Seattle Seahawks (4-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-3)
I was hoping we’d see significant line movement in this game as a result of the Browns’ blowout loss in San Francisco on Monday Night Football, so we’d get a good line to bet this game. The Browns looked awful in San Francisco, but that was a really tough spot for them, facing a legitimately great 49ers team at night (East Coast teams are at a huge disadvantage against West Coast teams at night), and the Browns have been up and down all year and could easily be back up this week at home.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, are not nearly as good as their 4-1 record would suggest. Their first 3 wins came against teams are a combined 2-12-1 right now, with two of those wins decided by a field goal or less. Their fourth win came last week against the Rams, but that’s not as impressive as it sounds, as the Rams blew a makeable game winning field goal at the end and the Rams have not been as good as their record suggests either, with their first two wins coming against teams that had injured quarterbacks.
The Seahawks certainly aren’t a bad team, but they rank just 13th in first down rate differential, despite a relatively easy schedule, and this team has too many weaknesses to be considered a true Super Bowl contender as many have anointed them following their close win over the Rams. They’ll also be without left tackle Duane Brown and right guard DJ Fluker in this game, a big blow considering those have been their best two offensive linemen thus far this season. Offensive line was already not a strength for this team, so they could have a lot of trouble keeping the Browns out of their backfield in this game.
Unfortunately, we aren’t getting the line value I expected with the Browns in this game. This line has shifted 4 points in the past week, going from Cleveland -2 on the early line last week to Seattle -2 now, but just 7.5% of games are decided by 2 or fewer points, so that’s largely superficial line movement. I have this line calculated at even, so if the Browns were field goal underdogs, they’d be a smart bet this week, but it’s hard to bet them confidently without field goal protection.
The one thing that would get me to reconsider that is if one or both of the Browns’ starting cornerbacks end up playing. Neither Denzel Ward nor Greedy Williams have played since week 2, but both returned to practice in a limited fashion this week, so both have a chance to suit up. Until that’s confirmed, I can only recommend the money line, but I could easily have an update on this game tomorrow morning.
Cleveland Browns 20 Seattle Seahawks 19 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +2