The Cleveland Browns are coming off one of their biggest wins in recent memory and will try to follow that up with a home victory against the unbeaten Denver Broncos. The Browns are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as underdogs but have lost the last four meetings with the Broncos straight up and against the spread.
Point spread: The Broncos opened as 3.5-point favorites; the total was 42 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (view line updates and matchup report here).
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 22.3-19.0 Broncos
Why the Broncos can cover the spread
Denver might be the most unimpressive undefeated team left, but that does not mean the Broncos are not capable of turning in a great performance when needed. While four of their five wins have been decided by seven points or less, they have gone 4-1 against the spread behind one of the NFL’s top defenses, which should be able to limit Cleveland’s offense.
Browns quarterback Josh McCown enjoyed the best day of his career last week in a 33-30 overtime victory at the Baltimore Ravens, throwing for 457 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. However, he will be facing a much better defense here, one that not only pressures the passer but also has a good secondary.
Why the Browns can cover the spread
Cleveland showed a lot of character last Sunday in rallying back to beat the Ravens, and the home fans should give the players a warm welcome when they take the field against Denver. While the Browns have not had much success when playing the Broncos over the years dating back to their AFC Championship Game losses in the 1980s, they seem to have some new confidence following back-to-back overtime games.
Both of those took place on the road and resulted in covers even though they lost the previous one to the San Diego Chargers 30-27 as five-point underdogs. The line on this matchup with Denver is also telling, as the road team would definitely be favored by a lot more if oddsmakers thought it was clearly a lot better.
Cleveland appears to be headed in the right direction and will be prepared to give the Broncos their biggest test to date. The Browns will cover and have a solid shot to hand Denver its first loss of the season in a game that could again be decided by a field goal.
The Broncos are 4-0 straight up and against the spread in their last four games against the Browns.
The Broncos are 7-0 straight up and 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games as favorites in October.
The Browns are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as underdogs.