Johnny Football & Browns Overvalued vs. Lions in NFL Odds

Jeff Grant

Friday, August 8, 2014 4:10 PM GMT

Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 4:10 PM GMT

All eyes will be on Johnny Manziel in the Motor City Saturday night, which will prove fatal for the Cleveland Browns in their preseason opener against the Detroit Lions.

LeBron shows up to camp
The national sports media has been focused on Cleveland’s preparation for the 2014 NFL season since the franchise drafted former Texas A&M Aggies star Johnny Manziel, who received a visit from one of the world’s biggest stars.

Two-time NBA champion LeBron James visited the practice fields of his hometown team  Thursday, which certainly created a buzz for everyone involved, but I’m not sure it’s the right environment for a team that’s preparing for a exhibition opener.

Mike Pettine must have signed off on the visit, considering its his first year as head coach after spending the previous five seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

 

Accountability
Detroit hopes to regain a sense of accountability around the team’s facilities with new head coach Jim Caldwell, as it played undisciplined football under former former front man Jim Schwartz from 2009-13.

NFL handicappers are going to have a hard time looking past Caldwell’s less-than-stellar 2-10 SU record and 4-8 ATS mark in preseason play, but those numbers were to be expected in taking over for Tony Dungy in Indianapolis.

Caldwell anticipates having one of the premiere offenses in the NFL, with that group being directed by coordinator Joe Lombardi, who spent the previous five seasons working alongside New Orleans Saints signal-caller Drew Brees.

 

Manziel Mania
No player has received more attention in the NFL than Manziel over the last couple months, which could lead to inflated numbers on the NFL betting odds page, as the public continues to be bombarded by news stories out of Cleveland.

Pettine has already mentioned that he plans to name a starter under center heading into the third preseason games, which means that the former Heisman Trophy winner must move past Brian Hoyer on the depth chart.

Day-to-day onlookers have taken notice that Manziel has completed over 60 percent of his passes in practice this week—far better than his under 50 mark in the first eight days.

 

Take things to the next level
There’s absolutely no quarterback controversy for the Lions, as Matthew Stafford has started in every game since 2011—throwing for 90 touchdowns over that span.

Stafford owns the top three spots on the team’s all-time single-season passing yards list, which has been helped by having one of the best perimeter targets in football, but Caldwell is unsure if wide receiver Calvin Johnson will play in this affair.

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Lions as one of their Week 1 NFL Preseason betting picks, as Hoyer and Manziel will likely turn the ball over regularly in trying to win the starting job.
Pick:  Detroit Lions Pick’ Em at BetOnline

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