ravens team and the previous week were leading against the Rams until the fourth quarter.

The Browns also have a terrific group of skill players, in Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb that are all capable of making big plays. That big-play ability could make the difference in a back-and-forth defensive battle.

The Niners might play spoiler every now and then but they don’t do a good job of covering when they are the chalk. They’re 0-5 ATS as a favorite going back to last year, and have covered as a favorite only once since 2015 (1-9 ATS in that span). With the Browns 4-0 ATS in their last four games on the road, take them to cover again.

PICK: Cleveland +5 (-110)

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)