Cleveland at Tennessee Lines & Expert Pick
The Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns finished tied for the NFL’s worst record in 2015, which gave them the top two picks in the 2016 draft. Except neither team used that pick, with the Titans trading out of No. 1 with the Rams and the Browns sending the No. 2 to Philadelphia. Neither team is very good right now but both are building for the future. They meet in a rather ugly matchup in Week 6 with the Titans as rare favorites in NFL lines.
Here’s a Quick Look at the Cleveland at Tennessee Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info
When: Sunday, Oct. 16, 1 PM ET
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville
Radio: Cleveland / Tennessee
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Titans -7.5 (44)
Why Bet on Cleveland?
The Browns (0-5) are the NFL’s only winless team. They lost last week 33-13 home to New England. Cleveland has dropped seven straight and 14 of 15 going back to last season, and Browns coach Hue Jackson is running out of quarterbacks after rookie Cody Kessler was knocked out in the first half with rib and chest injuries. Quarterback-turned- wide receiver Terrelle Pryor took two snaps before veteran Charlie Whitehurst replaced him, becoming the fifth quarterback to play for Cleveland in five games. The Patriots held the NFL’s top rushing team to 27 yards on 22 carries.
It’s not clear who will start at QB in this game, but it won’t be Whitehurst after he was cut. Kessler will practice this week with bruised ribs on his left side with the intention of playing against the Titans. Veteran Josh McCown also will practice for the first time since fracturing his collarbone Sept. 18 against Baltimore. Like Kessler, McCown said he was practicing with the intention of playing.
Browns left guard Joel Bitonio suffered a mid-foot sprain Week 5 against the Patriots and is out indefinitely. Bitonio is Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 overall guard and an elite pass and run blocker. It’s an especially big loss for Isaiah Crowell and the running game. Bitonio and tackle Joe Thomas formed one of the better left-side tandems in the league.
Cleveland’s 0-5 start under Jackson is actually the worst under a new head coach since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999 under Chris Palmer.
“We are a pro team,” Jackson said. “Our job and our mission is to go out and win every game and to work every week to get better. That’s my job to motivate these guys, along with our staff, to get them to buy into what we’re trying to sell. We understand we are a young team, but we are going to work at it every day to continue to get better.”
Why Bet on Tennessee?
The Titans (2-3) upset Miami 30-17 in south Florida last week — both their wins are on the road. Marcus Mariota threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score. He bounced back with a strong game after totaling three interceptions and no TD passes in losses the previous two weeks. He went 20 for 29 for 163 yards with no interceptions, and ran seven times for 60 yards. His numbers through the air produced a 117.5 passer rating, Mariota’s best this season by nearly 15 points.
“For me, it’s important to get one of those under your belt, where you’re not turning the ball over, you’re not putting the defense in bad situations," Mariota said. “For me, it was important. All in all, I felt the guys did a great job taking care of the football.”
In the history of the NFL, Mariota is the second quarterback to have four four-touchdown performances in his first 17 career games. The first was New York Giants quarterback Charlie Conerly from 1948–1949. There are only three other players in league history with three such performances in their first 17 career games: Daunte Culpepper, Fran Tarkenton and Johnny Unitas.
Mariota at home in his career: 11 TDs, 12 picks, 76.7 passer rating. Mariota on the road: 15 TDs, 3 picks, 100.6 rating. “I have no idea (why),” he said. DeMarco Murray added 121 yards rushing vs. Miami for the Titans, who totaled 235 on the ground. The team’s 235 rushing yards were the most by any NFL team in a game this season. The Titans rank second in the league in rushing, averaging 148.6 yards per contest and trailing only the Dallas Cowboys (155.2).
Murray’s 461 rushing yards rank second in the NFL (546 by Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas), as do his 633 scrimmage yards (695 by David Johnson, Arizona). Murray has five of the Titans’ 11 touchdowns. The Titans can get to .500 with a win, which is rare for this franchise in recent years. But the Titans have lost to Cleveland the last two seasons. Beyond that, they’ve lost to winless teams like Cleveland in the past. (Jaguars in 2013 and the Colts in 2011.)
My Expert Pick
Titans are 6-23- 1 ATS in their last 30 games following a ATS win.
Titans are 2-9- 2 ATS in their last 13 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
I won’t put an NFL bet on Cleveland often but take the points here. Titans win but close.