Our weekly contrarian NFL picks are 4-0 ATS so far in 2015 and we show no signs of stopping. In Week 5 we side with the Browns (+7) as the head to Baltimore to face the Ravens.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (-7) 1:00 ET
The Cleveland Browns travel to face the Baltimore Ravens for this 1:00 ET start between AFC Central rivals. They say it’s not a rivalry if one team dominates the series. That is exactly the case between these two, in a series where Baltimore has won 12 of the last 13 divisional meetings. It is also part of the reason why the public will favor a Baltimore team who has a far more positive public persona than that of a Cleveland Brown franchise, which is a perennial loser. Let’s go inside the numbers to see why the Browns may actually have a chance to win this contest. Each week in this space I pick an NFL lone ranger contrary play of the week. To date, they are 4-0 ATS, including last week’s winner with the St Louis Rams in their outright victory over Arizona by a score of 24-22 as 7 point underdog.
The 1-3 SU ATS Baltimore Ravens line up today in a mixed situational bag. The Ravens have the advantage of 10 days rest since they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is a positive for divisional home favorites in their next game. On the negative side is a long term 11-25 ATS record for home favorites after they faced the brutally physical Pittsburgh defense. It is also a negative for game 5 teams who are coming off their first win vs a divisional rival. Perhaps more to the point is that Baltimore has simply not played up to expectations. There have been acceptable losses at Denver and to Cincinnati, but the loss to Oakland (37-33) simply cannot be excused. Now the Ravens face a Cleveland team with a 1-3 SU record as well, yet the Browns appear to be making progress.
Last week, they played the San Diego Chargers tooth and nail in a 30-27 last second loss, in which the statistical yardage was virtually even. QB McCown was solid in that outing, leading the Browns to 332 PY through the airways. Along with the recent 6-2 ATS record of Cleveland as a road dog, there is clearly hope for the Browns in this contest. But if they are to stay competitive with the Ravens, they will need to do a better job on the defensive side than the 143/4.8 running yards they’re allowing and the 406/6.6 YP play they are allowing. But, that’s all part of the contrary nature of this play. I invite you to join me for my NFL Pick of the week, in which only you, I, and the LONE RANGER will side with the Cleveland Browns and the generous NFL Odds.
NFL Pick: Cleveland Browns +7 (-120) at Bet365