Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Cleveland -3½ over Tennessee
1:00 PM EST. We’re always acutely aware of the point-spread because it tells just as big a story as the X’s and O’s and we therefore have to question why the oddsmakers hung a hook on such a key number like +3 to take it up to +3½ against a Titans’ squad that is 2-0 Against the Spread (ATS) and that has been a live pup for years. Why, oh why or why? Is it to entice bettors into taking that hook? You might want to think about that before you pull the trigger on the Titans. What is there not to like about the Titans getting points?
The Titans stop the run better than any team in the NFL, and the Browns have no idea who is going to run the football this week (or maybe any other week) after the incredibly devastating injury to Nick Chubb. In other words, Cleveland will be counting on its second-ranked defense to have a chance to win. This just seems like a field-goal kind of game between two teams who have already combined to attempt 13 of them (and make 12).
There is also an overreaction to Nick Chubb’s injury and that, too, has us leaning to the host. Absolutely it’s a key injury to a key player but do you think that the oddsmakers were unaware of Chubb’s injury when they hung a hook on that aforementioned key number? C’mon now. Chubb was the engine of the offense and the identity of the team. Jerome Ford was effective in relief, but the difference between possibly the best rusher in the NFL and a fifth-round pick who averaged 1.5 yards per carry as a rookie is something the market does not trust for a second. Worse yet, the passing effort under Deshaun Watson looked bad last year when he finished out the year by kicking off the rust. He still looks no better. The narrative is that the defense will keep them in all games but cannot win them outright. The Browns already looked like a team that would win close, low-scoring matchups and now the scoring may be even lower. That might be true but have you seen Ryan Tannehill play football this year?
When Tannehill played a good defense in Week 1 (New Orleans) he threw for 198 yards and three interceptions. Last week he faced a Chargers’ defense that was and is brutal and while he didn't throw any picks, he was still sacked five times. Guaranteed Tannehill will get picked off this week and it’s just a matter of how many times.
The Browns barely lost to the Steelers, and that was solely because they allowed two defensive touchdowns to Pittsburgh. In Week 1, they destroyed the Bengals. The Cleveland defense was outstanding and after two games played, they have only allowed one touchdown, which came on a 71-yard fluke pass play. The Brownies also have an elite offensive line that might be the best in the biz.
Finally, when a key player goes down, players come together and usually put in a strong and determined effort in support of their teammate. Tennessee may look appealing but that hook is something we cannot ignore and you shouldn’t either. If we’re reading between the lines correctly, that extra half point on that key number is merely fool’s gold and strongly suggests that the Brownies will win and cover.
Cleveland -3½ +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)