Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns Odds, Analysis, NFL Betting Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Jason Behnken/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns don't usually give their home fans much to cheer about, going 5-22-1 straight up over their last 28 home games.

The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, are just 1-8 SU over their last nine road games.

Who's the smarter bet for Sunday afternoon's inter-conference bout in Cleveland?


NFL point spread: The Panthers opened as 2.5-point favorites; the total was 44.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 27.7-24.8 Browns (NFL picks on every game)

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Why the Panthers can cover the spread

The Panthers won three games in a row into November but now seek to halt a four-game losing skid after falling at Tampa Bay last week 24-17.

Carolina went down to the Buccaneers 10-0 in the first quarter, pulled to within one score three times after that but came up empty on two late drives that reached midfield.

The Panthers owned a 27-18 advantage in first downs, outgained Tampa 444-315 and outrushed the Bucs 168-95. But they also lost the turnover battle 4-1, resulting in a minus-13 points differential.

Carolina has actually now outgained seven of its last eight opponents and outrushed seven of its last 10 foes. Unfortunately, it's also minus-seven in turnover margin over its last four games.

Nonetheless, at 6-6 overall, the Panthers only trail Minnesota by a half-game in the battle for the second NFC wild-card spot.


Why the Browns can cover the spread

The Browns won two games in a row to close out November but now hope to bounce back from a 29-13 loss at a hot Houston last week.

Cleveland fell down to the Texans 10-0 in the first quarter, trailed 23-0 at the half and never challenged from there in a surprisingly lackluster defeat.

The Browns actually produced 428 yards of total offense. But they also lost the turnover battle 4-0, resulting in a minus-16 points differential.

Cleveland is now 2-2 both SU and ATS since making the change at head coach, and that's not all that bad considering where it was coming from. At 4-7-1 overall, the Browns are trying to build toward a brighter future.


Smart betting pick

Carolina is playing on the road for the fourth time in the last five weeks. Also, the Panthers are banged-up, especially on offense. They are now without tight end Greg Olsen for the rest of the season and possibly without Cam Newton this week.

Meanwhile, Cleveland is capable of a bounce-back effort. The smart money here bets the Browns.


NFL betting trends

The total has gone under in three of the Panthers' last four games versus the Browns.

The total has gone under in 14 of the Browns' last 18 games at home.

The Panthers are 1-8 SU and 2-7 ATS in their last nine games on the road.


All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.


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