NFL Divisional Playoff Betting: Latest Chiefs vs. Browns Game Analysis, Odds and Picks
The Cleveland Browns have gotten past one playoff hurdle. Can they leap over perhaps the biggest one of the bunch? That’s the assignment as they face possible MVP Patrick, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.
Game time is 3:05 PM ET on Sunday, and at BetOnline, they’ve got an awful lot of props waiting for you to wager on in this game.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cleveland Brown Divisional Odds
|Browns||+10 (-110)||57 (-112)||+387|
|Chiefs||-10 (-110)||57 (-108)||-505|
Browns getting that “analytics” edge again
The Browns have been through an interesting recent history. And we say that in the way of understatement.
At one point they had become very immersed in the ways of analytics. And toward that end they hired Paul DePodesta, who had made his name in the world of baseball. DePodesta, who worked for a number of baseball teams, was portrayed as “Peter Brand” in the movie “Moneyball.”
Along with Sashi Brown, who was club president, they started using analytics in the way of player procurement. And stockpiling draft picks, it was a long-range plan, much like was undertaken by the Houston Astros, and yes, everybody laughed.
And along the way the team went 0-16 with coach Hue Jackson, who wasn’t really a “believer.’ Brown and others were nudged out the door and an “old school” exec, John Dorsey, was hired as GM. Dorsey brought other old school colleagues. And while it looked like the team was ready to move forward with the personnel it had gathered, backward steps were taken, including the hiring of Freddie Kitchens as head coach. Long story short – Dorsey was fired, along with his colleagues, and it was back to “new school” approaches. That meant Andrew Berry, who had been with the team and left, was back as GM. And DePodesta, who never left, was given a more substantial role.
And Kevin Stefanski, the first-year head coach, is very “hip” to analytics. This includes some guidelines with which to make in-game decisions. There is little doubt that came in handy last week when Stefanski was sidelined with COVID-19. Alex Van Pelt was able to come in and seamlessly call the offense in his absence.
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Browns “overcame adversity” to beat Steelers
It didn’t hurt that they got five turnovers from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, allowing them to get off to a quick 28-0 lead. It was pretty much “ballgame” after that, especially when Pittsburgh decided to punt on fourth down instead of going for it, which may have helped them take some momentum away.
Fundamentally, you have to respect what the Browns did. Without their head coach, they made it through their first playoff game as a group. They were missing Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and safety Denzel Ward. And it was if none of that had happened.
Now both Bitonio and Ward are back in the lineup after their bout with COVID-19. And the coaching staff is fully intact again.
How can the Browns stay in the game?
What’s important to remember about the Browns is the fact that they have something that could neutralize the Chiefs’ advantage over them – a ground game.They are third-best in the NFL in rushing, and they can always have a fresh back in the game. Nick Chubb is one of the true elite backs, and he’s joined by Kareem Hunt, who will be facing his former team for the first time in a playoff game. When Hunt was suspended by the NFL for an assault incident a couple of years ago, the Chiefs gave him the quick hook, despite the fact that he had led the league in rushing as a rookie. But if the Browns can control the ball on the ground, they’ll reduce the number of possessions, which is always a good thing if you are a double-digit favorite.
And if they can do that, it means less pressure on quarterback Baker Mayfield. The former Heisman Trophy winner has functioned in such a way that demonstrates a lot of maturity, as he has minimized mistakes and allowed for that ground game to become the prominent feature. In the last ten games, Mayfield has thrown ONE interception.
Is Cleveland on the uptick? We’d have to say so. And that is why, although they may not pull the upset, they can make this close. The Chiefs have a 14-2 record, but they have missed covering in seven of their last eight games.
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