The Cleveland Browns try to bounce back from a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs when they play host to the Houston Texans on Sunday. Cleveland blew a fourth-quarter lead in losing to the defending AFC champion Chiefs in Week 1, while the Texans surprised many with a win in their opener, beating the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. Let’s take a closer look at this contest and the NFL odds that are available for it.
|Game: Houston Texans (1-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Location: FirstEnergy StadiumDate: Sunday, Sept. 19
Time: 1 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
This AFC rivalry has been a bit one-sided over the last few years, though Cleveland is coming off a 10-7 win over Houston in the 2020 season. That victory snapped a five-game losing streak against the Texans for the Browns.
Overall, Houston leads the series 7-4, having won seven of the last nine. Things have changed for both clubs since then, so it’s hard to put a lot of weight into these past results.
Next game: vs. Carolina
With Tyrod Taylor at the controls of the offense, the Texans had an easy time with the Jaguars in Week 1, coming away with a 37-21 victory at home. Taylor had 291 yards and two touchdowns as Houston jumped out to a 34-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Mark Ingram II was a solid contributor in the ground game, pacing the Texans with 85 yards and a touchdown. That kind of ball control will be needed against Cleveland to try to keep the Browns’ offense on the sideline as much as possible.
The Texans weren’t favored at home against the Jaguars, who lost their last 15 games of the 2020 campaign, but they won the game outright to start their 2021 season on the right note.
The Texans’ secondary could be a little short-handed on Sunday with cornerbacks Desmond King II and Lonnie Johnson Jr. both listed as questionable. The Browns like to go to the air, so Houston will need all hands on deck in the defensive backfield.
Tight end Pharaoh Brown is also listed as questionable with shoulder and ankle injuries after catching four balls for 67 yards in the season opener.
Next game: vs. Chicago
For much of their season opener against the Chiefs, Cleveland was in control, leading by 12 points at halftime and by nine points early in the fourth quarter. But Kansas City rallied for 13 points in the fourth quarter, then intercepted Baker Mayfield in the closing minutes to seal the 33-29 victory.
Mayfield finished with 321 yards, but his one interception cost the Browns a shot at the win. Nick Chubb powered the running game with 85 yards and two touchdowns, helping to take some pressure off Mayfield to do it all with the passing game.
The Browns did cover the 5½-point spread with the four-point loss, but they haven’t had a lot of luck against the spread at home of late. In its last five games at home, Cleveland has lost against the spread four times, including the three-point win over the Texans last season when the Browns were favored by 4½ points.
The Browns will be without star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. for the second straight game this weekend. Beckham is working his way back to the field after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 7 of the 2020 season.
Linebackers Mack Wilson and Anthony Walker and defensive tackle Tommy Togiai are all listed as questionable for the Week 2 contest.
Betting on the Game
As stated above, the Browns have had trouble against the spread at home lately, and they could have a little trouble against a veteran-laden Texans offense. Taylor and Brandin Cooks showed a connection in the season opener, with Cooks catching five passes for 132 yards.
Houston needs to keep this from being a shootout, but that might be easier said than done against a motivated Browns team that knows it can’t afford any losing streaks in the loaded AFC North race. Look for Cleveland to be aggressive coming out in front of the home crowd for the first time in a while.
Still, if the Texans can get their running game going, it might neutralize the Cleveland pass rush and allow Houston to eat up some clock to keep this one close.
This line has mostly stayed the same since opening at 13 points, though some people betting online could cause a slight shift by game time.
The moneyline on this one is a great disparity, as you might expect. If you are thinking of the Texans winning this straight up, it’s definitely worth hitting the sportsbook for this bet. Otherwise, it’s probably a stay away considering the odds it’s offering.
The Texans showed the ability to put points on the board last week, though it was against the Jaguars and at home. Still, the veteran savvy of Taylor can’t be overlooked, and he has some talent around him.
Cleveland doesn’t want to leave any doubt with this game, and as we said, we anticipate them being aggressive early on in this one. If Houston can get a couple of scores on the board, this one should go over the total.