Can the Browns Magic Keep Going Against the Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland Browns have been an enigma all season and we will see if that keeps going this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns won their first playoff game in 26 years last week with a surprising upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gaining a second postseason win will be much more difficult as Cleveland faces the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
Kansas City, which won 10 straight before sitting starters in a season finale loss to the Chargers, is a heavy 10-point favorite. The Chiefs, as good as they are, have a knack for not covering spreads. How will they fare as double-digit chalk on Sunday?
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Game: Cleveland Browns (12-5, 7-10 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 6-9-1 ATS)
When: 3:05 PM ET, Sunday, January 17, 2021
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Current Line: KC -10 Total: 57
TV Coverage: CBS
Kansas City led the NFL in passing offense, which is no surprise with reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes leading the offense. Mahomes has thrown for 4,740 yards and 37 touchdowns this season and the Chiefs were the sixth-highest scoring team (29.6 ppg) in the league.
Despite the Chiefs ability to score, you have to go back to November 1 to find a game that Kansas City won by more than six points. After beating the Jets 35-9 on Nov. 1, the Chiefs won seven straight games, but the largest margin of victory was six points.
Kansas City has struggled to cover a point spread over the latter half of the 2020 season. In fact, the Chiefs are 0-7-1 ATS in their last eight games. They also have not done well as a double-digit favorite recently. In the last five games that the Chiefs have been favored by at least 10 points, Kansas City is 1-4 ATS. That includes losing to the Raiders earlier in the season as a 10.5-point favorite.
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Cleveland has been equally hot winning seven of its last nine games, including two wins over its AFC North rival Pittsburgh. The thing about the Browns though is that they have covered the spread in three of their past four road games. They won two of those games – including last week at Pittsburgh 48-37 – outright.
The Browns are in an unfamiliar place and haven’t won two postseason games in the same season since 1950. Even so, they have the talent, especially offensively, to keep games close. The Browns offense has scored at least 41 points in three of its last six games.
Betting Sunday’s game really comes down to whether or not you believe the Browns can cover. The Total is an almost astronomical 57, but both teams could explode and each score in the 30s and at the same time this could be a 28-24 game.
Our last pick was for the 2021 Rose Bowl, Notre Dame vs. Alabama. Take a look.
Which brings us back to the original question. Can the Browns cover? History is on their side. Going back to 2004, a road underdog in a divisional round playoff game playing against the top seed in its conference is 22-11-1 ATS.
Cleveland has covered in 7 of the 17 games it played this season, but has been at its best in recent games and on the road as an underdog (3-2 ATS).
Take the Browns to cover.
NFL Free Pick: BROWNS +10