NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
We split again on our Thursday night NFL pick last week, recommending the Bengals on the moneyline and the under against the visiting Ravens. Cincinnati tried its best to blow the game but prevailed 34-23, breezing way past the total. Can't say I expected Andy Dalton to throw four first-half touchdown passes.
This Thursday, we stay in Ohio as the Jets visit the Browns in what looked like an all-time horrific prime-time matchup back in April but now has quite a few interesting story lines. The biggest involves Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. New York traded up from No. 6 to No. 3 overall in this year's draft to land its franchise quarterback, but I promise you that team officials never thought Darnold would be there as the was the top-rated QB by almost all the scouts.
Most were linking Baker Mayfield to the Jets, but of course the Browns shocked many by taking the Heisman winner. It's obviously too early to say if that was a mistake. I do think the Giants goofed big time by not taking Darnold at No. 2 over Saquon Barkley. The latter's going to be a great back, but if you've seen the Giants so far you know they desperately need a young franchise quarterback. The Jets very happily bounced on Darnold, and they now look set at the position for the next decade. Unfortunately, we won't see a Mayfield-Darnold duel until at least 2019 because Mayfield isn't expected to see the field unless Tyrod Taylor gets hurt.
Jets at Browns Betting Story Lines
We don't wish anyone to lose their job - well, maybe Hitler - but there was just no chance that the Browns could have kept young kicker Zane Gonzalez after he missed two PATs and two field goals in Sunday's crushing 21-18 loss in New Orleans. The Browns are just so close to being 2-0 but clearly don't know how to win yet.
To no surprise, Gonzalez is a goner; to be fair to Gonzalez, he was allegedly kicking with a groin injury that required an MRI. In typical Browns fashion they signed someone Monday whom no one has heard of. The team wanted to work out former Cowboy Dan Bailey on Monday, but he passed and signed with Minnesota. Which is typical Browns luck. So the club held tryouts for the likes of Cairo Santos, who kicked for current Browns GM John Dorsey in Kansas City, and Blair Walsh. Two pretty good kickers. Instead, the team signed someone named Greg Joseph, an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic. He converted just 69.5 percent of his field goal attempts in college. Joseph lost a training camp competition with Miami to Jason Sanders, who the Dolphins picked in the seventh round of last April's draft. OK then.
By the way, expect Browns rookie WR Antonio Callaway to be a popular pickup in your fantasy leagues this week. He's going to play a lot in the wake of Josh Gordon being traded to New England. Callaway caught the tying 47-yard TD late in the fourth quarter vs. New Orleans, only for Gonzalez to miss the PAT.
Jets fans were making Super Bowl plans after their shocking blowout win in Detroit on Monday in Week 1, but Darnold came back to earth a bit in Sunday's 20-12 home loss to Miami. He did throw for 334 yards to become the youngest QB in league history with a 300-yard game but also was picked off twice, overthrew a wide-open Quincy Enunwa in the end zone once and had some poor clock management late in the first half that probably cost his team three points. WR Terrelle Pryor took the blame on Darnold's second interception and later apologized to the rookie, so that means Darnold clearly already has the respect of the locker room. The Jets appear to have gotten out of the Dolphins game pretty healthy.
Jets at Browns Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Cleveland is a 3-point favorite (-130) with a total of 39. On the moneyline, the Browns are -180 and Jets +158. On the alternate lines, Cleveland is -3.5 (-105) and -2.5 (-155). The Jets are 1-1 against the spread (1-0 on road) and 1-1 "over/under" (1-0 on road). The Browns are 2-0 ATS (1-0 at home) and 1-1 O/U (1-0 at home).
The Jets are 7-2-1 ATS in their past 10 vs. the AFC. The Browns have covered five of their past seven on Thursday. The under is 5-0 in the Jets' past five vs. teams with a losing record. It's 11-3 in the Browns' past 14 at home. The favorite is 8-0 ATS in the past eight meetings.
Jets at Browns Betting Prediction
Believe it or not, this is the first time Cleveland is a home favorite since December 2015; it has been favored once since then, very slightly last year at Indianapolis. It's the fourth straight year these two have played with the Jets on a five-game winning streak in the series overall. Each of the past two were decided by just a field goal.
The Browns end their 19-game winless streak - but give the 2.5-point alternate line. Go over that small total.
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