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Matchups Week 1: Panthers vs. Browns

Baker Mayfield

Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns

Spread: Panthers -2.5

Game Total: 41.5

Team Totals: Panthers (22), Browns (19.5)

Weather: Outdoors, no current weather concerns.

The Line Report

  • Current consensus for this line is Panthers -2.5, though there are options ranging from Panthers -2.5 down to a pick’em.
  • This line opened between Panthers +3.5 and Panthers +4.5.
  • The line has ranged from that Panthers +4.5 opening before any Deshaun Watson ruling came and its recent Panthers -2.5 peak. Recent line movement has been considerable, where some abnormal line shopping advantages have been available over the past few days.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Panthers -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Panthers -1.5.
  • The consensus total is 41.5, with some 42 totals available.
  • This total opened between 42.5 and 43.5. This total has gone as low as 40.5 up to its 43.5 peak.

Notable Injuries

Panthers: None (Only reserves).

Browns: RT Jack Conklin (Questionable)

The Panthers Offense vs. Browns Defense

The Panthers added three new starters to their offensive line this offseason, moving them from a bottom-five line towards the back of the middle-of-the-pack. From a macro sense Cleveland’s front four doesn’t have a major edge against the Panthers offensive line. However, premium Edge Myles Garrett is a major mismatch against Panthers tackles Taylor Moton or rookie Ikem Ekwonu. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Panthers were 5-12 against the spread in 2021.
  • The Panthers were 8-9 on overs in 2021.
  • New Panthers quarterback, Baker Mayfield, has only been with the team since early July.
  • Per The Edge, the Browns yielded the 13th fewest rushing yards and the 7th fewest receiving yards to enemy running backs last season.
  • Cleveland gave up the seventh fewest yards to wide receivers last season.
  • The Browns gave up the tenth fewest yards to tight ends in 2021. 

The Browns Offense vs. Panthers Defense

Cleveland has a top-five offensive line. The Browns have a significant trench advantage over Carolina on this side of the ball. This will especially help Cleveland’s high-end running game in this matchup.

Notes and Observations

  • The Browns were 7-10 against the spread in 2021.
  • The Browns were 7-10 on overs in 2021.
  • With Deshaun Watson suspended through the first 11 games, Jacoby Brissett will lead the Browns into Carolina.
  • Brissett played for the Dolphins last season. In the five games that he had at least 30 passing attempts he only exceeded 225 yards in the air twice while breaching ten yards on the ground only once.
  • The Panthers gave up the 15th most rushing yards and the fewest receiving yards to enemy running backs in 2021.
  • Carolina allowed the fourth fewest yards to wide receivers last season.
  • The Panthers yielded the 11th fewest yards to enemy tight ends last year.

This is What You’re Betting On in Panthers vs. Browns

A bet on the Panthers is a bet on a franchise that turned to Baker Mayfield to upgrade their quarterback situation just two months ago. Carolina has two high-end passing game weapons in running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver D.J. Moore. If you’re betting on the Panthers, you’re betting on at least one of those two players having a difference making impact against a rock-solid Browns defense. A bet on the Panthers here is very much a bet against Jacoby Brissett.

A bet on the Browns starts as a bet on a team with a premium offensive line and a rock-solid defense. Cleveland is a title contender with Deshaun Watson at quarterback. While they can win games with Jacoby Brissett under center, if you’re betting on Cleveland here, you’re betting on more of a grind it out offense. A bet on the Browns in this spot is directly a bet against Baker Mayfield in his “revenge” game.

Winner/Confidence Pool: This game is a coin flip for winner pool purposes. It’s also the type of contest that should be placed towards the bottom of your confidence pool rankings, regardless of which side you take.

Spread Pool: If I take this game in a tournament it will be on the Cleveland side.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.