Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns Pick
Los Angeles Chargers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-2-1 SU, 4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 1PM EDT
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
By: Loot Levinson, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LAC -1/CLE +1
Over/Under Total: 44.5
I see the Chargers getting the cover this week on the road against the Browns. Granted, the one win the Browns had in that whole losing patch before this season was against the Chargers. And that’s a very Chargers-like result, as they have an uncanny knack of being on the brunt end of negative history. Be that as it may, the Chargers look to have quietly gotten their act together on both sides of the ball and while Cleveland will be competitive, I see the Bolts getting the win and cover in Cleveland on Sunday.
Are the Browns Legit?
On one hand, when a team that can’t buy a win is suddenly in every game, covering spreads left and right, while getting close games to fall in their favor, it deserves a hard look. Respect should be given, but one needs to be cautious to not backlash too hard into an unreasonable position. Cleveland is a nice team. They’ve done some good things over there and have things pointed in the right direction. And at the same time, they still have a lot to work out. That needs to be acknowledged.
It helps that the Browns are getting their fourth home game already in this spot. It’s been a tough road, with the majority of their games being drawn-out overtime slugfests. You wonder if it’s going to start taking a toll. All of their games have been extremely-close, with extra time needed to settle the matter. They have a lot of rising youngsters and a better attitude team-wide and we’ve seen the results.
Baker Mayfield is going to be a good quarterback and has already given the Browns a boost with his play. But he’s going to make mistakes and still has a way to go before he’s even half the field general that Philip Rivers is. Sure, he has a good receiver in Jarvis Landry, a decent back in Carlos Hyde, along with rising talent in WR Antonio Callaway, TE David Njoku, and others. But it’s not a high-octane offense—that’s for sure. In terms of overall offensive weaponry they can employ, they are at a deficit in this matchup.
Growing Pains for Baker in this Game?
Mayfield has already faced some tough defenses this season, but maybe nothing like the Chargers and what they bring to the table. Last week in giving up just ten points to Oakland, we saw them at their best this season—rigid and making a lot of difference-making plays. Mayfield will be dealing with monsters like Melvin Ingram, who had both a pick and a sack last week. The secondary is one that goes after the ball and makes plays left and right. Rookie safety Derwin James gets after quarterbacks, while guys like Casey Hayward gets after balls.
Chargers Forging a Path
The Chargers have been a bit odd this season. A lot was expected and this season started slow. With two wins in a row, they have righted the ship with a chance to push it to 4-2 this week in what seems like a winnable spot. In their two losses this season, they fell to the Chiefs and Rams, two teams who still haven’t lost yet. It seems like there are people overlooking the Chargers, who haven’t really given much indication that they won’t be good this season. Going back to last season, they are 12-6 in their last 18 games.
One could expect to see the Chargers’ offense start to take more liberties. The roles are spelled out well. Rivers is as cemented as it gets behind center—solid as they come. Melvin Gordon is a legit number-one back and that’s ditto for Keenan Allen at wide receiver. Throw in the likes of RB Austin Ekeler, WR Tyrell Williams, WR Mike Williams, and even old-hat Antonio Gates, and it’s a lot of options to throw at a Browns’ secondary that hasn’t looked tip-top. And it wasn’t a formula that should have been expected to click immediately, with a reshuffled offensive line and other moving pieces. And with each passing week, the picture is getting rosier.
The Power of Exposure
Granted, the Browns aren’t a team that gets a ton of run in the media. But with their recent woes, they became a news item. We have all been invested maybe even just a little bit in seeing how this story goes. And week in and week out this season; we see them not getting their butt kicked, not looking bad, not folding when the going gets hot, and not looking like the same doormat team. Meanwhile, the Chargers are just more or less there, taking up space in our heads without much direction or purpose. Our head can have a way of twisting up all this info—mistaking noteworthiness with merit. In reality, we have two teams that are headed upward. The Chargers maybe had less room to travel, but it’s easy to mistake that for their exact current position. Simply put, I find that position to be a notch higher than the Browns.
Lay the number on the Road Favorite
At minus one, it’s not much of a spread, though the way the Browns have been playing every game razor-thin, it could be factor. At any rate, this looks to be a competitive game between two teams that enter this spot feeling pretty good. The Browns would like to get it done at home, with two straight tough road games looming. I just see the Browns “D” wilting some under the Chargers’ big-play potential, with the Bolts’ defense providing a punishing day for Mayfield. I’m taking the Chargers.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus one point.