Thursday Night NFL Pick: Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns
Date/Time: October 2, 2013 8:25 pm EST
Television: NFL Network
NFL Gambling Odds from 5Dimes
NFL Betting Favorite: Browns -4.5
The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns will meet Thursday night in a matchup of two teams who have outperformed expectations to this point in the season. Both of these teams were expected to be at or near the bottom of the league. Both of them come into this game at 2-2, and both come into this contest off an impressive win at home last weekend.
Buffalo has a rookie quarterback under center, and the defense has been much maligned over the past few years, but the team has been very competitive this year. They nearly took down the Patriots in game one, and they have managed to win two of their last three. Last week’s win at home against the Baltimore Ravens was an impressive win for the Bills. Buffalo has gotten pretty good play out of rookie E.J. Manuel, and Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have done a great job as a tailback tandem for the team. The Bills are second in the NFL in rushing yards so far this season. Buffalo is averaging 350 yards and 22 points per game.
The Bills defense ranks 27th in the league in total defense, but they are giving up just 23.2 points per game. The defense has done a good job of bending without breaking so far this season. Kiko Alonso already has four interceptions in just four games. As a team, the Bills already have nine interceptions. Manny Lawson leads the team with 21 tackles. Buffalo has played three of their four games so far at home. They lost their only road game in New York against the Jets.
Cleveland looked terrible in losses against Miami and Baltimore in the first two weeks. Brandon Weeden went down with an injury and the team turned to Brian Hoyer before week three. No one expected much of anything from him, but he has been a very pleasant surprise at the quarterback position. The Browns shocked the Vikings on the road, and then came home and dominated the Cincinnati Bengals 17-6 last weekend. Hoyer has thrown for 590 yards in his first two starts. Jordan Cameron is quickly becoming the team’s top pass catcher. Cameron has 360 yards receiving and five touchdowns this season. Willis McGahee is the Browns new running back now that the team traded away Trent Richardson.
The Browns defense doesn’t get as much credit as they deserve. Cleveland’s defense ranks third in the NFL in total defense. Joe Haden is one of the NFL’s best cover corners, and he has done a great job locking down top receivers already this year. The Browns went out and improved their front seven in the offseason. Cleveland is fourth in the league against the run so far this year. This defense is sneaky good.
Free Pick: Under 41.5
The Browns defense is very solid, and the Bills offense is a little too one-dimensional right now. I don’t see value in the spread here, so the best value here is the under.
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