Low Temp. Means Low Score: Pick Under in Browns vs. Bills

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 1:20 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 1:20 PM UTC

After winning their “home” game Monday night, the Bills return to Ralph Wilson Stadium to host the Cleveland Browns – in theory. Buffalo opened as a pick ‘em on the Week 13 NFL odds board.

Jason’s record after Week 11: 29-43 ATS, 13-17-1 Totals

Profit: minus-45.95 units

The Buffalo Bills are a blue-collar team in a blue-collar town, where hard work isn’t a virtue – it’s a necessity. But no amount of hard work was going to get Ralph Wilson Stadium ready in time for Buffalo’s Week 12 matchup against the New York Jets. The snow was just too damn high. So the players hitched snowmobile rides to the airport and flew to Detroit. If the Bills were thrown off by the change in plans, they didn’t show it Monday night, thumping the Jets (+2.5) 38-3 and beating the NFL odds for the first time since October.

The Week 13 schedule has the Bills (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS) returning home to face the Cleveland Browns (7-4 SU, 6-3-2 ATS) in a Sunday matinee. But the weather gods might have other ideas. All that lake-effect snow that fell in western New York is melting, and Buffalo residents are being urged to prepare themselves for possible evacuation due to flooding. Things could get even worse over the weekend with rain in the forecast.

Barons vs. Sabres
These aren’t exactly ideal conditions for making NFL picks, either. But all this nasty weather could turn out to be highly profitable. For one thing, if Sunday’s matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) does get moved out of town, Buffalo will once again lose home-field advantage, so fading the Bills now as a pick ‘em could make sense.

Taking the UNDER also has merit given the circumstances. The kind of weather that’s in the forecast for Buffalo is the kind of weather that tends to favor the UNDER: rainy and windy. If they end up moving the game, well, the Buffalo players have already been through more than their share of travel, and they’ve got a short week to prepare for Cleveland.

This is already the kind of Rust Belt matchup that usually leads to low scores. These two particular teams don’t get to meet often, but the UNDER is 4-3 in their seven games stretching back to 2004, and 3-1 in their last four encounters. Weather is part of that equation; you might recall that epic 8-0 Cleveland win seven years ago in the driving snow. But there was also the time when the Browns beat Buffalo 6-3 in 2009 – no weather gods to blame for that sorry display.

Nine Out of 11 Ain’t Bad
We don’t want to jump the gun too quickly on switching to “late-season” mode and betting the UNDER more vigorously. But we’ve already seen some clawback after what was a profitable first half of the 2014 campaign for the OVER. With Monday night’s Ravens-Saints game yet to be decided, the UNDER was 8-6 in Week 12, including Buffalo’s win over New York (UNDER 42). That makes the UNDER a scintillating 9-2 for the Bills this year.

The Browns (UNDER 6-5) have also been a profitable pick in that regard, although last Sunday’s 26-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons did go OVER 48.5 to snap a six-game streak. It took a pair of last-minute field goals to make it happen, though. Cleveland (No. 16 offense, No. 16 defense on the DVOA charts) might not have the same offense/defense imbalance as the Bills (No. 27 offense, No. 5 defense), and we can’t ignore the return of Josh Gordon, who caught eight passes for 120 yards against Atlanta. But Sunday’s game – if it is played on Sunday – is in jeopardy of turning into another single-digit slugfest.

As with any weather-related football pick against the total, we recommend waiting until closer to kick-off to get a better fix on the conditions. We’ll take what we can get right now for the purposes of this column. May the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Bet UNDER 41.5 at BetOnline

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