The Cleveland Browns are hoping to make their first AFC Championship Game since January 14, 1990.
However, the NFL experts are not giving the Browns much of a chance in Sunday’s contest:
This is from NFL Picks Watch. They track “expert” picks all year. These are the top ranked experts all year(top 4 haven’t picked yet) most are on the Bills including the Vegas favorite which was correct 68.5% this season #BillsMafia @WGR550 pic.twitter.com/N4u7VuC8Gg
— y-Matt Beacom (@beacom26) January 15, 2021
NFL Pickwatch, which tracks the most accurate experts, states that just four percent of pickers are taking Cleveland.
The nine ESPN experts and eight CBS Sports experts are all taking the Kansas City Chiefs as well.
According to William Hill, the number of against the spread tickets on the Browns and Chiefs is equal.
83% of the tickets are on the PACKERS (-6.5) to cover vs. the Rams 💪
— SportsLine (@SportsLine) January 15, 2021
More than half of the analysts on CBS and Extra Points are taking the Browns and the spread though:
— Extra Points (@ExtraPointsPod) January 17, 2021
The silver lining here is that the majority of experts think that the Browns can keep the game to a single-digit spread.
Unfortunately, the 14-2 Chiefs and their overpowering offense could be too much for Cleveland.
Divisional Round Line Movement
The Browns opened up with the following odds:
- +10 against the spread
- +395 straight up
As of Sunday morning, Cleveland stands at:
- +9.5 or +10 against the spread in the majority of sportsbooks
- +370 straight up
The Chiefs opened at -500 straight up and have fallen to -460.
The slight movement across the board is a positive sign for Browns fans.
It would have been better to see some more movement though.
This year’s Browns are facing unprecedented territory with this being their largest spread as an underdog this season.
Heading into the Divisional Round showdown, the Browns have been just 7-10 against the spread.
In the Wild Card Round, the Browns were five-point underdogs to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cleveland faced its second-largest spread as an underdog this season and was victorious with the 11-point win.
The largest spread came in Week 1 when the Browns (+7) fell, 38-6, to the Baltimore Ravens.
Cleveland is the last AFC North team standing and also has its highest over/under of the season.
Both Cleveland and Kansas City can explode on offense, and the linemakers are preparing for a high-scoring game.
The Browns and Steelers combined for 85 points in the Wild Card Round.
As of Sunday morning, the over/under stands at an impressive 57 points for the Browns and Chiefs.
Looking Back at How the Experts Picked the 2020 Browns
On the bright side, the experts have been underestimating the Browns all season.
Heading into 2020, the majority of experts proclaimed that the Browns would finish with single-digit wins.
Some said the Browns would make the playoffs, but many did not.
Even when Cleveland made the postseason, the ESPN and CBS experts did not have confidence in the Browns against the Steelers.
Just two ESPN experts picked the Browns straight up while none of the CBS ones did.
In order to continue proving the experts wrong, the Browns will have to stop the best passing offense in the league.
The turnover battle will be an important one to watch in this contest.
The Chiefs have just two games this season in which they have given the ball away more than one time.
Meanwhile, the Browns have seven games in which they have multiple takeaways.
If Cleveland can force Mahomes into some turnovers, there will be a decent chance at pulling off the upset.