Browns vs. Eagles: Profit Off Totals In Week 1 NFL Betting

Carson Wentz during a game

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 6:23 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2016 6:23 PM GMT

Our NFL handicapper looks at a game that has seen some huge line moves recently, and still thinks there is value to be had. Read on as he breaks down the matchup between the Browns and Eagles and makes his Week 1 NFL Pick. 

Cleveland Brown vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Coming off of a 7-9 record in 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles officially start the Carson Wentz era in 2016, as they have named the North Dakota State rookie and 2nd overall pick of the draft their starter in the Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. This is partially surprising, as Wentz only has live action under his belt from Week 1 of the preseason before he left with an injury. It’s a risky move for the Eagles, but with all of the draft collateral that they leveraged to pick up Wentz the time was now. They ended up winners in cap space terms as well with the trade of Sam Bradford to the Vikings after Teddy Bridgewater went down.

With the uncertainty of who was going to start at quarterback for the Eagles, the line at NFL odds boards has moved considerably in this game. In early betting the Eagles were 7.5 to 7 point favorites with Sam Bradford as the presumed starter. That line has taken a nosedive though in recent days, with the Eagles now favored by just 4 points at home with Wentz under center. The O/U line took a dive as well and in the last week has moved from 43 to 41 at books such as 5Dimes.

The Browns, perennial rebuilders of their own right, start another overall 2nd pick in Robert Griffin III. It is telling then, that they are still underdogs in this game with an experienced NFL starter going against a Division II rookie with one game of preseason experience in August. The problem with the Browns this season looks to be their defense, as even their own fan base is expecting the worst from that unit. But another cause for concern, at least this year, is the relative inexperience of the Brown’s roster. Over 30% of their 53-man roster is made up of rookies and they kept all 14 of their 2016 draft picks after the preseason. Furthermore, the Browns roster is made up of over 50% of players in their 2nd year or less.

The Eagles just finished an undefeated preseason, where they went 4-0 both SU and ATS. The Browns went in the complete opposite direction, going 0-4 SU against the spread. Including the last six games of the 2015 season, the Browns are 1-9 SU and 2-8 ATS, while their offense has sluggishly put up a 2-8 trend favoring the Under. In Philly’s last 10 games, they are 7-3 SU and ATS. Cleveland 3-13 SU last year, with only one of those wins coming on the road. They ended the season 5-10-1 ATS. Philadelphia favored a bit better, going 7-9 ATS in 2015.

The Eagles defense allowed only 9 points or less in 3 of their 4 preseason games, and all indications are that the defense is the best unit on the team by far. They will be helped by the addition of head coach, Doug Pederson, who will run a West Coast offense rather than the quick pace of Chip Kelly. This should lead to less snaps on the field for the defensive unit. Jim Schwartz was hired as the defensive coordinator and has been well received so far.

These teams haven’t met in Philadelphia since 2008, so no trends can be pulled together from recent meetings. Besides, most of the Browns’ roster was in junior high school when that game was played.

With Wentz looking to be wide-eyed coming into the opener, I can’t really trust the offense of the Eagles to carry the day. That is even after considering the Browns defensive deficiencies. For the Browns, their offense hasn’t put up more than 13 points in 7 games straight, so I expect their struggles to continue. The movement to the Under here is very warranted, and there is still value at 41 points here. Take Under 41 as one of your Week 1 NFL Picks.


Free NFL Picks: Under 41 -110
Best Line Offered: at JustBet
2016 NFL Record: 2-0, +2.00 Units

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