Don't Expect Barn Burner When Bears & Browns Have Their Final Preseason Tilt

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 8:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 8:34 PM UTC

Our NFL handicapping professional provides us with a betting preview for Thursday’s Chicago and Cleveland game. Go inside to read this persuasive article culminated with a NFL pick.

Two Winless Teams in Preseason Finale
The Bears and Browns will meet on Thursday night in what we’ll be a preseason finale for both teams. The opening kickoff at Browns Stadium in Cleveland is slated for 8:00 PM ET.

According to my sportsbook rating guide, 5Dimes has garnered an impeccable reputation. Current NFL betting odds at 5Dimes has the Browns as a 5.5-point favorite, and the posted total is 37.0.


Rare NFL Preseason Situation
Both Chicago and Cleveland enter Thursday’s final preseason contest with identical 0-3 records. This is a rarity indeed. As a matter of fact, it’s just the sixth time since 1983, both teams will enter their fourth preseason game with matching 0-3 records. All of those preceding five games went under the total, and there was a combined average of only 28.6 points scored per contest.

Keeping with that low-scoring theme, since 2015, Cleveland has gone under the total in each of their seven preseason games. Conversely, Chicago is 5-1 under the total during their previous six preseason contests, and all those results transpired with current head coach John Fox in charge.


Sizable Line Movement
When checking what I consider to be the best sportsbooks, Cleveland opened as a consensus 3.0-point favorite and has since moved to 5.5. It must be noted, although approximately 67% of the volume of bets have gone on Cleveland, that’s not a sole reason for such an abrupt line move. It has more to do with public statements made by first-year Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson. It’s very unusual for teams to play their starters in final preseason games. The goal at this juncture is to reach the regular season as unscathed and healthy as possible. Nevertheless, Jackson has indicated that his starters will play on Thursday night. Jackson’s clearly trying to establish a winning culture and momentum, and even more so following three straight 2016 preseason defeats. After all, this is a Browns franchise that’s suffered through eight consecutive losing seasons and compiled a pathetic 37-91 (.289) record over that course of time.


Final Analysis and Pick
Each of these teams has experienced problems trying to score points throughout the preseason. Specifically, Cleveland has scored a combined 37 points in three games. Conversely, Chicago was only able to only able to manufacture a cumulative 29 points of their own. This has the earmarks of a low scoring game, and one of my Thursday NFL picks will reflect that precise notion.

Free NFL Pick: Under 37.0
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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