Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns kicks off this Sunday (11/05/23) at 1 p.m. EST in Cleveland as a home game for the Browns. Get Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns predictions and best bets below as our best bet is the Cardinals team total under as points may come at a premium for Arizona.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction & Best Bet
It’s a new face under center for the Arizona Cardinals after they traded away Joshua Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings on the deadline. A somewhat surprising move as Dobbs has been serviceable while Kyler Murray is out with an injury yet made for the perfect trade piece as the Vikings were desperate for a quarterback and the Cardinals are tanking. Former University of Houston quarterback Clayton Tune takes the reins as their starter.
It’s not an ideal situation for Clayton Tune to make his first start. He faces the stacked Cleveland Browns defense. While they have certainly regressed the past few weeks, the Browns still grade out as one of the best defenses in football as they are currently second in Def DVOA and first in Def EPA. That’s especially true across the defensive line, a unit that ranks first in Adjusted Line Yards and third in Adjusted Sack Rate.
It’s vital for a defense to generate pressure, especially against an inexperienced quarterback. Novice QBs have a higher tendency to throw into dangerous situations as they struggle in a collapsing pocket. That plays right into the Browns’ hands. They rank fifth in Pressure while blitzing at the eighth heaviest rate in the NFL. Even with the Cardinals’ offensive line proving to hold their own at times, they are still average at best in Adjusted Line Yards and will be prone to getting pushed back by the likes of Myles Garrett.
On the off-chance Tune finds himself with a clean pocket, open passing lanes may be tough to come by. He is surrounded with one of the worst pass-catching units in football. The Cardinals will struggle to create separation against a secondary that ranks first in Def Pass Success Rate, first in Def Pass EPA and second in Def Pass DVOA. That’s a sharp contrast to the Arizona offense which ranks 22nd in Pass DVOA, 26th in Pass EPA and 27th in Pass Success Rate.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction & Best Bet: Cardinals TT u14.5
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Best Betting Odds
With a new face under center, oddsmakers have this as the Browns game to lose. They opened Cleveland as a -8 favorite. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the spread, keeping the number the same as of this writing. It’s hard to fathom how the Cardinals pull this out as a depleted unit with an inexperienced quarterback against the Browns vaunted defense. But fluky results have been abundant the past few weeks.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a snail’s pace. Oddsmakers opened the number at 39. With P.J. Walker expected to duke it out against Clayton Tune, bettors have had no choice but to hammer the under down to as low as 37. The total is an immediate pass as Walker has struggled since DeShaun Watson’s injury, yet the Cardinals defense is one of the worst in the league.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Key Injuries
The Arizona Cardinals starters remain fairly healthy while the Browns injury report currently has Jerome Ford, David Njoku and Za’Darius Smith listed as questionable.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns Key Matchups
Can the Browns limit the stunningly successful Cardinals ground game?
Emari Demercado vs. Browns Front Seven
It’s not easy to pinpoint a successful metric when talking about the Arizona Cardinals, but they do run the ball at a very successful rate. They rank seventh in Rush DVOA, 10th in Rush Success Rate and 11th in Rush EPA. More impressive yet that this has come off the back of their backup running back Emari Demercado who has slotted in for James Conner while he is on IR.
First NFL TD for Emari Demercado 👏 @Money_E3
— NFL (@NFL) October 8, 2023
The issue is that they may struggle to find that same success against an elite Browns front seven, especially when given the chance to stack the box until Tune can prove to throw over the top of their secondary in singular coverage. The Browns currently rank third in Def Rush DVOA, fifth in Def Rush Success Rate, and sixth in Def Rush EPA.