Cleveland Browns welcome the Houston Texans to the FirstEnergy Stadium this Sunday, for an AFC South versus North match-up. The Browns have a decent 5-3 record this season, but lost in the last outing to the Las Vegas Raiders. Houston’s confidence will be high, as they beat their rivals the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend. Both teams are in third place in their respective divisions and will be chasing victory to boost their play-off hopes. Read on to see where we think the best betting value can be found for this NFL clash.
It’s a Must-Win for the Browns
This game could be a season-defining clash for the Cleveland Browns. Despite their 5-3 record, they sit in third place in the AFC North behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, who have a 6-2 record. Kevin Stefanski’s Browns therefore really need a win to keep their chances of making the post-season alive. Their hopes have been boosted this week by the news that star quarterback Baker Mayfield has returned to the team after being placed on the Covd IR list recently. So far this season, 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,514 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. As well as Mayfield’s passing game, the Browns have plenty of strength on their rushing offense too. They are a top 10 team in the NFL for rushing attempts and yards, and Kareem Hunt has contributed 529 rushing yards, which is 10th in the NFL.
The Texans have two wins this season – both against Jacksonville, and will be looking to improve this Sunday. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is really their only offensive strength in what has been a tough season for the Texans. Despite his team’s struggles on offense, Watson has still managed to average 280 yards and two passing touchdowns per game. Both of those stats put him in the top 10 in the NFL. Their defense is poor, but Zach Cunningham and J.J Watt offer some hope in that area. Cunningham has 78 tackles to his name – seventh in the NFL – while Watt has four sacks to his credit. Houston will need big games from both men this Sunday.
Our Pick: Browns to win by 7-12
We expect Cleveland to keep their play-off hopes alive with a win this weekend. Our betting pick is that the Browns will triumph by seven to 12 points, with Mayfield’s return to the roster proving key to the outcome. Their strong running game should mean that they have options to score sufficient points even if Mayfield is a little rusty after his time away. The Texans just do not look strong enough on either offense or defense right now to dent the Browns, who will be looking to keep their play-off challenge alive.
Our pick: Browns to win by 7-12 @ +430 with 888Sport