Cleveland Browns (7-4) at Buffalo Bills (6-5)
I’m completely split on this one. On one hand, the Browns are in their 2nd of two road games, which tends to be a good spot for teams. Teams are 46-26 ATS since 2008 as road underdogs off of a win as road underdogs. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 187-191 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.36 points per game, as opposed to 262-380 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.34 points per game.
On the other hand, the Bills are coming off of a Monday Night Football blowout win. Teams are 33-15 ATS since 2002 off of a win on Monday Night Football by 21 or more. Teams tend to carry that momentum into the next week. However, it’s unclear if that will still happen because the Bills played a weird Monday Night game last week, beating the Jets 38-3 in Detroit in a game that started at 7 PM ET and that wasn’t nationally televised, as a result of a snowstorm forcing to location and the time of the game to be changed. That adds uncertainty to the situation this week.
Both of these two teams have tough games next week, as the Bills head to Denver and the Browns host the Colts. Non-divisional home favorites are 73-99 ATS since 2002 before being non-divisional road underdogs. Even worse, the Bills could be double digit underdogs in Denver next week. Teams are 42-86 ATS since 2010 before being double digit underdogs as a tough game like that upcoming presents a massive distraction. The early line is 9.5 so that trend might not be in play, but it’s still worth mentioning and the logic could still hold either way.
On the Browns’ side, non-divisional road underdogs are 92-126 ATS since 2002 before being non-divisional home underdogs. On top of that, teams are 57-89 ATS before being 3+ point home underdogs since 2012. The early line is right at 3 and may end up being less than 3, so that trend isn’t definitely in play, but again it’s worth mentioning and the logic still holds. The Browns are the better of these two teams, moving the chains at a 71.19% rate, as opposed to 70.73% for their opponents, a differential of 0.46% that ranks 17th in the NFL. The Bills, meanwhile, rank just 22nd, moving the chains at a 66.25% rate, as opposed to 68.22% for their opponents, a differential of -1.97%. However, this line is under 3 so we’re not really getting any real line value with the Browns. I’m going to take the Bills and hope the home team wins by a field goal and continues their momentum from last week, but I’m not confident at all.
Buffalo Bills 16 Cleveland Browns 13
Pick against the spread: Buffalo -2.5