Upcoming Match-ups

Browns Laying 5.5 Points Against Titans Despite Not Having Won a Week 1 Game Since 2004

Cleveland Browns walking to field
The Cleveland Browns, who haven't won a season opener since 2004, are 5.5-point favoites to beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the NFL season. Photo by Erik Drost (wikipedia) [CC License].
  • The Cleveland Browns are 5.5-point favorites to beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the NFL season
  • The Browns haven’t won a season opener since 2004
  • Cleveland tied Pittsburgh 21-21 to open the 2018 season, ending a 13-game season-opener losing streak

People are so excited about the upcoming NFL season for Cleveland, they even think the Browns will beat the Tennessee Titans in Sunday’s season opener.

Imagine that – the Browns winning an opener.

Heck, the oddsmakers are even favoring Cleveland to do so in the Titans vs Browns odds and stats.

Cleveland is the 5.5-point chalk to knock off the Tennessee Titans when the NFL season gets underway Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns haven’t won the first game of the season since 2004.

Tennessee Titans vs Cleveland Browns Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Tennessee Titans +220 +5.5 (-109) Over 45.5 (-109)
Cleveland Browns -260 -5.5 (-109) Under 45.5 (-109)

*Odds taken 9/07/19.

Cleveland is 1-18-1 straight up in its last 20 season openers.

The Sad Slate of Browns Openers

Cleveland’s slate of 11 successive losing seasons is bad but it pales in comparison to how the Browns start off seasons.

On September12th, 2004, Jeff Garcia threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Browns posted a 20-3 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland hasn’t won a season opener since.

They’ve gone 0-13-1 straight up in season openers since and 1-18-1 since 1999. Even more disconcerting from a wagering standpoint is that the Browns are a dismal 0-5 against the spread when favored during this 20-year history of opening-day disasters.

Cleveland Browns Season Openers Since 2005

SU Overall SU Home SU Away ATS Overall ATS Home ATS Away
0-13-1 0-9-1 0-4-0 4-10-0 3-7-0 1-3-0

Last year was a moral victory of sorts. Cleveland held the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 21-21 tie.

Look upon it as a step forward.

Will This Year be Different?

There’s a lot of love out there for the Browns. They went 7-8-1 last season after going a combined 1-31 the two previous seasons.

Many are predicting the Browns to be a playoff team this season, perhaps even the AFC North champions. Cleveland hasn’t won a division title since 1989, when it was still the AFC Central and Bernie Kosar was the Browns quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor was the starting QB for last season’s opening-week tie against the Steelers. That means Baker Mayfield will be the 17th different starting QB for a Browns season opener since 1999.

Mayfield is a big reason for the optimism in Cleveland. He’s in charge of a high-octane offense that includes receivers Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry and running back Nick Chubb.

Remember the Titans Aren’t Bad

One thing Tennessee has going for it is a strong defense. The Titans allowed 18.9 points per game, third fewest in the NFL. They were eighth overall in the league in defense and sixth overall at defending the pass. But they were 18th at stopping the run, so Chubb could have himself a day.

 

While the Titans are 13-6 straight up in their last 19 games against Cleveland, they’re a disappointing 2-6-1 against the spread in their last seven when facing the Browns.

Tennessee is 0-3 both SU and ATS in its last three season openers on the road. The Titans are 5-1 ATS in their last six September games.

Take the Browns but Leave the Points

Chicago’s offense looked rusty against Green Bay and much was made of Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky seeing action on just three preseason plays. Mayfield was used in two quarters of one preseason game and one series in another.

The often injured Beckham Jr has a hip ailment but is expected to play.

The Browns should win but they might not cover. Play the Browns in the moneyline. Don’t touch the point spread.

Pick: Browns (-260).

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