Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:15 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Cleveland +2 over Washington
1:00 PM EST. Diving into the analytics over at Football Outsiders is one of our favorite things to do each week. The wealth of information offered by that group of bright football minds is vast. It’s so easy to pull on a thread and then head down a rabbit hole because you never know what you are going to find. That’s exactly what happened when we were researching this game.
We’ll save the playoff scenarios for the end, as they are the ones that will be covered ad nauseam until kickoff. Instead, we are going to spend time on a little statistic called Estimated Wins, which is exactly as it sounds. The Football Outsiders crew throw all their fancy stats and game situations into the big computer and out spits the number of wins a team “should” have if everything had gone the way it was supposed to.
In the cases of the Browns and the Commanders, the Estimated Wins were different from the ones these two teams have posted in the standings. We often discuss that winning trumps all, but that wins and losses are not always a true reflection of a team’s quality or lack thereof.
Washington, who is 7-7-1, and currently in possession of the third Wild Card, sports an Estimated Win total of just 6.2 all while playing the 17th ranked Strength of Schedule. In a world where the playoff field is larger than ever and with one more game added to the schedule to go along with that, an extra win and a tie are enough to make a huge difference on a team’s outlook.
The Browns are 6-9 and have already been eliminated from playoff contention. However, despite all of the turmoil and drama, Cleveland has an Estimated Win total of 8.0 after playing the fifth-toughest schedule in the league. They say life’s not fair in love and football, well buddy, the Browns are the walking embodiment of that.
Because the Brownies are done and the Commanders are still “in it,” market perception is that Washington must be the play here because it “must win.” Hell, even if the ‘Manders do win this game, it’s not going to be enough to clinch, as they would still need losses by Seattle, Green Bay, and Detroit. Don’t buy the “must win” angle, it’s lame and it rarely works and don’t pay a premium to back the inferior former Football Team. Wrong side favored.
Cleveland +2 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)