There will be a clash between two AFC North clubs in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. This game should be relatively close as these teams know each other very well and split their games last year.
The Ravens were able to go 14-2 this past season and secure themselves a first-round bye in the postseason. Unfortunately for their hopes, they were upset in the Divisional Round by the Tennessee Titans. On the other side, the Cleveland Browns were hyped up to be a conference powerhouse last offseason. That did not come close to true as they missed the postseason entirely with a disappointing 6-10 record. However, one of their six wins was in Baltimore when they steamrolled the Ravens 40-25.
The NFL odds show that the Ravens are 8-point favorites over the Browns. Which side is the best bet for this contest?
Cleveland Browns Offense
The Browns started their offseason by firing head coach Freddie Kitchens and hiring away Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. They also picked up tight end Austin Hooper from the Atlanta Falcons. If quarterback Baker Mayfield (+4000 odds to win NFL MVP) is able to develop further and gain some chemistry with his receivers, this offense has the potential to be scary-good.
Cleveland Browns Defense
Defense has been less of a concern for the Cleveland Browns. They have been slowly getting better as the years go by and have been building behind star defensive lineman Myles Garrett. This defense mailed it in to end the 2019 campaign but they have plenty of talent to perform better. Maybe if Garrett can refrain from belting opposing quarterbacks in the head with their own steel helmet, they just might do that.
Baltimore Ravens Offense
The Baltimore Ravens have established the perfect system to go around their franchise quarterback and MVP Lamar Jackson (+500 odds to win NFL MVP). They scored a league-high 33.2 points per game last season while leading the league in yards-per-game too (407.6). They have a great set of running backs, a terrific offensive line and a very solid receiving core to complement Jackson.
Baltimore Ravens Defense
Defense is where the Baltimore Ravens fly under the radar. They had the third-ranked defense in terms of points allowed and have some very solid players on that side of the ball. Stars like Earl Thomas and Marcus Peters anchor one of the better secondaries in the NFL.
Browns vs. Ravens Over Under Trends
The under has been cashing of late for the Ravens as is 4-1 in their last games as the favorite. That’s likely because they see a lot of inflated totals. However, the over is 6-2 in the Ravens past eight games against the AFC North.
As for the Browns, the under is 8-2 in the Cleveland Browns last 10 games as the underdog. It’s also 5-2 in the past seven games between these two teams.
The Browns are currently 7-3 ATS in the past 10 matchups against the Ravens.
BetUS Free Pick: Over 48½
The Ravens, who are among the favorites, according to the Super Bowl Odds, have the all-around better team, both on offense, defense and even special teams. However, the Browns do still have a good bit of talent on their roster and know their division rivals well.
If the Browns want any chance of keeping up with Jackson and the Ravens offense, it will require a stellar performance from Mayfield. It feels like the defenses are the weaker sides on both teams, so look for the offenses to have a good day. The Ravens scored 31 and 25 points in the two meetings last year, so if the Browns do their part, the over should hit.