New York Jets (0-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-0)
The Browns won their first game of the season, but they barely won in Carolina against a mediocre Panthers team and there is still a lot of concern around their offense with backup Jacoby Brissett under center. Their defense is still one of the better in the league, but, overall, they’re not much more than an average team, so I think they’re a little overvalued as 6.5-point home favorites over a Jets team which is better around the quarterback than most give them credit for and, as a result, a team which is not one of the worst in the league, as some consider them.
The Jets lost at home by multiple scores to the Ravens last week, but they won the first down rate battle by 5.19% and barely lost the yards per play battle by 0.39, with the game largely being decided by turnovers, special teams, big plays, and the Jets going 2-14 on third down, all of which are not nearly predictive week-to-week as yard and first downs per play. We’re not getting great line value with the Jets, with my calculated line favoring the Browns by 6, but it’s at least some line value and the Jets are also in a better spot, with the Browns possibly looking ahead to the Steelers next week on Thursday Night Football. All-time, favorites cover at just a 42.8% rate before a Thursday Night game. There’s not quite enough here for the Jets to be worth betting, but they’re the right side for pick ‘em purposes.
Cleveland Browns 21 New York Jets 16
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +6.5