Cleveland Browns vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick ATS
Cleveland Browns (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1 SU, 0-1-1 ATS)
Both the Browns and Buccaneers, with new head coaches, are working on building winning atmospheres, heading into their Week 3 exhibition bout Friday night in Tampa. Both teams' starting quarterbacks have played sparingly so far this pre-season, but both should play a half or so Friday night. Who do we like here for our free NFL pick?
NFL Betting Odds
Week 3's NFL exhibition betting odds opened Cleveland at around -2 over Tampa Bay, with an over/under of 43. Early betting action then bumped the Browns to -3 and dipped the total to 42.5.
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Browns vs. Buccaneers Set-Up
Cleveland opened this 2019 exhibition season, its first under Coach Kitchens, with a 30-10 victory over Washington two weeks ago, then won at Indianapolis last Saturday 21-18. The Browns, with starter Baker Mayfield at quarterback, drove their opening possession against the Redskins 89 yards to a touchdown and later added scores on an interception return and a punt return, on their way to victory. Then they got a couple of touchdown passes from back-up QB Garrett Gilbert to build a 21-7 third-quarter lead against the Colts, and hung on from there.
Cleveland out-gained Washington 417-271, but then got out-gained by Indianapolis 382-271.
Mayfield played the one series against the Redskins, hit on 5/6 throws for 77 yards and a touchdown, but hasn't played since. In his place back-ups Gilbert, David Blough, and Drew Stanton are a combined 41/68 passing for 483 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception.
We would expect Mayfield to play at least a quarter, maybe more, Friday night, before turning things over to the bullpen.
Tampa Bay opened its exhibition slate, its first under Coach Arians, with a 30-28 loss at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, then beat Miami last Friday 16-14. The Bucs, with starter Jameis Winston at QB, drove their opening possession against the Steelers 81 yards to a touchdown, later trailed 30-16, pulled to within two points with a score with 10 seconds to go but came up empty on the two-point conversion. Tampa then fell to the Dolphins 14-13 with 30 seconds left in the game but with Ryan Griffin at QB drove 45 yards in four plays to set up a game-winning field goal.
The Buccaneers out-gained Pittsburgh 479-339, then out-gained Miami 309-280.
Winston played one series in both those games, hitting on 7/10 throws for 64 yards and a touchdown. In relief, Griffin is 40/63 passing for 501 yards and two touchdowns, without a pick.
We expect Winston to play a half or so Friday, then turn things over to the back-ups.
These teams met most recently back in Week 7 of last season, a 26-23 Tampa overtime victory. The Bucs led that game 23-9 into the fourth quarter, let the Browns tie it with just over two minutes to go, then won it on a long field goal late in the extra period.
That game played under a total of 52 points.
NFL Betting Trends
Underdogs are 14-18 SU, 15-15-2 ATS so far this NFL exhibition season.
- Cleveland's win over Washington two weeks ago played over a total of 35, while its win over Indianapolis last week played under a total of 42.
- Tampa's loss to Pittsburgh two weeks ago played way over a total of 37, while the win over Miami played under a total of 42.
- Through two weeks of this NFL exhibition season, unders are 17-15.
- Get more details: Cleveland at Tampa Bay NFL Match-up Stats
Browns at Buccaneers Prediction 08/23/2019
Both these teams will probably play many starters for at least a half, including the quarterbacks. And yet both are getting good play out of their back-ups QBs. We're not sure who's going to win this game, but we do expect some points to be scored. So we're going with the over here for our free NFL pick.