Cleveland Browns (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17th, 2017 1:00 PM ET
Where: M& Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD
by Keith, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLE +7.5/BAL -7.5
Over/Under Total: 41
As we have highlighted previously, the AFC North is typically known as one of the NFLs most physical and perilous divisions. The Baltimore Cleveland rivalry typifies this narrative. The Ravens are essentially the offspring of the Browns or some can argue due to expansion vice-versa. The Ravens are the original Cleveland Browns but the organization relocated to Baltimore leaving a rabid fan base heart-broken. As a response, the NFL created an expansion team. The new Cleveland Browns. However, the same traditions and legacy of the Browns of yesteryear still are maintained. The rivalry between the two is intimate is it is a shared lineage that both franchises are intertwined in. As of late, the rivalry series has been all Ravens. Baltimore has won the last three meetings between both sides and they are 9-1 SU in the previous ten meetings between the two. In the most previous meeting in Baltimore in November 2016, the Ravens would ravage the Browns at M& Bank Stadium by a score of 28-7. The Ravens are known for owning a robust home field advantage at home and this result further reinforces this premise.
Out of the chute we have seen slight public action on the Browns which diminished the line by half of a point to its current station, likely as a reaction to Cleveland hanging tough with Pittsburgh in Week One. The Browns are classed as one of the kick-around teams in the NFL. However, their ability to play with the best team in the division would suggest that perhaps they are heading back in a more positive direction after a woeful season in 2016. Cleveland was able to score 18 points in a three-point loss against their AFC North rivals. While it may have been garnered as a loss statistically for the Dogs, on a sentimental level it may have been classed as a win. This is the second occasion in a row that a field goal had to decide the outcome of a contest with Pittsburgh for Cleveland. After going 4-0 in the pre-season, the Dogs are eyeing improvements in their efforts in 2017.
Baltimore has now won five in a row. The most recent victory, perhaps their most impressive. The Ravens have finally ended their winless streak at Paul Brown Stadium when they shut out the Bengals at home on Sunday afternoon by a score of 20-0. Baltimores defense once again paved the way and their efforts were pivotal in the Ravens securing the victory. As mentioned, the Ravens are looking to take a step forward in 2017. Early showings indicate that they just might be doing so. The offense was nothing to marvel at but it was economical, efficient, and got the job done. Jeremy Maclin had the sole receiving touchdown for the Birds while running back Terrence West found pay-dirt to get the Ravens up 17 in Cincinnati. The Baltimore defense held the Cincinnati offense to under 220 yards of total offense in their respective season openers.
Playing chalk has many disadvantages. However, the number offered here is a favorite-friendly number. The 7.5-spot entices action on the underdog under the guise that a touchdown still generates a cover for any Cleveland taker. However, Baltimore will likely settle the account by a much larger margin. It is without question that Cleveland has much a brighter forecast in 2017 than it did in 2016. The Browns were flirting with disaster when they were staring an 0-16 season in the face, until they generated a hard-fought win against the San Diego Chargers in the snow at home. Unfortunately, this contest will be played in Baltimore and takers can be rest assured that the Birds will be fired up after their last result against Cincinnati. The Ravens are a tough team to fade as a whole be that they are playing with a hot hand. The stock in this organization will continue to rise with each win it picks up but at the price offered here, we can go ahead and spot the lumber to the visiting Browns. Swallow the points.
KEITHs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: BALTIMORE -7.5
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