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The betting line for the Los Angeles Chargers (2-2) at the Cleveland Browns (2-2) in Week 5 is wrong and I have to BET the CLEVELAND BROWNS +3 (-110) Sunday at DraftKings Sportsbook.
So let me get this straight: L.A. is a 3-point favorite vs. Cleveland when the Chargers were 2.5-point favorites at home against the Browns last season, also in Week 5?
This appears to be recency bias in the betting market and perhaps too much love for Chargers QB Justin Herbert and head coach Brandon Staley.
The Browns lost at the Atlanta Falcons 23-20 as 1-point road favorites in Week 4 and the Chargers beat the Texans 34-24, covering as 5.5-point favorites in Houston. But, Atlanta is 4-0 against the spread (ATS) and feisty whereas Houston sucks.
The Chargers won last year’s meeting with the Browns 47-42. It was one of the most thrilling games in 2021 and it’s when the NFL media began its love affair with Staley. L.A. converted 3-of-3 fourth-down attempts and scored 26 fourth-quarter points to pull off a double-digit comeback victory.
However, Cleveland was the better team that day and L.A. got lucky. The Browns had more yards, yards per play and time of possession than the Chargers. In fact, Football Outsiders gave Cleveland a 60% chance to win that game based on efficiency.
The Browns trampled the Chargers last season and L.A. had a terrible rushing defense. The Chargers put resources into improving their run defense this offseason but they are still bad.
Cleveland’s ground game will steamroll L.A.’s defense again Sunday. Browns RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt averaged more than five yards per carry vs. the Chargers last season. Chubb has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL.
The Browns got better at quarterback with backup QB Jacoby Brissett replacing Baker Mayfield before Deshaun Watson returns. Brissett is ninth in expected points added per play (EPA/play) and Mayfield is dead-last.
Also, Cleveland has the edge in coaching. Staley became the talk of the town last season thanks to going for it on fourth down all the time.
But, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski won 2020 NFL Coach of the Year and has taken a curse Cleveland franchise to the playoffs.
Furthermore, the Chargers are 1-3 ATS as road favorites with a -11.0 ATS margin since the beginning of last season. The Browns are 12-3 straight up following a loss since 2020 with a +3.3 margin of victory.
Finally, this is a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market. Roughly 70% of the money is on the Browns ATS while nearly two-thirds of the bets placed are on the Chargers ATS at the time of publishing.
When there’s a split in the market early in the week, you want to follow the cash column since sharps wager a lot more dough than the public.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and BET the CLEVELAND BROWNS +3 (-110). For the record, I’d bet the Browns all the way down to a pick ’em vs. the Chargers.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.