The (6-2) Buffalo Bills will head to FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday to take on the Cleveland Browns (2-6). The Browns have managed to be favorites over the Bills in this one despite the disparity between their respective records.
Part of the Bills’ early success, however, has been attributed to their easy schedule so far. The teams they’ve beaten this season have a combined record of 9-42, so there’s likely something to that. The Bills have also played stout defense this season, and that could provide some problems for Baker Mayfield, who has thrown 12 interceptions on the season. So who has the edge in this one? Here’s a game breakdown followed by betting lines and prediction:
One of the game’s biggest storylines will be the return of Kareem Hunt after serving an eight-game suspension for off-field physical altercations. The Bills have the league’s third best defense, and the Browns are going to have to fully utilize both Nick Chubb and Hunt if they want to win this one.
Second-year quarterback Mayfield will also need to curb his turnovers against a defense that will be coming after him all game. The Bills have 20 sacks on the season, while Mayfield has been sacked 23 times while leading an offense that’s putting up just 19 points a game.
Much of how the Bills perform in this game will rest on their second-year quarterback Josh Allen. Allen has thrown 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. Allen also has four rushing touchdowns on the season, and if he can play mistake-free ball while netting some elusive runs for his offense, he could keep the Bills in this game.
Allen will likely rely on his talented duo of running backs in veteran Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary. The Browns are surrendering over 141 yards on the ground per game to their opponents, so the Bills backfield could have a solid day.
The strength of this Bills team has been its defense. They should come to play, but the new duo of Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb will be difficult to contain.
Trends, Pick & Prediction
Spread: Bills +3
Odds Shark has the Browns winning by a projected score of 21-19, with the Browns winning, the Bills covering the spread, and the total going over 40.5 points.
Here are some relevant trends surrounding the game courtesy of Odds Shark:
* Buffalo is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games.
* The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Buffalo’s last 8 games.
* The Bills are 7-2 SU in their last 9 games.
* Buffalo is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Cleveland.
* The Browns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.
* The Browns are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games.
* The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cleveland’s last 6 games against Buffalo.
* Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games at home.
We’re with Odds Shark on this one, with one exception–we think the Browns will win and cover. They’ll be playing at home, where they’re 0-3 this season–and it just feels like they’re due for a win in front of the Dawg Pound.
Final prediction: Browns 27, Bills 21