Let’s preview the Browns vs Ravens Week 5 game & look at all available, odds, trends & significant Injuries. Then try to make a solid pick from the perceptions & expectations from both teams.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens [Sunday 18:00] (CBS, Directv 212, NFL RedZone, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT): The Baltimore Ravens (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) open up the doors of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon to the Cleveland Browns (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) for this big early season Week 5 AFC North meeting and a tough result for the ultimate loser. Right now (Tuesday morning), the host Ravens are 6½-point favorites almost everywhere although there are some 7s (5Dimes) in the marketplace if you dig. And right now, the Total in this game is at 43½ in most places (Heritage, The Greek), although there are some 43’s (Pinnacle) to be found for the potential Over player. On the Money Line, the favored Ravens are priced at -275 with the underdog Browns lined at +244 (Pinnacle) while the Baltimore Ravens Team Total Points has been set at 25 (Ladbrokes) for this game while the Cleveland Browns Team Total Points has been set at 18½ (Ladbrokes). Some Alternate Point Spreads: Ravens -6 -106, Browns +6½ -118 (5Dimes); Ravens -7 +110, Browns +7 -130 (5Dimes).The Advanced Line on this game released last Tuesday (Sept. 24) night was (Ravens minus) 8½.
The Cleveland Browns (300/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) and starting QB Josh McCown (119.1 QBR vs Chargers) looked pretty darn good against the Chargers in San Diego on Sunday, but an embarrassing Offsides penalty on what ended up being a missed FG attempt may have cost Head Coach Mike Pettine (10-9-1 ATS) and his Browns a shot at a Win and maybe a 2-2 start to this 2015/16 NFL Regular Season. Against the Bolts, McCown was 32/41 for 356 yards and had 2 Passing TDs, utilizing Skill Position players like WR Duke Johnson Jr. (9 receptions, 85 yards, TD), RB Isaiah Crowell (12 rushes, 63 yards), Travis Benjamin (6 receptions, 79 yards, TD) and Gary Barnidge (6 receptions, 75 yards, TD) to his benefit. On the Injury front here, Cleveland has six players listed as Questionable for this Gridiron Buffet: LB Scott Solomon (Ankle), DB K’Waun Williams (Concussion), DL Desmond Bryant (Shoulder), LB Craig Robertson (Ankle), DB Joe Haden (Ribs) and DB Tashaun Gipson (Ankle), while RB Robert Turbin (Ankle) is expected to return later this month and WR Josh Gordon is serving his 1-year Suspension for violating the NFL’s Drug Policy a second time. OL Michael Bowie (Shoulder), QB Connor Shaw (Thumb), RB Glenn Winston (Knee) and DB Charles Gaines are among the many Browns (85 PF-102 PA) still stuck on the Injured-Reserve List.
The Baltimore Ravens (93 PF-104 PA) should be really fired up after last Thursday’s dramatic, come-from-behind win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in OT—the kind of game that can jumpstart a poor beginning to a season. The Blackbirds and LB Daryl Smith (13 tackles vs. Steelers, 10 Solo) will also glad to just be back Home after playing 3 of their first 4 games on the Road. And here, against one of the worst teams in the NFL in the Browns, weary from travel, this seems like a pretty good spot for Baltimore, although star WR Steve Smith (Back) will miss the game, and with the other WR Smith (Torrey) now in San Francisco, Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have to work with WRs like Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro and continue to turn to dependable TEs Crockett Gillmore (10 receptions, 151 yards, 2 TDs) Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle and use RBs like Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro when necessary. Baltimore (40/1 to win Super Bowl, Paddy Power) did lose much in the Offseason—like the aforementioned WR Torrey Smith, TE Owen Daniels and NT Haloti Ngata, but this is a gritty team which has always made the best out of what they’ve had, and one which plays in the image of both blue-collar guys HC Harbaugh (Miami-Ohio) and QB Flacco (Delaware). The Ravens are NFL tough, and that distinction just doesn’t happen overnight. This is a team which has earned a reputation—one bruise at a time—of being able to play with anyone, anywhere, anytime. The Ravens do have some problems on the Injury front though heading in here on Sunday. Besides Steve Smith (Out),T Eugene Moore (Concussion), DL Chris Canty (Calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (Calf) and CB Tray Walker (Thigh) all listed as Questionable. WR Breshad Perriman (Knee) is Out Indefinitely for the Ravens while Baltimore has a bunch of talented guys still stuck on the Injured-Reserve List in LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles), TE Dennis Pitta (Hip), TE Allen Reisner (Ankle), DE Brent Urban (Bicep) and S Matt Elam (Bicep).
Series Numbers, Recent Relevant Trends and Game Expectations
In this series last season, the Ravens won and covered by ½ a point in Cleveland, 23-21, as 1½-point favorites, while in this game last year here in the Crab City, Baltimore won, 20-10, but failed to cover as heavy 14-point chalks. Trend-wise, the Browns are an impressive 4-1 ATS the L5 here in Baltimore and the Road teams is 8-2-1 ATS in the L11. Also, the Under is 7-2 ATS in the L9 meetings here, Week 5 Ravens games are 6-2 L8 Under and the Under is 13-6 ATS in the L19 Baltimore games here at Home. But with Browns Overs 4-0 ATS to start the season (Ravens O/U 2-2), the Total here is a tough call although the weather in the Lower 48 (United) states is starting to turn colder and there are now less minutes of Daylight after the Autumnal Equinox—seemingly good things for the Under. The Weather forecast at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon calls for a game-time High Temperature of 67°, Mostly Sunny conditions with 0% chance of Precipitation, Relative Humidity of 55% and light SSW Winds around 9 mph (The Weather Channel). A big reason that the Ravens are the pick ATS here is because the game is in Baltimore and because Cleveland has the worst statistical Defense in the NFL as of now, allowing 1,625 Total Yards and an average of 406.3 ypg. While Baltimore’s Defense has been much better in past seasons, the Ravens D currently ranks #14 and, has allowed 1,388 Total Yards (347.0 ypg). Also, after playing 3 of their first 4 games on the Road, the Ravens know they now have 7 of their 8 Home games left on the Schedule (big psychologically), an Open Date (Week 10) and two meetings with these Cleveland Browns where they can make up some ground and get back into the race like they always do. With the always underrated Joe Flacco as your QB, anything is possible. And another reason to side with the better football team here: Baltimore has opened up (Weeks 1-4) playing the Broncos, Raiders, Bengals and Steelers—three Playoff teams last year—while Cleveland has opened up with the Jets, Titans, Raiders and Browns, all well sub-.500 teams last season and none who tasted the Postseason. There are also big Strength of Schedule and a long-term SU series winning run (Ravens 13-1 L14 SU vs. Browns) advantages here for the host Ravens, but if you plan on backing them, try to find a way to get them under 7 (-6½) if you possibly can.
Predicted Final Score: Baltimore Ravens 27 Cleveland Browns 16
Week 5 NFL Pick: Ravens -6½ (-106) at Pinnacle