Back Raiders & Browns to Go 'Over' 42.5 With Your NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:36 PM GMT

Have the Oakland Raiders been reborn on offense? Maybe they can beat up the Cleveland Browns badly enough to make the OVER the right NFL pick for Sunday's game.

Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 23: 11-5 ATS; 0-1 ML (–1.00 units); 4-4 Total

Is it safe to visit the Black Hole again? The Oakland Raiders have been an absolute mess since they lost Super Bowl XXXVII, which was nearly XIII years ago already. But there were signs of life in last week's 37-33 win over the Baltimore Ravens (–6 away). That's the most points Oakland has scored in a single game since 2010. It was all on offense, too – no pick-sixes, no punt returns for touchdowns.

If the Raiders can score 37 points against Baltimore, maybe they can blow out the total for Sunday's game (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Cleveland Browns all by themselves. Our NFL odds board at press time shows a fairly small over/under of 42.5 points, up from 41.5 at the open despite a slight lean toward the UNDER on our consensus reports. We'll interpret that as sharp money with bigger bets on the OVER.

 

Agent Cooper
If you throw enough darts at the board, you'll hit a bulls-eye eventually. The Raiders have been rewarded for their incompetence with a steady stream of high draft picks, only to squander most of them on the likes of QB JaMarcus Russell and WR Darius Heyward-Bey. But the last few years have seen some progress on the draft front. Last year's haul included QB Derek Carr (second round) and LG Gabe Jackson (third round), and this offseason saw the arrival of WR Amari Cooper (No. 4 overall), who caught seven of 11 targets for 109 yards and a major last week.

The Raiders also scored with RT Menelik Watson in the second round of the 2012 draft, but Watson tore his Achilles during the preseason, so there was plenty of cause for concern with Oakland's offensive line going into September – especially with center Stefan Wisniewski taking his talents to Jacksonville. So far, so good: The Raiders rank No. 5 in run blocking and No. 9 in pass protection, according to the advanced stats at Football Outsiders.

 

Weeden in the Mornin', Weeden in the Evenin', Weeden at Suppertime
And then you have the Cleveland Browns. They bring a special kind of incompetence to the table. Who could ever forget their 2012 draft, when they took both RB Trent Richardson (No. 3 overall) and QB Brandon Weeden (No. 22) in the first round? Magic, pure magic. Then they couldn't help themselves with QB Johnny Manziel (No. 22) in last year's draft. This offseason, the Browns spent a first-rounder (No. 19) on center Cameron Erving, even though they already have a two-time Pro Bowl center in Alex Mack.

Cleveland ranks No. 30 in offensive efficiency after two weeks, but that was mostly with Manziel under center. Josh McCown returns to duty this Sunday, and while he might not have much upside, McCown is somewhat less prone than Manziel to turning the ball over. Neither team's defense is terribly strong, the weather forecast looks good – let's put the OVER in our NFL picks, shall we?

NFL Pick: Take OVER 42.5 at Bookmaker

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