Week 17 Betting Guide, Odds & Prediction for Browns-Ravens

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Andrew Ortenberg

NFL· 2 years ago

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

This game is one of the most important of the entire Week 17 slate, and will be CBS’ game of the week broadcasted to most of the nation, with Tony Romo and Jim Nantz on the call. It’ll reportedly be the Browns’ first time in a featured game in the 4pm EST slot since 2001. The Browns are suddenly resurgent and stringing together wins, while the Ravens can clinch the AFC North with a win here. Oddsmakers have the Ravens as 5.5 point favorites. Let’s dive into the Odds & Prediction for Browns-Ravens

Browns

The Browns started off the year like seemingly every other Browns season in recent memory, in disappointing fashion. But since firing head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the team has undergone a complete 180. They’ve been playing hard for interim coach Gregg Williams, even once it became clear the playoffs were out of reach.

They’ve won three straight games, and five of their last six. The only game they’ve lost since November 4th was a tough road game against the Texans, and they’ve been playing some of the best football in the league. While they aren’t going to the playoffs, you don’t have to worry about their motivation here. Baker Mayfield has made it very clear everyone is going to be playing to win, and that the team will be going all out to spoil the Ravens’ season and eliminate them from the playoffs. The Ravens have a very tough defense, but new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens should be able to get creative enough to scheme up some easy throws for Mayfield.

Unfortunately for the Browns, it looks like they’ll be without top corner Denzel Ward, who is dealing with a concussion. Fortunately, the Ravens don’t pass the ball down the field much with Lamar Jackson. The Browns’ defensive line will be much more important here, and they have some great run stoppers. Larry Ogunjobi is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league, and does a great job eating up blocks in the middle.

Jackson can be very hard to pin down in the pocket, but if any edge rusher is going to be able to catch him, it’s Myles Garrett. Garrett has had a breakout year, and has solidified himself as one of the best pass-rushers in the league. If the Browns’ defensive front can play the way it has the past month of the season, they should have a very good chance to win this game.

Ravens

It’s been an odd year for the Ravens. They started the year off hot, then slumped a bit. Their season completely changed when Joe Flacco went down with a hip injury, which cleared the way for Jackson to become the team’s starting quarterback. Jackson provided the team with an immediate spark, and Baltimore has only lost one game since he took over, which was to the Chiefs by three points.

That being said, Jackson was gifted an incredibly easy schedule of opponent defenses. His first five starts came against the Bengals, Raiders, Falcons, Chiefs, and Buccaneers, arguably the five worst defenses in the NFL. While they did look impressive against the Chargers in their one game against a real defense last week, the offense didn’t do much and the game was won on the back of the defense.

They only mustered 20 points against the lowly Buccaneers defense, and aren’t built for shootouts. They’ll be going up against a pretty solid Cleveland run defense, and if the ground game isn’t humming they’ll be in major trouble. The Ravens’ defense is playing like the best unit in the league, but they’re relying heavily on getting instant pressure like they did against the Chargers. The Browns’ offensive line has been doing the best job of any team in the league recently, and has barely allowed Mayfield to get touched the last couple months. In fact, Mayfield has only been sacked three times in the past six games, and if the Ravens can’t get consistent pressure, they might get exposed here.

The Pick

I like the Browns a lot here. This line has been inflated due to the supposed motivation edge for the Ravens here, but that’s not a real issue. The Browns, as shocking as it is to say, currently have one of the strongest cultures and locker rooms of any team in the league, and will be going all out here. Sharp money has already bet this line down from 6 and 6.5 to 5.5, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it drops any further. There’s definite value on the dog here, as the Ravens’ strength (their pass rush), is going up against the Browns’ biggest strength right now (pass protection). The Browns will cover this number, and there could be some value on a moneyline play as well.

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