NFL nut Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) is on Thursday night NFL duty for us. Here’s his take on Cleveland’s trip to Baltimore.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens | Friday 01:25 | Sky Sports 1
The 4-4 Baltimore Ravens host the still winless after nine games Cleveland Browns. A fairly straightforward game is what most will see this as and in most respects it would be hard to disagree. An expected win is not always the most betting friendly heat though.
Lines are set, as in most sports, to tempt the unwary in. Baltimore will be nine or 10 point favourites in most books but a lot of blowout victories will see the losing team piling on late, unwanted, unimportant scores. Garbage time scores as most of us know can kill what seems an obvious winning bet.
Personally, I stay away from these high lines. They can look incredibly low after the event as on Sunday when seven-point favourites Dallas simply blew the Browns away. But my experience is that they can also frustrate in equal measure.
Cleveland in the brown
Many will still be keen to be involved. After all, along with San Francisco, Cleveland has as bad a team as the NFL has seen in many years.
The Browns also have their plus points though; Terrelle Pryor is a 223lb, 6’4” monster capable of outplaying any corner in the game – 46 catches for 579 yards is respectable and would be double with a decent quarterback – Cleveland just can’t find one.
Baltimore are not exactly explosive under Joe Flacco. It is on the defensive side of the ball that they excel – ranking ninth in points allowed and second in total yards, rushing yards allowed and this unit held Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown et al to just 14 points on Sunday.
Ravens to dominate
There are one or two lines that look viable here. I like the Ravens to dominate and in an offence that does not like to throw the ball much, I am going to concentrate on the ground game. Cleveland ranks 31 of 32 in the league for yards allowed on the ground surrendering an awful 146.4 yards per-game.
Terrance West averages 55 yards per-game for Baltimore and that is where BetVictor have set his line. The Ravens have given him the ball 13 times per game and against as bad an offence as Cleveland that number could be significantly higher here.
Baltimore should see a lot of the ball in this game. I like the yardage bet but I also have to take into account that of 24 rushing plays on Sunday, West saw the ball 15 times.
Two selections stand-out
With doubts still over the fitness of Flacco and a chance that the Ravens could have this won early and look to play the clock I am taking a chance on both running backs covering their lines for Baltimore with Kenneth Dixon 5/6 (Paddy Power) to cover 24 yards or more.
The total for the two of them is nearly half what Cleveland gives up on a weekly basis.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens – Terrance West over 55.5 Rushing Yards (10/11 BetVictor)
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens – Kenneth Dixon over 23.5 Rushing Yards (5/6 Paddy Power)