Browns-Ravens best bets: A get-right spot for these offenses?
Offensive reinforcements are on the way for these AFC North rivals, who enter the week at opposite ends of the division despite just one win separating them.
Here's how we're betting Browns-Ravens:
C Jackson Cowart: Ravens -3.5
As I wrote in my best bets this week, I just don't see it with these Browns. They've scored 17 or fewer points in six of their last eight games and have been outscored by 33 across that stretch with a 4-4 record. So, why are we pricing them as near-equals to the division-leading Ravens?
Cleveland's issue has been at quarterback. Baker Mayfield has missed one start, left others with injuries in recent weeks, and he's looked downright mediocre when he plays, posting a passer rating below 60 in each of his last two games.
Baltimore hasn't looked right either without Lamar Jackson at full strength, but he wasn't listed on this week's injury report and should be a difference-maker for the Ravens, who are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games as a divisional favorite. Expect them to take care of business in this matchup.
Alex Moretto: Over 46
Throw everything you saw from these two offenses last week out the window. Both units will look drastically different Sunday with reinforcements on the way. Jackson and Marquise Brown are set to return for Baltimore following one-week absences, while the Browns will have Kareem Hunt back for the first time since Week 6 and are also activating tackle Jack Conklin off injured reserve.
Mayfield has clearly been struggling through an ailment, but the injuries around him hurt just as much. Getting Hunt back is as big for Cleveland's passing game as it is for the ground attack, and the same can be said about having Conklin return to shore up the right side of the line. As much as this offense has struggled in recent weeks, this is the first time it'll have both Hunt and Nick Chubb available since Week 5.
There have been some fireworks in recent meetings between these sides, and that may happen again in their first meeting of 2021 with the offenses healthy and both defenses in the bottom nine in DVOA.
Matt Russell: Browns +3.5
My stance was made pretty clear in this week's upset of the week article. Nothing has changed for me with Hunt and Conklin returning against a Ravens defense susceptible to breakdowns.
Cleveland will challenge its highest point total of the season, and it'll be up to Jackson to keep up. I'm not sure he can do it on his own, but I wouldn't put it past him to pull out the victory late.
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