Well the stage was set, on a warm Sunday night off the shores of Lake Erie. The 1-1 Cleveland Browns were hosting the 2-0 L.A. Rams and the city of Cleveland was a buzz. The excitement inside First Energy stadium was at an all time high and the game itself, while not the result Browns fans were looking for, did provide excitement and intrigue throughout. Cleveland took a 6-3 into the locker room at half time on the backs of a piecemeal defensive secondary that really must be commended for its performance throughout.
The offense on the other hand still was not able to find much traction thanks in large part to more penalties and what looked to be, plenty of confusion on the offensive side. The fact is that through three games the coaching and discipline on this team has been inexcusably bad. You can even take out the questionable decisions if you want (4th and 9 draw to Nick Chubb, no running play on 1st and goal at the four); the outright confusion from multiple players in multiple different situations throughout the first three games has me questioning this coaching staff quite a bit, at the moment.
The 35 penalties for 327 yds through the first three games is a huge problem. Spotting the opposition 100 yds per game is not a recipe for winning in the NFL and the Browns did not win this one. Falling 20-13 to the Rams and failing to cover the spread as 3.5 point home underdogs. Much to the pleasure of the betting public who backed the Rams with nearly 85% of the tickets on the game.
Browns Odds and Browns Betting Trends Through the First Three Games
The total was never really in question falling well below the 47 Over/ Under, based mainly on the surprising Browns defense who played a tremendous game despite not having the majority of their starting secondary. This Browns offense needs an identity and it may take some time to find it. At the moment, this offense is in total disarray scheme wise. I am still confident this will turn around at some point this season because the talent and leadership on this team is undeniable. The road doesn’t get any easier throughout the next three weeks as the Browns play Baltimore, San Francisco, and Seattle. In other words, expect the growing pains to continue for a little while.
This week the 1-2 Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the division rival 2-1 Baltimore Ravens. The Browns will be looking to pull themselves up into a tie with the Ravens atop the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns odds for this game opened with Baltimore as 5.5 point favorites and it has been quickly bet all the way up to BAL -7 with an Over/Under of 46.5. I expect this line to move back closer to the opening line as we get later in the week. It will be another big test for the Browns and a very important game when it comes to the division standing given the current state of the teams in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Ravens are now -140 favorites to win the division followed by the Browns at +160.