With Robert Griffin III’s comeback bid in Cleveland effectively derailed by a shoulder injury in week one, the Browns will be starting multiple quarterbacks for an NFL-record 15th consecutive season (see Elias Sports Bureau). Cleveland now turns to 37-year-old backup Josh McCown, who has actually won two of his last three starts against the Ravens.
However, during his tenure in Cleveland, McCown is just 1-7 SU and 3-5 ATS under center. Baltimore backers will also point to the fact that favorites of 7 or more points were 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS versus the Browns last season.
Those trends certainly appear daunting for Cleveland investors, but the Ravens (and those betting on them) are dealing with market inflation based upon last week’s disparate results.
The Ravens were 3.5-point favorites in this game (advanced line) before they defeated Buffalo, at which point many sports books re-listed Baltimore at -4.5. Following the news that Griffin was being placed on the injured reserve list, the line was adjusted again to -7.
Under no circumstances should Baltimore be laying seven points on the road, and some would argue that McCown is an upgrade over Griffin! The current price alone makes Cleveland a solid NFL pick.
Indeed, McCown is 21-10 ATS following a SU and ATS loss, including 16-6 ATS as an underdog. The Browns are also 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings in this series, while the underdog is 4-0-1 ATS in the last five clashes between these division foes.
Let’s also note that Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco is just 7-11 ATS as a road favorite, 3-9 ATS versus .250 or worse opposition and posted a woeful 1-7 ATS mark in eight starts last season.
Finally, the last four meetings in this series have been decided by a combined 21 points (5.3 points per game), with the largest margin of victory being ten points (December, 2014). In last year’s two clashes, the games were decided by 3 and 6 points, respectively.
Grab the inflated number with the Browns as Oskeim Sports’ Free NFL Pick for Sunday, September 18.