We’re going to examine Thursday’s NFL preseason contest between the Redskins and Browns. Read our detailed and informative betting preview article that culminates with a point spread pick.
Skins and Browns in Preseason Opener
Cleveland will host Washington on Thursday in what will be the preseason opener for both teams. The opening kickoff at Browns Stadium in Cleveland is slated for 8:00 PM ET. These clubs met during last year’s preseason, and the Redskins won 24-23 in game played at Washington. That contest easily went over the total of 37.5, and Cleveland covered as a 2.0 point underdog.
The Head Coaches
Both Mike Pettine (Cleveland) and Jay Gruden (Washington) are entering their second year as head coach of their respective teams. Cleveland was 1-3 straight up, 2-2 ATS, and 3-1 over the total in the 2014 preseason during Pettine’s first year as a NFL head man. Washington went 3-1 straight up, 2-2 ATS, and 3-1 under the total in Gruden’s inaugural year as a head coach. Pettine was the former defensive coordinator of the N.Y. Jets and Buffalo Bills prior to his arrival in Cleveland. Contrarily, Gruden’s expertise comes on the opposite side of the ball. Previous to him accepting the job with Washington, he was Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator.
Quarterback Depth Plentiful for both Teams
Cleveland’s four quarterbacks on their roster all have started at least one NFL regular season game. Veteran Josh McCown who was an offseason free agent acquisition is the projected starter.
After a tumultuous rooke campaign on and off the field, 2014 first round draft choice Johnny Manziel is reported to be having a very good training camp.
Thadeus Lewis made several starts for Buffalo during the 2013 regular season in place of an injured E.J. Manual. After a horrible 2014 preseason and training camp, he was released by Buffalo prior to the start of the regular season.
Former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw started one game for Cleveland a season ago. He’s also looked exceptional in training camp, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him surpass Lewis on the depth chart.
Washington has a pretty solid trio of signal callers in their own right. It will be interesting to see the progress if any that Robert Griffin has made during upcoming preseason games. Griffin has taken a huge step backwards since an outstanding rookie year. In Griffin’s defense, he’s been plagued by a knee injury sustained near the end of his rookie season, and by all accounts, it’s really hindered his mobility ever since. Griffin has struggled adjusting to being a pure drop back passer.
Colt McCoy really did himself well when given the opportunity for Washington last season. That was never more apparent than in the Monday night upset win at Dallas. McCoy made four starts in all, completing an excellent 71.1% of his pass attempts for 1057 yards, tossed 4 touchdowns passes, and was intercepted 3 times. The former Cleveland and San Francisco quarterback has made 25 career starts in his first five years of his NFL career.
Heading into the 2013 NFL campaign, former Michigan State star Kirk Cousins was a hot commodity. Then he proceeded to play himself out of a possible huge future long term deal. Cousins made a combined 8 starts the last 2 seasons, went 1-7, and was plagued by 16 interceptions against just 14 touchdown passes. Putting things into proper perspective, Cousins was intercepted on 7.8% of his pass attempts the last two seasons. With an obvious lack of trust by the coaching staff, Cousins has fallen to third on Washington’s quarterback depth chart.
Noteworthy Preseason Trends
- Cleveland has gone 6-2 over the total in preseason home games since 2011, and that includes 5-1 when the total is 42.0 or less.
- Washington has gone 9-1 straight up and 8-2 ATS in their last ten preseason games.
I look for Washington to make a concerted effort in establishing a winning culture during their preseason slate. With little else to go on, I’ll have a very small small lean toward the visitors for one of my NFL picks. According to current NFL odds, JustBet.com provides the most favorable combination of point spread and money line price.
NFL Pick: Play the Redskins +2.0 (+105) at JustBet