Cleveland Browns (0-9) at Baltimore Ravens (4-4)
The Browns are arguably the worst team in the league and certainly one of the worst two or three teams, but this line is way too high at 10. The Ravens are a solid squad, but have the worst offense in the league in terms of first down percentage. Their defense has been great, entering this game with the 2nd lowest first down percentage allowed in the NFL, but they only rank 18th in first down percentage differential, despite the 4th easiest schedule in the league in terms of opponent’s winning percentage. The Browns have a very weak defense, but it’s still going to be very tough for the Ravens to cover the 10, as limited as they are offensively. In fact, their last win by more than 10 points came in week 14 of 2014. And that’s despite the fact that they’ve played the Browns 4 times since then.
The Ravens are also in a horrible spot, playing an inferior team on a short week after a huge home upset victory over the Steelers last week, with a tough trip to Dallas on deck, a game in which they figure to be at least 6 point underdogs on the early line. Favorites of 6 or more are 23-52 ATS since 2008 before being 6 point underdogs and favorites of 10 or more are 54-73 ATS since 2002 before being underdogs of any amount. On top of that, teams are 58-78 ATS since 2012 off of a home upset victory like the Ravens’ win over the Steelers last week.
The Browns aren’t exactly in an easy spot either, as they have to turn around and face the Steelers at home, a game in which they figure to be huge home underdogs. Teams are 37-88 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as big upcoming home games like that tend to be a big distraction for teams. However, that has not been the case historically with winless teams this late in the season, as teams that are 0-7 or worse are 17-8 ATS before being huge home underdogs since 1989. Believe it or not, betting on winless teams this late in the season has actually been a winning bet in the past, as teams that are 0-7 or worse are 53-25 ATS since 1989. Winless teams understandably tend to be undervalued and I think that’s the case in this game. The Browns have kept 4 of their 9 losses within single digits and I like their chances of doing so this week against a Baltimore team that has had major issues moving the ball this season.
Baltimore Ravens 17 Cleveland Browns 12
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +10