San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns Preview and Pick – Point Spread

San Diego Chargers (8-3, 6-5 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (1-10, 5-6 ATS), Week 13 NFL, Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Sunday, Dec. 6th, 4 PM Eastern, CBS
By Z-Man of

Point Spread: Chargers -13/Browns +13
Over/Under: 43

One of the hottest teams in the NFL at the moment, the San Diego Chargers, look to continue their winning ways when they visit one of the worst teams in the league, the Cleveland Browns, Sunday afternoon.

Most online sportsbooks opened this game with San Diego favored by from 11 to 12 points, with an over/under of 43. As of Thursday morning, most NFL betting outlets had bumped the Chargers to -13, while the total has remained the same.

San Diego is also listed at right around -650 on most NFL betting moneylines, with Cleveland getting upwards of +425 as underdogs at home.

The Bolts got off to one of their typical slow starts this season, losing three of their first five games. But after pounding Kansas City last week 43-14, and covering the spread as two-touchdown favorites, the Chargers have won six straight, and have taken over the lead in the AFC West from the Denver Broncos.

The Brownies, meanwhile, in their first season under new head coach Eric Mangini, lost their first four games, then won one of the ugliest games of the season so far at Buffalo, but have since lost six straight. Cleveland fell at Cincinnati last Sunday 16-7, although they did manage to cover the line as 12-point underdogs.

So at 1-10, the Browns’ place in the standings isn’t even worth mentioning.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers is garnering MVP consideration, and rightly so, considering the Chargers rely on their passing game for 74% of their offensive yardage. So far this season, the former NC Stater has completed 64% of his passes for a healthy 8.4 YPA, with 19 TD throws, six interceptions, and a 101.6 passing rating.

On the other side of this quarterback matchup, Cleveland starter Brady Quinn has looked like a second-year pro playing under a new coach. Which is to say, not good. So far this year the former Golden Domer has completed just 54% of his throws for 5.2 YPA, which is pathetic, with a 5/5 TD/INT ratio and a pedestrian 66.7 passing rating.

On the season San Diego is outgaining opponents by a 344-318 YPG margin, but is getting outrushed 118-89.

The Browns, meanwhile, are getting outgained 393-231, and outrushed 161-98.

Also, the Chargers rank 15th in the league in average time-of-possession at 29:34, while Cleveland ranks 30th at 27:06.

On top of all their other problems, the Browns lost DT Shaun Rogers, S Brodney Pool and RB Jamal Lewis for the season to injuries last week.

On the other side of the field, San Diego may go without LB Shawne Merriman and S Eric Weddle, who are both dealing with bad wheels.

These two teams last met three seasons ago, when the Chargers beat the Brownies 32-25 out in San Diego.

The totals are 5-4-1 in Chargers games this season, which have averaged 48 points, but 4-7 in Browns games, which have averaged just 36.5 points, mainly because Cleveland has scored a grand total of 122 points.

These two teams have played three common opponents so far this season. San Diego lost at home to Baltimore back in week two 31-26, while the Browns have fallen twice to the Ravens, by scores of 34-3 and 16-0; the Chargers lost at Pittsburgh 38-28 back in week four, while Cleveland did the same two weeks later by a score of 27-14; and while the Bolts have split two games with division-rival Denver, losing 34-23 and winning 32-3, the Browns fell to the Broncos 27-6 in week two.

So while Cleveland went 0-4 straight up and 1-3 vs. the numbers in those four games vs. common foes, San Diego didn’t fare much better, going 1-3 both SU and ATS.

So far this season in NFL betting action, home dogs are 19-38 straight up, and 25-32 vs. the numbers.

The Sagarin PURE POINTS ratings at rates San Diego at 26.6, Cleveland at 9.3. Factoring in Sagarin’s updated NFL home-field advantage figure of 2.2, and the Chargers are 15-point favorites over the Browns on the Sagarin line.

Z-Man’s Pick: I like the UNDER 43 here.