NFL Betting Preview Week 1: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia

September 7, 2016 •

This game is definitely not going to be a match up of the titans. The Browns and Eagles are both going to be bad football teams this year and no one expects otherwise for 2016. They play each other in Week 1 but it makes for a fun Sunday afternoon, and some really fun and unpredictable betting that makes NFL Sunday the best day of the week!

Some reasons this seemingly terrible game just might be the most interesting one of the NFL’s Week 1 lineup has to do with the fact that RG3 is back! And luckily he’ll get the chance to throw to Terrelle Pryor! Many fans have to admit it, we’ve missed him and his dramatic style of play. Fans haven’t seen Robert Griffin III play a real NFL game since 2014. And so no one really knows what to expect and what he is capable of.

Two years is a lifetime in professional football. He could still have that nervous play and scacred look in his eye of “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-in-the-pocket”, which is exactly the type of quarterback he was in his last few years in Washington. Or he might be back in form and he could be that player fans saw in 2012 and for brilliant flashes during the preseason where he dominated the air game.

Griffin could end up looking a lot better if Terrelle Pryor continues to make outstanding plays like he made in the preseason in August. The two were able to hook up for a couple of amazing plays last month, and the former Ohio State quarterback has had nothing but good things to say about RG3. Hopefully that chemistry can carry over to the regular season and they can find some success.

For the Eagles, Carson Wentz is going to start. For Philly it’s been about going from one second-overall pick to another, but now Wentz has officially been named the starter for the game in Cleveland, which means fans won’t have to watch their $21 million player, Chase Daniel, fumble the ball or make horrific throws.

Wentz was really off the mark in his only preseason appearance, but in reality he wasn’t given a lot of support from the Eagles’ backup offensive line and receivers. He did look more comfortable in the pocket than most expected, but it’s not like a crazy defensive team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were throwing really complicated blitzes at him. So he should look out for strange looks from Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who is known for aggressive play-making.

In a strange twist, the Browns own the Eagles first-round pick, so that might provide for some drama. You could probably bet on how many times the announcers will mention the trade! It’s such a big deal. For Cleveland it’s really a win-win. If they lose they improve their own draft pick; or they win, and improve the pick they get from Philly. The only worst-case scenario is if it’s a tie.

Browns fans will also get the chance to see who they missed out on by trading away the pick the Eagles used to take Wentz. If he really takes off, there will be a lot of criticism for the Browns. But if he struggles, which is what many expect rookie quarterbacks to do, there will be just as many critiques of the Eagles. The Buccaneers and Titans had a similar affair in their Week 1 match up in the “Winston v. Mariota” game last season.

So the bet is that at least the game will be entertaining when Cleveland has the ball. Since, when you look at the both teams and combine the Eagles defense with the Browns offense, you’d have one really good NFL team. So you know it should be a high scoring game, unless both teams can’t convert in the red zone. Both should finish somewhere just above league average this season, so, technically, one half of the game should have some good football.

Both sides are also trying out and debuting new systems. Hue Jackson is shifting over his offense from Cincinnati, where he made Andy Dalton look like an MVP candidate last year. And Jim Schwartz takes over as Eagles defensive coordinator, a position he’s has a lot of success in.

Plus it’s always fun to watch a train wreck, and that’s how it should be when Philadelphia has the ball. The Eagles have no running game, they have receivers who can’t get open or catch the ball and to boot, they have a rookie QB from. But despite all of that, Philadelphia can put up points so it depends how bad Cleveland’s defense will be in 2016. This really could be a classic matchup of the league’s worst offense against its worst defense.

So the smart pick would be…

With both teams going under significant change during the off-season, there are plenty of question marks hanging over this Week 1 matchup. Butterflies could get the best of Wentz’ effectiveness in the early going, but with the Browns still trying hard to find success on both sides of the ball, Philadelphia’s shoddy defense should provide Wentz plenty of opportunity to get comfortable in his new position and could end up rewarding him with a huge season opening win.

Our Pick: Browns over Eagles, 24-10