The Denver Broncos look to snap a three-game losing streak when they take on the Cleveland Browns, who are coming off a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Something’s gotta give when this pair collides in the Dawg Pound on Thursday Night Football.
Lookahead lines projected the Browns at -6, but the NFL line reopened on Sunday with the Browns down a point. The Browns are attracting early attention in the betting, which is somewhat surprising given the uncertainty that surrounds Baker Mayfield and Kareem Hunt. Indeed, it’s probably in part behind the drop in the NFL odds.
That It’s a short week and a quick turnaround isn’t ideal under the circumstances. How Stefanski will work around the slew of injuries he’s dealing with is yet unknown. But one thing is certain: the Browns look massively overpriced on the NFL odds board right now.
Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns
Thursday, October 21, 2021 – 8:20 PM EDT at First Energy Stadium
Broncos Crash Back Down To Earth
The Denver Broncos burst out of the gates behind a three-game winning streak, but since Week 4, it’s been all downhill for Vic Fangio’s side. The loss of Teddy Bridgewater to a concussion played a factor, but the Broncos have struggled to win games since he cleared concussion protocol too. Hence, what it boils down to is matchups.
The Broncos’ 3-0 record at the start of the season was built on the back of wins against inferior opponents – the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Las Vegas Raiders, the Broncos have struggled tremendously.
Recently, the Broncos succumbed to the 34-24 loss to division rivals Raiders at Mile High. The Broncos closed as the considerable -5 home chalk, but they failed to come through for their backers as the home favourites on the NFL odds board.
Teddy Bridgewater had a rough day of it. He finished with 35 of 49 passing attempts for 334 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. He also had a fumble for a loss.
Browns Fall Victim to Undefeated Cardinals
The Cleveland Browns were the latest victims of the Arizona Cardinals, the lone undefeated team in the NFL. The Browns were thoroughly outplayed, outhit and outmuscled by the in-form Cardinals in a lopsided 37-14 loss. It marked their second loss in as many weeks and the Browns slip to a 3-3 record on the season.
Curiously, the Browns closed as the 3-point home chalk over the Arizona Cardinals for this showdown, which was a bit of a head-scratcher given the Cards were 5-0 SU ahead of their date at FirstEnergy Stadium. It wasn’t even a close contest in the end as the defense faltered and the offense sputtered.
Baker Mayfield struggled to get anything going against the Cardinals defense. He went 19 of 28 passing attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception and two fumbles for losses. The vaunted run game failed to get any traction either, combing for 73 yards and no touchdowns. Kareem Hunt led the rushing offense with 66 yards on 14 carries.
The bad news for Kevin Stefanski and the Browns is the growing injury list. Baker Mayfield appeared to injure his shoulder further during the game — he’s been playing through a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder but fell awkwardly on it after the Cardinals defense teed off on the quarterback. He’s scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, which will shed more light on his status.. However, he was in sling during his post-game conference, which doesn’t bode well for the Browns
As well, Kareem Hunt was carted off the field after he injured his calf. Stefanski ruled out an Achilles injury, but he did say more will be revealed on Monday. Stay tuned.
NFL Predictions and Picks
How Cleveland is installed as the hefty favorite in the betting across multiple sports betting platforms is a bit of a head scratcher. They’re riding a two-game losing streak, confidence appears to be waning and the injuries are mounting.
As things currently stand, Cleveland is at the bottom of the AFC North standings with a 3-3 record, but tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) after they emerged winners over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday Night Football. They’re two games behind the high-flying Baltimore Ravens and a game shy of the Cincinnati Bengals, both of which emerged winners in Week 6 of the NFL too.
The Browns have lost two games in a row to good opponents – the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals. Thus far, the only teams they’ve beaten are the Houston Texans, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.
To be fair, very little separates the Browns and Broncos. They have identical 3-3 records and ride losing streaks into Week 7. Both sides prefer to run the ball rather than entrust it to the quarterback or the pass offense, and both have solid enough defenses.
This isn’t the first time the Browns are overhyped and overpriced as they’ve been the vogue NFL pick with bettors since their stellar 2020 NFL campaign. But on a short week with a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football, and all the uncertainty surrounding Mayfield and Kareem Hunt, it’s way too many points to lay with the Browns. As such, the Broncos plus the points is the better bet.
NFL Picks: TBD