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Sports betting players shouldn’t expect many points to be scored in Cleveland on Sunday as the Browns host Jacksonville, as a pair of young pivots will go head-to-head, but it shouldn’t be surprising that a veteran running back will take the spotlight as the Jaguars snag a win on the road.
Why Bet On Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS)
The Jaguars came off their bye week and took care of business in a 17-3 win at Indianapolis, which was their first road win of the season. Blaine Gabbert was 14-of-21 for 118 yards, a touchdown and a pick as he threw for 100 yards or more for the first time in three games, while Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 114 yards and a score for the Jaguars, who wore the Colts down and then took over in the second half, although it was the Colts, who may be the worst football team we’ve seen in the last 20 years. The defense forced three turnovers and held the Colts to 212 yards, which really helped as they gained only 251 yards on their own. Whether or not they would have gotten away with that kind of offensive performance against another team is irrelevant, because the Jaguars only had to do what they could to beat Indianapolis. Remember, Gabbert is still a rookie quarterback that doesn’t have many weapons and he is going to be solid, but he needs more than Jones-Drew, who spends most of the time running against eight-man fronts.
Cornerback Rashean Mathis (knee) is gone for the season, which is a big loss for a defense that is ranked fifth against the pass. It’s even bigger as the Jaguars don’t have much of a pass rush (18th in the league in sacks); it’s a good thing they’re going up against a team that doesn’t have much of an aerial attack. This is a scrappy Jacksonville team that doesn’t get blown out much and against a team of equal talent, like Cleveland, a win is definitely possible.
Why Bet On Cleveland Browns (3-6 SU, 2-5-2 ATS)
The Browns have now lost three in a row after falling 13-12 at home to St. Louis, and it was actually a decent offensive performance as they gained 335 yards. Colt McCoy was 20-of-27 for 218 yards, while Chris Ogbonnaya ran for 90 yards, but the Browns were miserable in the red zone, failing to score on all four of their trips inside the 20-yard-line. Even Phil Dawson, who had hit his previous four field-goal attempts, missed a 22-yard attempt with about two minutes left, although it was a bad snap. The defense held the team in the game as the Rams gained only 281 yards, but they were the only team to score a touchdown and sometimes, that is all you need. That has been the story of the season for the Browns, who are ranked sixth in the league defensively (but that’s still the lowest of all four AFC North teams), but 30th offensively. They showed some signs on Sunday, but more is needed.
Running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring) is still out, although Montario Hardesty (calf) has a shot at playing and that would be a boost to the offense. Receiver Mohammed Massaquoi (concussion) hasn’t had any symptoms this week, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to go and to be honest, he wouldn’t have been much help in the first place. The Browns really need a deep threat, someone who can stretch the defense because they have a potential monster in Greg Little as a possession receiver. The defense is holding up their end of the bargain; it’s time for the offense to do the same.
How It Will Play Out
NFL betting odds have this game as a pick’em, which sounds about right as these two teams are very equal in the respect that they’re strong defensively, but dealing with young quarterbacks on their offense. The Browns are 3-2 SU and ATS in their last five meetings with the Jaguars since 2002, with three games going over the posted total, and they’re 1-1 SU and ATS in the two games in Cleveland.
Expect a low-scoring affair as the defenses will take over and the head coaches will look to protect their young quarterbacks. The Browns may be able to exploit a Jacksonville secondary without Mathis, but the Jaguars have more at the back end than Mathis. If the Browns’ defense has a weakness, it’s that they’re 30th against the run, so look for Jones-Drew to have a field day on Sunday as the Jaguars pick up another win against the online betting spread.
Jaguars Browns Betting Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars