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Posted on 11/22/2007 8:39:45 AM
By: CappersPicks.com NFL Football Handicapping Staff
NFL Betting Free Picks – Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns
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Preview – Who thought at the onset of the season that we could get excited about a Cleveland Browns game where they take on the Houston Texans? The rejuvenated Texans hit the road against Cleveland as road dogs. This one should be a barn burner as both offenses prepare to set the scoreboard on fire like a Salem witch.
Houston Offense vs. Cleveland Defense
With Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson at full healthy, this Houston offense looks completely different so it’s almost impossible to gauge them entirely on stats. Against a poor Saints secondary, Schaub threw two touchdown passes to Johnson and accumulated 293 yards in the process. The good news? Cleveland has the second worst passing defense in the league. They allow 269.5 passing yards against, even with their full complement of starters.
The rushing defense is equally atrocious, ranking twenty-eighth and allowing 136.8 yards on the ground against. With the passing game firing on all cylinders, Ron Dayne has actually looked decent. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry last weekend and totaled 89 yards.
The Texans can essentially move the chains and score on a fair chunk of their possessions. And if the passing or rushing offenses stall, then Kris Brown is more than capable of booting the ball home for some points regardless.
Cleveland Offense vs. Houston Defense
The Browns offense has been the exact opposite of their defense. Derek Anderson is setting himself for a mega contract this summer as the Browns have averaged 242.2 passing yards per game, while Jamal Lewis has steadied them to 104.4 yards on the ground.
The receiving combo of Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards is emerging as a deadly combination. The Houston Texans average 211.1 passing yards against, but their corners lack the size and speed to keep up with Braylon. The matchup of Kellen against any linebacker is unfair.
But the Houston front-seven is strong and can break through to shut down Jamal Lewis. Mario Williams has silently been proving why he was chosen number-one overall. Houston’s defense is fairly strong, but Cleveland is enormously efficient at putting points up on the board.
NFL Betting Trends
-Houston is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games
-Houston is 4-17 SU in their last 21 games on the road
-Cleveland is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games
-Cleveland is 4-1 ATS and SU in their last 5 home games
-total has gone OVER IN 5 of Cleveland’s last 5 games at home
It’s very easy to get excited about Houston’s offense after last week’s offensive output. The question is whether they can do it again. Johnson looks like he has fully recovered from that knee injury, but he has no support unless you count Andre Davis (which you shouldn’t). Cleveland has been scorching scoreboards all season, and while their defense has obvious deficiencies, this team is too proud and strong to lose a game in front of their beloved Dog Pound.
Houston looks great, but Cleveland’s betting faithful can rest assured that the Cleveland offense is simply too good to be contained by this stingy Houston defense. I’ll believe in Schaub-Johnson if they can do that consistently, but nobody should be throwing their money at a team that only has one viable scoring threat against a team that has three.
Houston Texans (5-5) vs. Cleveland Browns (6-4)
Sunday, November 25th — Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland — 1:00pm EST
Opening NFL Betting Line: Cleveland -4 (52.5)
NFL Free Pick: Houston 28 Cleveland 34
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