Washington Football Team at Cleveland Browns -6.5

Cleveland Browns nfl

Witness the spectacle that is Browns football! It’s another new era…again. But his time, Cleveland’s rocking new uniforms and they’ve got a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski who might be able to survive the season without getting fired if some of his high-priced talent can come through for him. He’ll need plenty of performances similar to the one he got out of running back Nick Chubb in Week 2. Of course, that Herculean effort came against a Bengals defense that looks to repeat as one of the NFL’s worst.

Cleveland Browns nfl

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell (17) looks to pass the ball against the New York | Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Meanwhile, the Washington Football Team was brought back down to Earth in Week 2 after a somewhat productive fourth quarter in Week 1’s glorious victory against an over-rated and battered Eagles team. While Washington’s fourth quarter in Week 2 against an improved Cardinals squad was also relatively productive, it was not nearly enough to dig themselves out of that 24-point deficit. Welcome back to another season of Washington Football Team football. The name may have changed, but very little else has.

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What could be more exciting than watching these two underachievers square off against each other in a Week 3 throw-down? This matchup promises to be entertaining from the get-go. Not in a “Prime Time Game of the Week” between legitimate contenders kind of way, but entertaining in the same sick and twisted way people enjoy seeing car crashes and mansions engulfed in flames. Well, enough of building up this instant classic, let’s try to find a strong wagering opportunity amongst all the burning rubble.

The Spread: Cleveland -6.5

The Total: 44.5

Cleveland Browns

The Browns as a -6.5 favorite? It just doesn’t seem right. Yet, here we are. The surprising thing is that the Browns have been money recently against the spread as favorites of 5 or more. Well, at least during the Baker Mayfield era. It’s a rather rare occasion as you would probably expect. This game will mark just the sixth time that Mayfield’s Browns have been so heavily favored. They have won all the previous five games in this situation. However, they are just 3-2 ATS in those games.

One of the keys to a Cleveland victory will be getting repeat performances out of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Don’t be fooled by their stat lines from Week 2. While the offensive line did a good job opening up the running lanes, the pair’s combined 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns came against a Bengals defense that is a complete tire fire. It’s not that Washington has a stifling rushing defense, but it appears to be much tighter than Cincinnati’s. As for their passing game? Expect Baker Mayfield to continue being Baker Mayfield. A couple of TD passes coupled with the obligatory interception or two.

It’s really difficult to accurately assess the Brown’s defense in these early stages of the season. However, they look like they’ll once again be a tough team to run against. Even though they got kicked in the gonads by Baltimore in Week 1, they only gave up 111 yards on the ground against 30 Baltimore rushes. Cincinnati was only able to amass a lousy 68 yards on 24 attempts in Week 2. Cleveland should be able to contain a Washington run game that has so far averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.

Washington Football Team

Unlike Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name who routinely bested all opponents, the Football Team With No Name appears destined to aimlessly roam through the arid wasteland known as the NFC East. Their Week 1 upset of the Eagles wasn’t all that shocking when you consider how terrible Carson Wentz and his offensive line was. Washington running backs Antonio Gibson and Peyton Barber combined for a paltry 65 rushing yards on 26 attempts.

Barber scored his two touchdowns on a one-yard run and a three-yard run. None of his 17 rush attempts went any further than 8 yards. It’s not like Dwayne Haskins and his receiving core lit up either. It was a case of Philadelphia screwing up more than Washington…Way more.

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Speaking of Dwayne Haskins Jr., he might have a decent future ahead of him, but the 23-year-old has a long way to go. In his nine games in 2019, he managed to toss 7 TDs while giving up 7 interceptions. He has thrown a pair of TDs through 2 games so far, but he has yet to throw an interception.

Still, he hasn’t come close to reaching the point of being a big play threat. Week 2 was a perfect example as he completed 19 or 33 passes for a pedestrian 233 yards and a single TD. Of course, it’s not like he has an abundance of star receivers like OBJ to throw to.

Who Wins and Who Covers?

According to the oddsmakers, Cleveland is good enough to be giving a field goal at home against Washington, but not quite good enough to be favored by a touchdown. Something smells like rotting fish. With Cleveland’s recent record as home favorites and Washington’s recent performances as road dogs, one might be tempted to put their money on the Cleveland moneyline. But that would be silly because the juice is simply too high for a game that will be decided by fumbles, missed field goals, coaching gaffs, and miscues in general.

One also might look at both teams’ recent histories and go with the over. However, Cleveland has had the knack for winning but failing to cover as a favorite in recent games. On the flip side, Washington knows how to lose SU as a dog but cover for their spread backers. Washington has a mediocre chance to win outright, but they should at least keep it close.

Prediction

Washington stages a fourth-quarter comeback punctuated with a touchdown in garbage time. Sadly, they naturally fall short and lose 27-23 making Cleveland spread faders even richer. Enjoy the show and try not to laugh too much during the game.