The Indianapolis Colts had a slip in the first game of the season against Jacksonville, but they have posted solid efforts since and now find themselves with a 3-1 record and in a position to fulfill the promise some people saw for them at the start of the campaign. The Cleveland Browns kind of fit the same category, which is what makes this AFC matchup intriguing.
It begins at 4:25 PM ET at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. And BetAnySports patrons can take advantage of reduced juice for better odds, and have the opportunity to place wagers in real time through Sports Betting Prime.
Through the first four games, the Colts’ defense is atop the league in a number of different categories, including yards allowed per drive, and punts forced per drive. They have allowed just 4.4 yards per play, which leads the NFL, Of course, one must consider the level of the opposition at the time they played them. There were a couple of dysfunctional offenses there. But we have to chalk it up as impressive nonetheless.
They have demonstrated the ability to make opponents one-dimensional. For instance, in beating Chicago 19-11 last weekend, they held the Bears to just 28 yards on 16 carries. It didn’t take a huge effort on the part of Philip Rivers (16-29, 190 yards) for the Colts to earn the win and the cover.
It might take a little more punch than that to get the job done this week.
In the pro football betting odds that have been posted on this game at BetAnySports, the Colts are laying points on the road:
Indianapolis Colts -1
Cleveland Browns +1
Over 47 points -110
Under 47 points -110
Baker Mayfield has averaged just 2.9 yards after catch per completion, which is last among all NFL starting quarterbacks. But there is still evidence that they are catching on to whatever new coach Kevin Stefanski is putting before them.
For example, this running game is very high-functioning. The Browns are the most run-heavy team in the National Football League – 53.5% of the time, in fact. And even after Nick Chubb had to leave with a knee injury, and Kareem Hunt was limited with a groin injury, D’Ernest Johnson still racked up 95 yards on the ground. In managing to hold off Dallas 49-38 (they were ahead 41-14 at one point), Cleveland rolled up 307 yards on the ground. Some of that came in the person of Odell Beckham, who had a 50-yards run on a reverse.
The Colts had to settle for four field goals in last week’s game, and that is part of their problem; they are 28th in the league in red zone conversions. If this persists, they are going to have to get a phenomenal effort out of their defense.
The Browns are 3-1 for the first time since 2001, although they have been outscored. They gave up 566 yards to the Cowboys. But they’ve gotten some big plays on the defensive side; Myles Garrett has had a strip sack in three straight games. And this team has more in the way of weapons than the other Indy opponents. Chubb won’t play because of his MCL, but Cleveland has the machinery to operate a running game.
We’re not completely convinced about Indy yet, so we are comfortable taking the home dog.
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