Thursday Night NFL Action - Public Pounding Browns & Saints ATS Odds

Jason Lake

Thursday, September 1, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016 2:28 PM UTC

This week's biggest spreads on the NFL odds board are in New Orleans and Cleveland, where the Saints and Browns are 5.5-point favorites in their preseason finales.

If you've already given up on the Cleveland Browns this year, nobody would blame you. But Thursday's preseason finale against the Chicago Bears might be Cleveland's best chance to beat the NFL odds. Our consensus reports show 60 percent of bettors pounding the Browns as 5.5-point home faves, driving the spread up from –3 at the open. City of Champions~!

The New Orleans Saints are also laying 5.5 points at home for Thursday's tilt (8:00 p.m. ET) with the Baltimore Ravens, but in this case, bettors are siding with the underdogs at a 56-percent clip. Interesting, given that Baltimore opened at +3.5. Maybe it's time to take our first look this year at the expanded consensus reports to see what's going on.


Hue and Cry
First, let's hit those preseason coaches records and quarterback depth charts one more time, starting with the Bears-Browns matchup

John Fox, Bears
28-30 ATS, UNDER 31-27
Hue Jackson, Browns
2-5 ATS, UNDER 4-3

Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, B.J. Daniels
Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler

Jackson is Cleveland's fourth head coach since Jimmy Haslam bought the team in 2012. He was a dual-threat quarterback at Pacific, and an offensive coach in college and the pros since 1987, including one year as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2010. Early results aren't good: Cleveland is 0-3 SU and ATS this preseason, and last in the AFC with 37 points scored and 71 points allowed.

The Bears aren't much better. They're 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS in Fox's second preseason with the club, after going 3-1 SU and ATS last year. But it looks like Fox is willing to punt this finale; he almost always rests his starters on these occasions, like most teams do, while Jackson has already announced he'll trot out his first unit on Thursday. That's what the Browns can do for your NFL picks.

Free NFL Pick: Browns –5.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Tiny Bubbles
Now let's move on to the Ravens and Saints:

John Harbaugh, Ravens
22-13 ATS, OVER 17-17-1
Sean Payton, Saints
23-15-2 ATS, OVER 22-16-2

Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallet, Josh Johnson
Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Garrett Grayson

Those career records look good for both coaches, but Harbaugh's Ravens are 3-0 ATS this preseason, and Payton's Saints are 0-3 ATS. As for the expanded consensus, these exhibition games don't get a lot of action, and the average bet on both teams is puny: $32 on New Orleans, and $28 on Baltimore. The “small sample size” horn has been sounded. Payton says he'll use his starters Thursday, and Harbaugh almost certainly won't, so let's go with the home faves again, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Saints –5.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Preseason Record: 4-4 ATS, 2-2 Totals

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