Totally Covered – Week 5: Browns at Ravens

The Browns travel into Baltimore looking to snap a seven-game road losing streak against the Ravens. Here’s how we’re playing this game.

Cleveland has one win this year against Tennessee and they’ve come close the past two weeks vs. the AFC West but just couldn’t get the job done. Baltimore’s offense looks more like a tryout camp but home field and Joe Flacco under center, the books still seem content favoring them by up to a touchdown. Current NFL odds at Sports Interaction are Ravens -7 and O/U 42.5.

The Browns have allowed 27-plus points per game (PPG) in three of four games this season. Every opponent they’ve faced has scored against Cleveland in the third AND fourth quarters. The Browns have allowed 14.5 second-half PPG so far (4th most) and 17 points in road games. Last season, the Browns only gave up 10.3 second-half PPG.

Baltimore is 13-3 SU at home against Cleveland all-time and they’ve won seven-straight SU but the Browns have covered in four of the past five. Six of the past seven between these two at M&T Bank Stadium stayed under (4-straight) and the Browns haven’t scored more than 17 at this venue since a 33-30 OT win in 2007.

The Ravens have scored 20-plus at home against the Browns 10 of the past 12 times and although they played under in all three divisional home games last year, their first game this season against the Bengals was a 28-24 loss with a wild finish.

Baltimore has faced a tough schedule but they’ve had a chance to win every game. Ironically, their lone victory was a lucky one and with Ben in that lineup, I don’t think it would have been close. Josh McCown is 0-for-2 in road starts this season but he looked alright in San Diego and has now thrown for 300-plus yards with two TDs in back-to-back starts.

Cleveland is 23-13 ATS as a dog off a road dog loss and since the start of 2013, they are 6-1 ATS in this spot (9-2 ATS past 11). The Browns are ready to spoil the party against this rival and when getting points against the North, Cleveland is 17-6 ATS when they have a non-divisional game on-deck.

Baltimore has back-to-back road games on-deck at San Fran and Arizona and then they host the Chargers, who came in and upset them here last year 34-33. Baltimore badly needs to win this game and big home faves off a Thursday game are riding a 20-7 ATS hot streak but this line just seems too steep, given the relative inexperience of so many key personnel.

Steve Smith (back) is out, Crockett Gillmore is hurt, Breshad Perriman (knee) hasn’t started the season yet and WR Mike Campanaro was lost for the season at Pittsburgh. That means that Flacco will be spreading the ball between guys like Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens and Jeremy Ross. Baltimore will lean on its run game but they’ll also have Flacco spreading the ball to all these new targets. They need to get some touches and find a rhythm.

They’ve done a good job on this line, side and total, but a lot of my data shows value on the dog and the “Over” in a teaser. On that note, this week’s first TC Tip is on a two-team, 6.5-point teaser:

Take Cleveland +13 to the Browns-Ravens OVER 36 points (-110)

Flat bettors, I’ve also booked a play on the Cards at Lions OVER 44.5. Details later in the Week 5, NFL Trends with Benefits feature.

Totally Covered is written by Jarvis Simes, lead handicapper at Pick Sixty Sports. Follow us on Twitter for more NFL picks, winning systems and Best Bets throughout the season!

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