Cleveland Browns (0-5) at Tennessee Titans (2-3)
Ordinarily, I like to go against significant week-to-week line movements, because they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play. The early line for this game had the Titans as 5.5 point favorites, but the line has since moved up to 7 this week. However, that’s not enough to scare me off of Tennessee. I’ve had the Titans on my underrated list since the start of the season and they are still better than this line suggests. Despite their 2-3 record, they rank 5th in first down percentage differential. They’ve been competitive in every game and have a -9 point differential on the season, despite being -4 in return touchdown differential. Aside from those 4 plays, they have a +18 point differential and have quietly played very solid football this season. They’ve allowed just 6 touchdowns all season on 51 drives.
The Browns might have played a little bit tougher of a schedule than the Browns, but they’re a much inferior team. They have one of the league’s weakest rosters, especially with all of the players that are out with injury, and they rank 31st in first down percentage differential. The Browns were 10 point underdogs in Miami and 8 point underdogs in Washington, so it doesn’t make any sense that they’re just 7 point underdogs in Tennessee against the Titans, who are better than both of those teams. Even with the line movement, this line is too low.
Making matters worse for the Browns, they have another tough game on deck, as they travel to Cincinnati to play the division rival Bengals. Underdogs of 6+ are 46-74 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6+ again. It’s very tough for inferior teams play well enough to keep it close against a superior team when they have another significantly superior opponent on deck. Betting on bad teams like the Browns is not always a bad idea, but big underdogs tend to only cover when they don’t have another equally tough or tougher opponent on deck. The early line actually has the Browns as 10.5 point underdogs in Cincinnati (even though the Titans and Bengals are actually comparably good teams). Teams are 39-61 ATS since 2012 before being double digit underdogs. It’s possibly that line shifts under 10 in the next week, but, either way, it’s a tough spot for the Browns against an underrated Tennessee team.
Tennessee Titans 24 Cleveland Browns 13
Pick against the spread: Tennessee -7