Cleveland Browns (8-3) at Tennessee Titans (8-3)
I have bet heavily on the Titans in back-to-back weeks and they’ve come through both times, pulling straight up upsets in Baltimore and in Indianapolis. The Titans were an underrated team because the public was making too big of a deal of their defensive issues and not paying enough attention to their offensive prowess, probably not recognizing that offensive play is much more consistent and predictable on a week-to-week basis. Unfortunately, those back-to-back wins seem to have lost us all line value with the Titans, as they shot up from being 3-point favorites against the Browns on the early line last week to being 5.5-point favorites this week.
With that in mind, I actually like the Browns a little bit this week, as they are a little underrated for the same reason the Titans were, being a much better offensive team than defensive team. Their point differential (+39 vs. -21) is significantly worse than Tennessee’s, despite these two teams having the same record, and the Browns’ offense, which ranks 16th in first down rate over expected, is significantly behind the Titans 2nd ranked offense, but the Browns are more talented on offense than that would suggest, as they’ve gotten key players like stud running back Nick Chubb (4 games missed), talented right guard Wyatt Teller (3 games missed), and starting tight end Austin Hooper (2 games missed) back from injuries that cost them time earlier this season.
My roster rankings have the Titans about 2 points better than the Browns, suggesting this line should be calculated around Tennessee -3, giving the Titans minimal homefield advantage for having some fans in the stadium. There’s not enough here for the Browns to be worth betting at 5.5, especially since Tennessee is in a better spot, with only an easy trip to Jacksonville on deck, while the Browns will host the Ravens, but this line could move up to 6 and the Titans have a pair of key players in left guard Rodger Saffold and defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons that appear to be legitimately questionable for this game, so I wouldn’t role out betting the Browns under the right circumstances. If an update is necessary, it would likely happen around when the inactives are released unless we get more clarity on Saffold and Simmons on Saturday.
Tennessee Titans 31 Cleveland Browns 27
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +5.5