NFL Picks: Browns' Losing Streak Will Continue Against 49ers

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 6:52 PM GMT

Can Johnny Manziel snap a seven-game losing streak for the Browns at the expense of the San Francisco 49ers? Find out as we weigh in on this week 14 matchup and serve up NFL picks.

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NFL Pick: 49ers +2 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

San Francisco 49ers Road Underdogs
The San Francisco 49ers are floating on Cloud 9 after snatching the improbable win in the windy city on Sunday, all while closing as the significant 6-point underdogs. With wind beneath their wings, they look to make it two in a row for the first time this term as they take on the hapless Cleveland Browns. Can they build on the momentum?

Overall, the Niners are 4-8 SU on the season with a 6-6-0 ATS mark, highlighted by a 9.4-point losing margin and a 2.6-point differential against the spread. In their last four games, they’ve gone 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS, highlighted by a 3.75-losing margin on average.

 

Cleveland Browns Home Favorites With Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel
The drama in Cleveland surrounding Johnny Football Manziel puts a Shakespearean dramedy to shame. Would they just make a decision either way with regards to their problem child, finally? Start him for the rest of the season or bench him…none of this pussyfooting around from week-to-week. How are NFL bettors supposed to get a handle on the Browns?

In any event, with Manziel being slotted into the game it changes things. The bulk of the starts for the Browns was handled by Josh McCown. The couple by Manziel provide a limited cross-section for NFL bettors to sink their teeth into. On the season, the Browns sport the worst record on the season – a 2-10 SU mark that is underscored by a 4-8 ATS mark with a 10.9-point losing margin and a negative 6.9-point differential against the spread.

 

Consensus Betting Leans Towards Niners
Wins have been few and far in between for the San Francisco 49ers in what’s been another turbulent season with wholesale changes underway from new coach to Jim Tomsula to a complete change at quarterback – Colin Kaepernick is out and Blaine Gabbert is in.

Overall, the Niners have deposited a paltry 4-8 SU mark to prop up the NFC West division. That subpar account is comprised of a 3-3 SU mark at home and just a 1-5 SU mark on the road, the latter of which includes the 26-20 win over the Chicago Bears in overtime.

San Francisco capitalised on a let-down spot for the Bears. John Fox and his motley crew were riding good form into week 13 after winning three of their previous four games, including a statement-making 17-13 win over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. They were matched as the overwhelming home favorites and for good reason – so badly received are the Niners at sports betting shops that odds makers had no option but to open the NFL betting lines high on that game.

To be fair, the Bears did put themselves into a good position to win the game last Sunday, only for a botched field goal attempt sending the game into overtime. The rest was history as the Niners – with some luck on their side – snatched the victory.

SBR Consensus betting reveals 57.90% of the tickets taken on this game have gone towards the Niners. That distinct lean towards the Niners also accounts for 53.07% of the money actually raked in by contributing sportsbooks. The public appears to be reacting significantly to the Niners’ winning performance in week 13. By that same token, the Browns just don’t strike a convincing pose in public perception either – Johnny Manziel or not.  Being blown out by the Bengals in a 37-3 loss at home has in all likelihood left an indelible impression on the public. The upshot of which is the kind over overreaction we are witnessing on this game.

It’s fascinating to note, however, that the NFL betting lines are moving against the Niners despite the lopsided betting. Most sports betting exchanges opened this game with a PK this week, only for the line to shift against the Niners and move anywhere from +1 to +1.5-points. That’s contrary to established sports betting norms where a side receiving the bulk of the wagers should see its NFL odds improve and not worsen.

Such reverse line movements that stand in contrast to consensus betting percentages are often an indication of early sharp money coming down the wire – in this case, on the Browns. Indeed, the actual $$$ value on the Browns recorded by contributing sportsbooks at SBR is almost on par with the $$$ value recorded on the Niners.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
As a rule of thumb, fading the public is a good strategy for winning NFL picks. In this case, fading the Niners on your NFL picks might be the right way to go. However, sharpies don’t always get it right either. Let’s face it, what’s sharp about the Browns? What have they accomplished to make them a viable NFL pick? Nothing. Granted the Niners are a bad team but so are the Browns. Two bad teams playing against one another can go either way.

To all intents and purposes, this game is a totally tosser despite the lopsided and contrarian NFL betting. For our money, however, we’re going with the public on this one and taking the Niners plus the points. While most sportsbooks are trading this game on a low 1-to-1.5-point spread, at Pinnacle, you can find a 2-point spread trading on this game. We’re down with that on our NFL picks.