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‘Favorite’ is Not the Cleveland Browns’ Favorite Word

Posted on October 03, 2017 by Andrew Scott
DeShone Kizer has shown glimpses of potential greatness, but has also struggled at times during his first season in Cleveland.

DeShone Kizer has shown glimpses of potential greatness, but has also struggled at times during his first season in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns are, according to BetNow sportsbook, favored to defeat their current opponent for the second straight week, this time a one-point favorite to beat the New York Jets. Don’t tell the Browns this, though. The mantle of favoritism is one the Browns are so unaccustomed to, that it almost seems, like the Shirt of Nessus, to burn them alive, like it did Heracles. Let’s take for instance their Week 3 matchup with the Colts in Indianapolis; Cleveland was also a one-point favorite then, but not only lost 31-28 but obviously failed to cover the spread as well.

Things went, at least for a while, back to usual for the Browns, as they were deemed three-point home underdogs to the then-equally winless – though improving – Cincinnati Bengals, who then proceeded to score the most and allow the fewest point in their season thus far, as well as pick up their first win, 31-7. The phrase “the team to beat” gets, you know, thrown around a lot, but it’s usually in reference to teams that are actually good. The Browns have truly become the team to beat, but only, mind you, in the sense that whenever a winless team like the Colts or Bengals needs a quick pick-me-up, they can rely on Hue Jackson and his boys.

And speaking of the devil, Hue doesn’t “my record any more than you do or anybody does,” as he said, per ESPN, following the loss to Cincy. The Browns are, at 2-29, in a three-way tie for the worst record in NFL history over a 31-game period, of which Hue is responsible for a dismal 1-19. “It is horrible,” said Jackson. “And I will be the first to tell you that.” Hue being the first of anything? Not very likely. As a matter of fact, John McKay had a worse first 20 games, going 0-26 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976-77. But back to the business at hand, the Browns’ against-the-spread record isn’t all that great either. Cleveland is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in October and 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall.

It would appear as if the one thing the Browns can be counted on, other than an easy win, is for the total to go under, as it has in eight of Cleveland’s last 11 games, as well as their last five games at home. Speaking of which, home field advantage, though not reaching Los Angeles Chargers-lows, is almost anything but for the Browns. Cleveland is 1-4 both straight-up and against the spread the last five times that they have been home faves since 2014. The Browns are so bad that Pacman Jones of all people is knocking on them, saying that “it’s going to be hard to win with that group. I don’t know if Hue has enough to win.” when the guys whose claim to fame is “making it rain” rips on you, you know you’re in a bad way.

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