San Francisco 49ers (4-8 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (2-10 SU, 4-8 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: December 13th, 1:00 PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: SF +1/ CLEV -1
Over/Under Total: 41.5
The Cleveland Browns will be looking to snap its seven-game losing streak when the San Francisco 49ers invade the Dawg Pound in this week 14 matchup. The Browns are 1-6 ATS during this current losing streak. Last week, the Browns got crushed at home by 34 points against the Bengals. It was the second consecutive home SU & ATS loss for the Browns in successive weeks. The Browns are 1-5 SU at home this season and yet the odds-makers installed Cleveland as 1-point home favorites. The 49ers are coming off a 26-20 upset victory against the Bears, despite getting outgained by 73 yards. San Francisco’s minus -103.8 yard differential is ranked dead last in all of football. The Browns are a little better at minus -68 yards.
San Francisco is averaging 295.1 yards per game on offense, while the Browns are averaging 330.8. Both teams are playing quarterbacks that started the season on the bench. The 49ers offense has been a tad better with Blaine Gabbert, but still rank last in the league. The Browns will start Johnny Manziel, who has had good and bad moments when he played earlier this season. In six games Manziel is completing 59.4% of his passes, with 933 passing yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. His quarterback rating of 88.4 should win some games, but his five lost fumbles is alarming. His running ability should help in this cold-weather game. He’s averaging 5.3 yards per rush and will need to make some plays out of the pocket against the 49ers pass rush.
This could be a high-scoring game as both teams have struggled to stop teams on a consistent basis. The 49ers are allowing 6.0 yards per play while the Browns are allowing 6.3 yards per play. The 49ers have been better in one area that matters most, points allowed. San Francisco is allowing 24.3 points per game while the host is allowing 28.9. Only the Saints are worse, allowing 31 points per game. Cleveland is much better in an area that most people ignore. The Browns special teams is ranked No. 14 while the 49ers are ranked No. 29 according to Football Outsiders.
This will be the second straight cold-weather road game for the 49ers. They must now travel cross-country to play a 1:00 PM E (10 AM Body Clock) game. The Browns will be playing its third straight home game after going 0-2 SU & 0-2 ATS in the previous two. NFL teams in this role are cashing just under 70% if the line is +3 to -3. This seems like a great spot for the home team to end its long embarrassing losing streak. San Francisco is 1-5 SU on the road this season and hasn’t won back-to-back road games with this new regime. The 49ers have been outgained by a whopping 953 yards in their six road games this season. They are 0-6 ITS (in the stats) on the road and 2-10 ITS overall.
The 49ers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up victory. The Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last four games in Week 14. The Over is 5-1 in the 49ers last six road games. The Over is 5-1 in the Browns last six home games. The Over is 8-4 in all Browns’ games this season.
At five reputable sportsbooks combined, 77% of the bets are coming in on the road team and the line hasn’t moved. The professional money is on the Browns while the squares (public) are betting San Francisco. I will gladly fade the public in this game. No team is as good or bad as they looked the week before. Don’t handicap the NFL based on what you saw last week. This seems like a trap line and the smart play is on the home team.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Cleveland Browns -1
While I’m not a fan of Manziel’s long term success in this league, I do believe he can make enough plays with his arm and legs to win this game. It’s not like he’s facing a Top 10 defense. The Las Vegas NFL power rankings has the 49ers ranked No. 29 and the Browns No. 32. These are two awful teams, but I will lean to the Browns and swallow the one point spread.
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