AFC North Battle: Browns vs. Ravens Pick

by | Sep 10, 2020 | nfl

Cleveland Browns (0-0) vs. Baltimore Ravens (0-0), 9/13/19
Time: 1 pm ET Sunday, Sept. 13
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

Point spread: Ravens -8 (Bovada)
Moneyline: Ravens -375/Browns +290
Over/Under: 48.5

The Ravens begin what they hope is a trip to the Super Bowl, while the Browns set out in search of a playoff berth when these rivals meet for an AFC North grudge match Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. The Ravens are favored by more than a touchdown for this game, but Cleveland beat Baltimore in just such a spot last season. How are we playing this game with our free NFL pick?

NFL Betting Odds

Week 1’s NFL betting odds opened Baltimore as an 8.5-point home favorite over Cleveland, with an over/under of right around 49.5. Early betting action then dipped that line to -8 and the total to 48.5.

Any bettors thinking the Browns might win this game outright could get a price of around +290 on the NFL betting moneyline.

Browns vs. Ravens Set-Up

Cleveland was expected to contend not only for a playoff spot last season but maybe even for the AFC championship. But as happens so often to teams with suddenly heightened expectations, the Browns faltered and finished 6-10 SU, 5-10-1 ATS. Cleveland started 2-2 last year, then lost four games in a row to fall behind the 8-ball. The Browns later got to 6-7 but then lost their final three straight, including a season-ender to a terrible Cincinnati team, which caused yet another change at head coach for the Brownies. In the process, Cleveland played under its season wins over/under of 9.5. Over the off-season, the Browns were reasonably active in the free-agent market, signing several veterans of marginal note, and used three of their top four draft picks on defense. Heading into this season, Cleveland faces a season wins over/under of 8.5. Baltimore, meanwhile, exploded with QB Lamar Jackson last season to go 14-2 SU, 10-6 ATS. The Ravens only started 2-2, with a somewhat shocking home loss to these Browns. But Baltimore then won its last 12 games in a row, knocking off Seattle, New England, Houston, San Francisco, and this Cleveland team along the way, to earn the top seed for the AFC playoffs. Alas, it all came crashing down when the Ravens lost their playoff opener at home to Tennessee 28-12. Nonetheless, Baltimore played over its wins O/U, which was only 8.5. Over the off-season, the Ravens bolstered their defensive line with the additions of DE’s Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, then used their top pick in the draft to take LB Patrick Queen out of LSU. Heading into this season, Baltimore is going against a wins O/U of 11.5, which is tied with Kansas City for the highest total in the League.

Recent Rivalry

These teams split their season series each of the last two seasons, but Cleveland is 3-1 ATS over that span. Last season the Browns upset the Ravens 40-25 as 7.5-point dogs in Baltimore in Week 4, only to have Baltimore return the favor with a 31-15 victory in Cleveland in Week 16, covering at -9.5.

Browns-Ravens By the Numbers

Cleveland ranked 22nd in the NFL in total offense last season at 341 yards per game but 12th in rushing at 119 YPG. On the other side of the ball, the Browns ranked 22nd in total defense, allowing 362 YPG, and 30th against the run, allowing 145 YPG on the ground. Cleveland also ranked 26th in turnover margin at -8 and 17th in “time of possession” at 29:42.

Baltimore ranked No. 2 in total offense last season at 408 YPG, No. 1 in rushing at a very healthy 206 YPG, fourth in total defense at 301 YPG, and fifth against the run, allowing just 93 YPG. However, that last stat may have been affected by the fact the Ravens played with leads almost the entire season. Baltimore also ranked sixth in TO margin at +10 and No. 1 in TOP at 34:24.

NFL Betting Trends

  • The Browns played 2-6 both SU and ATS on the road last season.
  • The Browns played 1-4 ATS last season as underdogs.
  • The Ravens played 7-1 SU but only 4-4 ATS at home last season.
  • The Ravens played 3-3 ATS last season when favored by more than seven points.

Totals Report

  • Totals split 8-8 in Browns’ games last season, which averaged 46 total points.
  • Overs played 9-7 in Ravens games last season, which averaged 51 points.
  • Unders are 5-2 over the last seven meetings in this series.

Free NFL Pick

Baltimore will probably win this game outright. However, the Ravens are playing against very high expectations this season, and sometimes that can be very hard to do. Cleveland will attest to that, after getting humbled last season. But we expect better things from the Browns this season. They might not win this one outright, but we’ll take Brownies and the points here.