New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns (12/24/22): Betting Odds, Prediction, Depth Charts

The Saints’ season would be dramatically different right now if they had held onto a two-touchdown lead in Tampa earlier this month. At 5-9, though, they’re somehow still alive in the NFC South. If they’re going to manage a miracle, they’ll need a win over the Browns on Christmas Eve. Cleveland has won three of its last four games behind a strong running game and an improved defense, but no hope will be left without a win on Saturday.

Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and take a look at the odds ahead of this Christmas Eve matchup in Cleveland.

New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns Odds

The Browns enter as 3-point home favorites, sitting at -162 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 31.5 points.

Yes, that’s a real over/under figure. I’m tempted to take the over just because these offenses aren’t exactly abysmal, but I would monitor the weather before making that call. Forecasts call for frigid temperatures and snow.

Beyond that, it’s not much of a surprise the Browns are slight favorites. The Saints have struggled mightily on the road, and Cleveland appears to be rounding into a cohesive unit (a bit too late) with Deshaun Watson getting more comfortable. Even so, are we ready to trust Watson yet?

New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns Prediction

We’re only three weeks removed from the Browns needing a shaky defense to rescue them against the lowly Texans. A 13-3 win over the Ravens, one in which uncharacteristic mistakes by Baltimore likely decided the game, isn’t enough to convince me Cleveland has transformed itself into a legitimately solid team.

With temperatures barely above 10 degrees and potentially some winter weather involved, the Browns do have the advantage due to their running game, but this feels like the kind of game that could be decided by a point or two. Cade York has cost the Browns plenty of points this season, so the Saints’ kicking advantage in tough conditions could help keep New Orleans very much in this game.

Betting Trends

The Saints are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following an outright win.

The Browns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 December games. Kevin Stefanski has generally had his team playing solid football late in seasons.

The under is 6-1 in the Saints’ last 7 games.

Key Injuries

New Orleans Saints Injuries: RB Mark Ingram (knee) is out while on IR. CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) has missed nearly two months but may be nearing a return after he was listed as questionable before the win over Atlanta. C Erik McCoy (calf) returned from IR last weekend and is set to play.

Cleveland Browns Injuries: RB Nick Chubb (foot) didn’t practice on Tuesday. DE Jadeveon Clowney (concussion) and S John Johnson (thigh) are questionable after exiting against the Ravens. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (foot) is out on IR.

Key Matchups

Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Saints vs. Browns below.

Deshaun Watson vs. Saints Pass Defense

Expect a typical run-heavy approach from the Browns, especially if the weather is an issue, but it’s tough to win any game without a quarterback. The Saints have a top-10 pass defense this season despite some injuries and figure to be a tough challenge for Deshaun Watson.

Watson was turnover-free in his third start with the Browns, putting together a fine performance against the Ravens’ defense, but he can elevate the offense by taking another meaningful step forward against this tough New Orleans secondary.

Alvin Kamara vs. Browns Run Defense

Alvin Kamara has not been the Alvin Kamara of the past this season, though the Saints’ offensive line has something to do with it. He posted under 3.5 yards per carry in six consecutive games before finally taking a step forward with 91 rushing yards against the Falcons last weekend.

If the conditions are going to make passing the ball difficult in Cleveland, the Saints need Kamara to step up out of the backfield. The Browns’ run defense has struggled this season, allowing five yards per carry, so this should be a favorable matchup for Kamara.

New Orleans Saints Depth Chart

QB: Andy Dalton
RB1: Alvin Kamara
RB2: Dwayne Washington
RB3: Eno Benjamin
LWR: Marquez Callaway
RWR: Chris Olave
SWR: Jarvis Landry
TE1: Juwan Johnson

Cleveland Browns Depth Chart

QB: Deshaun Watson
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB2: Kareem Hunt
RB3: D’Ernest Johnson
LWR: Donovan Peoples-Jones
RWR: Amari Cooper
SWR: David Bell
TE1: David Njoku

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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