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Why some bettors aren’t giving Browns any respect

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The Baltimore Ravens (7-5 SU; 6-5-1 ATS) snapped a three-game skid last Tuesday night with a 34-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys to remain one game out of the AFC wild-card spot. Lamar Jackson, who returned from a missed start at Pittsburgh due to COVID-19, threw for two scores and ran for another, but he and the Ravens only had to throw the ball 17 times as the running game piled up 294 yards on 37 carries (7.9 yard per carry). The Ravens, like several other teams, were hit with COVID-19 but seem to be on the other side, with most players returning last week versus Dallas. Tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Willie Snead expected to return for Monday’s matchup.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns (9-3 SU; 5-7 ATS) have won four in a row and are looking for redemption from a 38-6 opening week bruising in Baltimore. Last week, Cleveland jumped out to a 38-7 halftime lead and then took its foot of the gas and held on to a 41-35 victory in Tennessee. Baker Mayfield put together his best game of the season, going 25 of 33 and throwing for 334 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. The Browns are inching to closer to ending their 18-year playoff drought, the longest active mark in the NFL.

Baltimore opened at -3 on the look-ahead lines but then got adjusted down to pick ’em after Cleveland’s impressive win at Tennessee. After dismissing Dallas on Tuesday, the line was readjusted to -3, and that is the current price in market. The Browns have taken most of the tickets and money thus far, but they remain as home underdogs despite their recent torrid play. Early market indications show the Browns look to be public underdogs, while the professional bettors look to be siding with the road favorite Ravens.

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Getty Images

These two clubs are the top two rushing teams in the NFL — Baltimore (1st, 169.0 ypg), Cleveland (2nd, 157.8 ypg). The Browns rank eighth in stopping the run (104.3 ypg), while the Ravens are not too far behind at 13th (111.6 ypg). Cleveland’s vulnerability is in the secondary and against the pass (23rd, 256.9 ypg), but Jackson has regressed this year throwing the ball, and the question remains whether he will be able to exploit the Browns’ disadvantage. Jackson was able to throw on the Cleveland defense in Week 1, as he tallied 270 yards (his season high) but has only topped 200 yards passing three times this season, which has led to the Ravens ranking dead last in passing (169.3 ypg). Jackson has not looked like the reigning NFL MVP. The Ravens’ No. 8 defense (337.7 ypg) does come into this game a bit banged up, as defensive end Calais Campbell did not participate in Saturday’s final practice, and corner Jimmy Smith was a limited participant.

The total opened at 47 and has come down a bit to 46. The Week 1 matchup closed at 47.5 and went Under the number. Six of the past eight meetings between the two clubs have gone Under the total. Cleveland is 7-5 to the Over this season while Baltimore is 5-7 to the Under. It is also expected to be a chilly night in Cleveland, with temperatures in the low 30s and wind gusts in the mid teens.

The Ravens were expected to win the AFC North, and that is likely out of reach being four games back of Pittsburgh with four games left to play. Cleveland is the hot team in the division right now, but this is new territory for this team in making a run to the playoffs in December. However, it is not new territory for Baltimore, as the Ravens are 6-0 ATS in their past six December games. Nevertheless, the Browns still have disbelievers in the market. Can they prove that are in fact legit Monday night, or will Baltimore show they are the team they were thought to be at the start of the season?

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