Cleveland Browns (1-6, 3-4 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (3-3, 3-3 ATS), Week 8 NFL, Soldier Field, Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 1st, 1PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Browns +13 /Bears -13.5
One of the NFL’s have-nots hits the road to play a team that played like one of that dubious group last week when the Cleveland Browns visit the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
The 1-6 Browns are coming off a 31-3 drubbing at the hands of the Green Bay Packers Sunday. Shortly thereafter, the 3-3 Bears got drilled 45-10 by the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Most online sportsbooks opened this game with Chicago favored by 13 or 14 points, with a total of 40 . And while the line had held steady in early betting action, most places had dropped the hook on the total.
The Bears are also listed at right around -800 on most NFL betting moneylines, with Cleveland getting upwards of +600.
The Browns opened the season with another new head coach and losses to Minnesota, Denver, Baltimore and Cincinnati (in overtime), before winning a stinker up in Buffalo. Since then they lost at Pittsburgh and Sunday at home to the Packers.
And Cleveland isn’t just losing games; they’re getting outgained, on average, by a 415-225 YPG margin.
Chicago opened the season with a tough loss at Green Bay, then beat the Steelers, Seahawks and Lions to go 3-1. But the Bears then lost at Atlanta, and Sunday gave up 31 first-half points to the Bengals in an embarrassing loss at Cincy to fall back to .500 on the season.
So at the moment Chicago sits in third place in the NFC North, 2 games behind the division-leading Vikings.
As for the Browns, it’s not even worth mentioning their place in the standings.
Both teams are having problems with their ground games. Cleveland is getting outrushed by a 171-97 YPG margin, while the Bears are getting outgrounded 110-81.
And when you can’t run the ball, or keep the other team from doing it, you don’t hold on to it very long. Chicago ranks 21st in the league in average time-of-possession at -2:00 per game, while the Browns rank 28th at -3:38.
Neither of these teams has gotten what they’d hoped for this season out of the quarterback position. For Cleveland, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have combined to be dismal, completing less than 50% of their passes for a measly 4.7 YPA, worst in the league, a 3/11 TD/INT ratio and a downright terrible 46.0 passing rating. On the other side of this match-up, Chicago QB Jay Cutler has not been the answer the Bears though he was going to be. The former Denver Bronco has hits on 65% of his throws for 7.0 YPA, 11 TDs and 10 INTS, and an 82.9 passing rating.
In playing three common opponents so far this season, the Browns got outgained by Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by a 459-244 YPG margin, while the Bears got outgained by a 327-302 average.
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These two teams last met in a game that mattered back in October of 2005, when the Trent Dilfer-quarterbacked Browns beat the Kyle Orton-QB’d Bears 20-10 in Cleveland.
The totals are 3-4 in Browns games this season, which have averaged just 36 points. The O/Us are 3-3 in Bears games, which have averaged 45.5 points.
Through the first seven weeks of NFL betting action, double-digit favorites are 16-1 straight up and 12-5 against the pointspreads.
The Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at USAToday.com rate the Bears at 20.0, the Brownies at 11.4. Toss in Sagarin’s updated NFL home-field advantage factor of 1.4, and Chicago is a 10-point favorite on the Sagarin line.
Zman’s Pick: I like the UNDER 40 here.