Truth be told, I’m taking the points with the New England Patriots (2-3) when they visit the Cleveland Browns (2-3) Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 6.
But the headline just works and if you’re betting on an underdog to cover, you should usually “sprinkle” on their moneyline (ML) as well.
Anywho, the Patriots embarrassed the Detroit Lions 29-0 as 3-point home favorites in New England last weekend. The Patriots turned Lions QB Jared Goff over twice and held Detroit to 0-for-6 on 4th down and 0-for-3 in the red zone.
The Browns spoiled a 14-point first-quarter lead in a 30-28 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 5. Cleveland lost against the spread (ATS) as 1-point underdogs on the closing line. Hopefully, you bet the Browns as 3-point underdogs when I first published my play in the middle of last week.
BET the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +3 (-115) at DraftKings Sportbook before New England’s spread falls below the key number of 3.
The Patriots’ price drops if New England QB Mac Jones returns from injury. But, who’s under center for the Patriots doesn’t make a difference to my handicap. For the record, I’d bet New England all the way down to +1.5.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
Belichick vs. one-dimensional teams
Both defenses are bad at stopping the run. However, New England’s issues with the ground game are due to strategy while Cleveland’s are due to bad defense.
The Patriots are 28th in adjusted defensive rushing efficiency (DVOA) and the Browns have the worst defensive rushing DVOA, according to Football Outsiders (FO). But, New England is ninth in total defensive DVOA and Cleveland has the third-worst defensive DVOA, per FO.
This tells me that the Patriots allow their opponents to run the ball but eliminate their aerial attack. Whereas the Browns’ defense just sucks.
More importantly, New England has a strength-on-weakness edge over Cleveland in the rushing department. The Patriots’ offensive line is third in line yards per snap and the Browns’ defensive line allows the most line yards per snap, according to FO.
If there’s a glaring weakness on your team, Belichick will exploit it. Cleveland’s terrible rushing defense will help New England control the pace and stay ahead of the sticks.
Belichick’s familiarity with Browns QB Jacoby Brissett
Brissett’s first career start came in 2016 while he was backing up former Patriots QBs Tom Brady and Jimmy Garappolo. So Belichick is obviously familiar with Brissett. While Brissett’s numbers are great thus far, he’s also cost the Browns games with late interceptions.
In fact, all three of Brissett’s interceptions have come during the fourth quarter and in Cleveland’s three 1-score losses. If any defense can take advantage of an opposing quarterback’s consistent mistakes, it’s Belichick’s.
Don’t forget that Belichick began his head coaching career with the Browns from 1991-95 and was fired by Cleveland after his final season.
It’s safe to say that Belichick could be holding a grudge. The Patriots are 8-2 straight up (SU) and 7-3 ATS vs. the Browns since The Hoodie took over in 2000.
Go to DraftKings Sportbook and BET the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +3 (-115).
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