Jets-Browns Betting Preview & Pick: Does Cleveland’s Winless Streak End Tonight?
It’s been a great start to our betting picks in 2018. After posting a 5–0 record in Week 1, I finished Week 2 with another winning week by taking the Bears -4.5 against the Seahawks on Monday night. Overall, I’m 8-2 on the season heading into Thursday night’s matchup between the Jets and Browns.
The big question for Thursday night is whether to trust Cleveland to win its first game since December of 2016. The Browns have been close in back-to-back weeks but have found a way to tie the Steelers and lose to the Saints in the most excruciating ways possible. Can Hue Jackson actually win a close game? Better yet, will the Browns cover as a rare favorite?
Let’s dive into the matchup.
301 New York Jets at 302 Cleveland Browns
- Point Spread: Browns -3
- O/U: 40.5
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday
The Browns opened as a 3.5-point home favorite at some books but the line was bet down to a field goal early in the week and that’s where it has remained. As for the total, the number hit the board at 40, was bet all the way down to 39, but is now up to 40.5.
As of Thursday morning, 63% of the betting tickets for this game are on the Browns to cover the spread but 54% of the money wagered is on the Jets. As for the total, 68% of the betting tickets are on the over and so is 58% of the money wagered at online sportsbooks.
The Jets will likely be without safety Marcus Maye, who is doubtful to play due to a foot injury. Linebacker Josh Martin (concussion) and tight end Neal Sterling (concussion) have already been ruled out. Left guard James Carpenter (foot) and left tackle Kelvin Beachum (foot) will play, however.
For the Browns, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) and tight end Seth DeValve (hamstring) are both out, while linebacker Christian Kirksey is doubtful due to shoulder and ankle injuries. That said, safety Damarious Randall (heel) is questionable despite not practicing this week.
The Jets are a perfect 5–0 against the spread in their last five games against the Browns and are 4–1 at the betting window in their last five trips to Cleveland. That said, the favorite is a perfect 8–0 against the spread in the last eight meetings between these two teams.
I don’t trust Hue Jackson. I understand that’s blunt, but there have been enough examples over the past two-plus years of the Browns blowing close games in the second half to prove that he’s not a good head coach.
Granted, it wasn’t Jackson’s fault that Tyrod Taylor threw an interception to get the Saints back in the game last week, nor was it Jackson who missed the extra point that kept the game tied in the closing minutes after Taylor completed an improbable touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway on a fourth down play. Still, his decision-making has been questionable in Cleveland, to say the least.
That said, I’m going against my better judgment and taking the Browns tonight. While his interception was a back-breaker in New Orleans, Taylor has an exceptional track record of protecting the football. Lost in the painstaking way Cleveland fell last Sunday in New Orleans was the fact the Browns forced multiple turnovers again and kept a dynamic Saints offense out of the end zone for most of the day. This front seven is legit and at some point, Taylor and this offense will start turning those turnovers into points.
As for the Jets, I trust their offense more than I do the Browns, but this is a bad spot to take New York. The Jets pulled off a stunning upset win in Week 1 but tonight will mark their third game in the past 11 days. In those 11 days, they’ve already had to travel twice (Detroit and Cleveland) and road teams are at a disadvantage on these Thursday nights because it’s a short week of rest and preparation.
Thus, this pick has less to do with backing Jackson and the Browns and more to do with fading the Jets. I’m banking on Todd Bowles’ team to wear down in the second half, and for Sam Darnold and the Jets to struggle offensively as a whole.
The winless streak ends tonight.
Pick: Browns -3
- Week 1: 5–0
- Week 2: 3–2
- Overall: 8–2
Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images.