The Cleveland Browns (3-1) head to Los Angeles to take on the red hot Chargers (3-1) in an AFC matchup between two of the best teams in the league at SoFi Stadium. The Browns are coming off a hard-fought victory against the Vikings 14-7, while the Chargers got their second victory in a row against a tough Raider team 28-14.
A pair of aspiring AFC title hopefuls will battle it out in what could be a potential playoff matchup. Both teams are 3-1 and are looking to stay atop their respective divisions. This should be an exciting one, so let’s dive into this matchup and analyze each team. With all that said, it’s time we take a look at both the Browns and Chargers so you can get ready to bet against their NFL odds.
NFL Betting Preview for Cleveland vs Los Angeles
Cleveland Browns Betting Preview: Baker Mayfield Playing Through Pain
The Cleveland Browns have three wins so far in 2021, however, they have been carried by their defense. The defense is the second-ranked defense in the league conceding just 250 yards a game to opponents. The defensive line is even more impressive, they are allowing just 66 yards on the ground and have put the quarterback on the ground 14 times. The same cannot be said about the offense.
The offense just isn’t clicking under Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski, particularly the passing game. The passing offense is 27th in yards averaging 212 per game. Turns out, Baker Mayfield has been playing through a torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder. Mayfield hasn’t missed a game in three seasons and he will try to play through the pain. However, he missed some wide-open receivers against the Vikings that almost cost them the game and there might be a short lease on Baker.
Expect the Browns to continue to hammer their running game as they have the best one-two punch in the league. Nick Chubb is the leading rusher with 362 yards and Kareem Hunt is the change of pace back and is averaging 5.4 yards per rush. They are the number one rushing team in the league with 177 yards per game and will continue to run it down their opponents’ throats until they can prove they can stop it.
Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview: Herbert and the Chargers On Fire
The biggest question coming in against the Raiders was if the Chargers could stop the run. Up to this point, the Chargers have been one of the worst teams defending the run in the league, conceding 140 yards per game on the ground. They erased all of that talk when they held the Raiders to just 48 yards rushing.
The truth is the Chargers have a young defense full of playmakers waiting to break out. Last week was a coming-out party as they frustrated Derek Carr all game and limited the high-powered air-raid offense to just 14 points. The Chargers are top five against the pass and will look to shut down Baker Mayfield and the Browns.
Justin Herbert has been on fire and has put on a clinic so far in 2021. The first-round quarterback has outdueled Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr in consecutive weeks and is looking to add more. The young signal-caller is averaging almost 300 yards per game and has thrown for nine touchdowns in four games. The offense has deployed a bevy of weapons including Austin Eklar who’s obtained 5.7 yards per carry and recorded his first 100-yard game on the ground this season. Look for the Chargers to stay balanced against the Browns
Betting Lines & Odds
MyBookie has the Chargers as the -2 home favorite, and you can grab the over/under total at 47 points.
Browns vs. Chargers Prediction
The Browns defense has been one of the toughest defensive units in the league after they shut down the red hot Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, and Tyrod Taylor. They will frustrate Herbert and put the pressure on him in the pocket.
However, Justin Herbert has been playing out of his mind lately. Over his last two contests, Herbert has thrown for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. This should be a close battle between the two teams as they are equally matched, but with Baker Mayfield dealing with an injury and the home crowd behind the Chargers, I like the Chargers in this one.
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