Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM
SNF - Rams at Browns
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NFL Week 3 Sunday Night Football Betting Preview
Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns (NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET)
As long as you had the 'under' in your teasers on SNF last week, the suggestion to look toward a teaser for that game paid off in that regard. It was a tough SNF game to say the least, and with the amount of injuries the Eagles fell victim early on in that game, it was always going to be hard for any teasers with the 'over' to get there. It's on to Week 3's Sunday Showcase game though, and from a betting perspective, it's a game I like a lot more than last week's SNF contest.
This week it's the second consecutive week that we see the Cleveland Browns under the primetime lights, as expectations both inside and outside that looker room are still sky high. The Browns were forced to eat a huge helping of humble pie in their Week 1 blowout loss (43-13) at home to the Titans, and then followed that up with the “gift” of playing a New York Jets team that had their 3rd string QB play the majority of the game. You can only play who's in front of you on your schedule though, and Cleveland showed they are capable of doing what is expected with that convincing win in New York.
On the other side of the field we've got a Rams team who is 2-0 SU and ATS this year after they benefited from facing a squad with QB injury issues, knocking off the Saints in the NFC Championship rematch 27-9, taking full advantages of the breaks they were given as well. Saints QB Drew Brees was forced to leave the game with a hand injury, and the Saints had a defensive TD called back in a key spot that could have flipped momentum at the time, but just like Cleveland, the Rams took full advantage of the situation in front of them and ended up in the win column because of it.
So will the LA Rams remain perfect in 2019? Or will the Cleveland Browns continue to show the NFL world that it wasn't just all talk and hype in regards to their upward trajectory in 2019.
In terms of how this line has been viewed throughout the week, after an initial surge of LA Rams money at the opener of -2.5, this line has stayed relatively stagnant at the -3 on LA that it currently sits at. Whether or not that early surge of Rams support was strictly a numbers play with -2.5 being below that key number of -3 is something that has to be considered, as it just could have been a case of betting a good number on the Rams and then sit back the rest of the week to see how things end up shaking out. No real conclusions can be drawn from that action, and chances are all that changes up until kickoff on Sunday night will be the level of juice on either side of this -3 spread.
The total is something that's seen much more significant action throughout the week though, as the opener of 50.5 has seen a steady stream of 'under' support to push the number down to 47.5 where it sits currently as of Friday afternoon. Given that both teams easily cashed 'under' tickets a week ago thanks to neither of them allowing a single TD against, and the fact that NFL primetime games are now 1-7 O/U (Over-Under) on the season with an average point total of 34.75 points after last night's Jacksonville win, 'under' action was always going to rush out of the gate for this game. Even the lone 'over' to hit in primetime – Texans/Saints in Week 1 – needed 13 points in about the final minute to just sail 'over' the total, as the bright lights of night time football appear to be burning out every offense that sits underneath them.
A full three-point drop is quite significant and almost assuredly see some resistance and/or buy back on the 'over' by the time kickoff arrives, so depending on what side you are interested with on this total, you may want to act accordingly. The line probably has bottomed out now at 47.5 so 'over' bettors should get in sooner rather then later, and those not already on the 'under' can just wait and hope that this line does do some climbing upward again.
I touched on the movement there has been on the side in this game earlier, but what's most interesting to me currently about this spread is the notion that when you see the betting percentages offered at VegasInsider.com currently, we've got 75%+ support coming LA's way. Considering the majority of the market bought into the whole revenge motif last week with the Saints against the Rams, it appears as though LA's performance in that game seems to have flipped a lot of viewpoints about them right now.
At the same time, the overblown hype surrounding Cleveland's prospects this year that got blown up in Week 1, has now subsided with the narrative that they got 'handed' the win in New York last week with all the Jets injuries, and the Jets just being an overall sub-par squad. Put the Browns up against a “real” contender now and now nobody wants to back them as the hype train that was full at the beginning of the season in Cleveland is only left with the most loyal supporters. Narratives like that seem to go a long way in market reaction/beliefs in the NFL, but let me ask you this, couldn't you argue that the Rams were 'handed' their win over the Saints thanks to Drew Brees going down?
There is always two sides to every narrative like that, and really it's about acknowledging both of them and either dismissing them entirely or figuring out which one you believe has more credibility. Given that the Rams also find themselves in recent historical 'money burning' spot this week, I believe you'd have to be more inclined to take the Browns in this home dog spot.
Where this total ends up is highly intriguing as you've got to figure that based on sheer chance we will get a high scoring primetime game sooner rather then later. With both defenses coming off a game where they did not allow a single TD and no more then nine points, there is a strong case for the notion that some regression for both sides is coming on that side of the ball for both teams here. It's not like we don't have two offenses that are loaded with playmakers at every position, and the Rams are on a 7-3 O/U run as an organization after allowing 14 or fewer points last time out, while Cleveland's 6-2-1 O/U after their last nine wins.
But it's a side play on Cleveland that I believe has a better shot at getting us to the payout window, as the Browns have this opportunity to really fan the flames of the fire that was started in the spring/summer about their 2019 prospects. At home, against the defending NFC Champions is one of those situational spots where the Browns can really announce that there was plenty of truth in the preseason hype about Cleveland being a contender this year. With the aggressive, some would say cocky, attitude that permeates through that Browns locker room, Cleveland won't shy away from taking their shots in this game and hopefully making the most of them, and dealing with a less than 100% Aaron Donald on that Rams DL doesn't exactly hurt Cleveland's cause either.
And while the 1-7 O/U record in NFL primetime games may be the talking point that has gotten more airtime this week, NFL underdogs under the lights are now 6-2 ATS with five outright wins. I'm expecting the Cleveland Browns to add to both of those tallies on SNF.
Best Bet: Cleveland +3