Pick 'Under' in Rams vs. Browns as Both Offenses Struggle

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, August 21, 2014 3:50 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 3:50 PM UTC

Even though a certain rookie quarterback was not named the starter of the Cleveland Browns, there is still a lot of NFL Odds value in this game. The sportsbooks have the Browns as -3 home favorites, with a total of 42 ½.

Close game
By all accounts, while the starters are in the game, this should be a pretty even contest. Both of these teams have young offenses, and very underrated defenses. For the Browns, Brian Hoyer will get the start on Saturday, and he’ll get a chance to start Week 1 of the regular season. I truly believe him being named the starter during the preseason is only a three-week tryout. The Browns have a bye in Week 4, and if the Browns go 0-3 to start the year, Johnny Manziel will likely get a crack at it.

However for this game, Hoyer will likely see most or all of the first half snaps. This could actually be good for St. Louis, because coming off of his ACL injury, Hoyer has yet to look like a guy worthy of winning any quarterback battle. In preseason Week 1 Hoyer was only 6/14 passing and had less than 100 passing yards. In Week 2 against the Redskins this past Monday, Hoyer was 2/6 with 14 yards passing.

However luckily for the Browns, the Rams have had their own offensive issues so far this preseason. Sam Bradford made his preseason debut last week, and in two series he looked pretty good, finishing his second series with a touchdown. However the running game in St. Louis has been the issue. Last week the Rams ran for less than 80 yards, and if they can’t get their running game going, it’s going to be another mediocre season.

A big reason for why the running game has been lacking for the Rams is their offensive line. However this week, according to reports from Jeff Fisher, the Rams might have their full offensive line ready to play some this week. Jake Long, who had a horrific knee injury last season could make his preseason debut, as could starting tackle, Roger Saffold. Saffold has been out most of the preseason with a neck stinger he suffered earlier in the summer. If both of these guys play, even though it might not be for long, they should both have an impact while in the game.

The Sharp Pick
With all of the offensive issues these two teams are facing, the clear NFL pick for me in this game is the under. While both offenses struggle, both defenses will eat in this game, and eat very well. The Rams’ defensive front will devour the Browns shaky offensive line, and once the Rams are done getting Long and Saffold some brief work, the Browns will probably do the same thing to St. Louis.

With an NFL Odds total of 42 ½, this could be a much lower scoring game than some are projecting. Even if Manziel gets some garbage time against the Rams’ backups, I still see a lower score. I am itching for a prop bet on whether Michael Sam will sack Manziel, because I would really like to see that happen to end this game.

NFL Pick: UNDER 42 ½ 

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