Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Rams (9/22/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Last Week’s Results: 12-4
All Time Results: 20-8, +7.65 Units

LA Rams -2.5 (-120) @ Cleveland Browns – .6 Units

Last night, the Cleveland Browns beat the New York Jets by 20 on Monday Night Football.  The betting market definitely upgraded this very public team after such a high profile victory, right?

Incorrect.  Overnight the Rams went from 2.5 point favorites back to 3. A very disappointing, yet shrewd development in my opinion. The betting market can be remarkably observant.

Yes, the Browns won – but did they really surpass expectations?  For the majority of the game, the Jets were without their first two choices at QB.  Coming in cold, their 3rd string QB Luke Faulk posted a decent 7.9 yards per attempt on 25 attempts.  Despite a few big plays to create margin, Cleveland’s offensive line looked vulnerable.  Struggling with pressure all night, Baker Mayfield added an 18th interception in 15 career starts.

los angeles ramsThe most positive take away from a Cleveland perspective from last night’s game was Miles Garrett running rickshaw over the Jets porous offensive line.

I like the Rams to handle Garrett and continue their winning ways on the road.  LA is 15-3 SU & 11-7 ATS on the road under Sean McVay, including an outstanding 11-2 SU record as a road favorite.  LA has won by 3 or more in 14 of 18 road games over the last two years.  With a high-end offensive line and an astute coaching staff, the Rams continue to find ways to stymie opposing teams in various contexts.

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LA Rams -6 (+143) @ Cleveland Browns – .2 Units

The Rams have won their last two road games by exactly three points – but tight affairs are very much the exception for LA.  In McVay’s 17 covers as an NFL Coach, the average ATS margin has been +13.1. In 15 of the 17 covers, the Rams would have covered a spread of 4-points higher than the actual game spread.

The Browns seem aware of the beat down they are likely to receive this Sunday.  During post-game pressers, Baker Mayfield & Co. seemed resigned and docile.

“We definitely needed this one. Not losing sight that a win is a win…we needed this one,” Mayfield repeated.

They needed this one because there are not many victories on the horizon for these upstart Browns during a very rough early-season schedule.

los angeles ramsThe Browns have to travel back home and prepare for the NFC champs on a short week, and they didn’t seem thrilled about it.  It feels like the team is already wary of the media using these clips after a victory to throw back at them once they fall to 1-2 next week. Or 1-3 the following week.  While it is good for the long term development that they are aware of the uphill climb it will be to realize their potential, in the short term this team does not strike me as exceedingly confident about beating good teams.

With Mayfield under center, the Browns are 1-5 SU against teams with a winning record.

Now, you may be asking – Hey, isn’t it kind of square to pick the Rams every week?  Sure – there’s definitely an element of squaritude to this pick.  Short road favorite and all that. But I’m not going to get off the Rams until I have a strong signal that they’ve become overrated.

I just like the long term prospects of young coaches like McVay and my cousin Kyle Shanahan continuing to adapt & innovate at a faster pace than the Freddie Kitchens of the world. There are currently five NFL coaches 40 and under: Mcvay, Shanahan, Matt Lafleur, Zac Taylor & Kliff Kingsbury.  These coaches are 9-1 ATS through two weeks.

Under 50.5 -.1 Units

Odell Beckham Jr. showed out yesterday night to the tune of 6 catches for 161 yards.

More under the radar is the fact that none of the Browns other weapons have made an impact through two games. Jarvis Landry has caught only 50% of his targets and has less than 50 yards per game. Lead RB Nick Chubb is under 3.9 yards per carry on the season.  David Njoku got flipped around in the air trying to catch a hopeful lob of Mayfield’s in the first quarter yesterday and was not heard from the rest of the game.  He ended the game with no catches, after only knabbing four in Week 1.

If Beckham is the only threat for Cleveland, I love Wade Phillips & Co’s chance of completely neutralizing their attack.  If the Browns had difficultly blocking the Jets depleted front seven, I have high confidence that reigning DPOY Aaron Donald gets home more than once on Sunday.

Since the beginning of last season, the Under is 7-3 in Rams road games. A major factor why is Jared Goff’s home/road splits.

While I expect the Rams to win the game and cover, I don’t think they necessarily get there with an dynamic passing attack.  Goff averaged 1.4 yards less per attempt on the road last season.  In his first road test this year, Goff posted a 20 QBR Week 1 at Carolina.   While he shook off a lot of rust by the 2nd half against the Saints, I expect Mcvay to be conservative with him in this contest and instead put pressure on the Browns weak run defense as much as possible.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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