NFL Picks: Make the Browns Your Big Dog Play for Week 7 vs. Rams

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, October 23, 2015 2:48 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 23, 2015 2:48 PM UTC

Week 7 of the NFL season is upon us and we are taking a look at our Big Dog of the Week play. The Browns fit the mold this week as an underdog value play when the visit the Rams Sunday.

Cleveland Browns vs. St Louis Rams (-7) 1:00 EST
The Cleveland Browns visit the St Louis Rams for this 1 o’clock kick in Sunday NFL action. From a fundamental perspective, Cleveland has the superior offense, while St Louis has the better defense. But there are clear situational and technical reasons for this play, giving us great value on the Cleveland Browns as my week 7 big dog NFL pick.

St Louis enters at 2-3 SU ATS with two weeks of rest following their 24-10 loss at Green Bay. They have outstanding upset wins this year of 34-31 in OT at home to Seattle, and 24-22 as +7 road dog at Arizona. Those are right in character with longtime NFL St Louis HC Fisher. The numbers for Fisher when favored are significantly below .500; that includes 0-1 ATS this season as they lost 24-10 as 3 point road chalk at Washington. That made it four consecutive losses in the role of favorite for the Rams. Taking it a step further, consider that St Louis has failed to cover 12 consecutive times following consecutive road games if now favored vs a less than .500 foe. In longer term action, St Louis is 11-19 ATS as a home favorite.

The situation is much different for the Cleveland Browns. This is a team who despite being 2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS is beginning to play better football. Three weeks ago as big dog at San Diego, they lost in the closing seconds 30-27. Traveling cross country the next week, they won outright as 7 point dog at Baltimore. Last week at home vs Denver, they extended the undefeated Broncos OT in a 26-23 loss. Those three consecutive covers as underdog extends the mark under HC Pettine to 10-3 ATS when installed as underdog. The fact Cleveland is off a loss has also been a major plus in the ensuing contest. Again under HC Pettine, Cleveland is now 10-1 ATS following a defeat. Put those two stats together, and we find the Browns to be 7-0 ATS as underdog off a straight up loss in their current coaching regime.

It is a bit disconcerting to back this Cleveland defense that allows 150/5.0 overland, the worst in the NFL. That’s all part of a stop unit allowing 26/407. But the respective roles of these teams and the above technicals that emanate from those roles make it clear that Cleveland is worthy of my moniker as NFL BIG DOG OF THE WEEK. I invite you to put the NFL odds in your favor and join me this week in backing Cleveland in their preferred role.

NFL Pick: Cleveland Browns +7 (-130) at 5Dimes

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