Bills vs Browns Preview & Free Pick – Preseason [Week 2]

Buffalo (0-1) at Cleveland (1-0)
When: Friday, August 17th 2018
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
Time: 7:30 ET | TV: NFL Network
Opening Odds: Cleveland -4/37

The Cleveland Browns may be 1-31 in the last two NFL regular seasons, but will be seeking their sixth-straight preseason victory when they host the Buffalo Bills in Week 2 action on Friday night – televised on NFL Network. Cleveland debuted top-overall draft pick Baker Mayfield in a 20-10 win at the New York Giants, and he didn’t disappoint. The Bills came up short (28-23) in their opener against the Carolina Panthers, to drop head coach Sean McDermott’s against the spread record in preseason games to 1-4. The Bills and Browns last played a regular-season game in Week 15 of the 2016 season in Buffalo – a 33-13 Bills victory – and their last preseason meeting was an 11-10 Bills victory in 2015. Cleveland opened this contest as 4-point favorites, but the line is now 3.5 as of Wednesday night, with a total set at 40.5.

The quarterback story-lines in this game starts with Buffalo’s starting quarterback last year, Tyrod Taylor, who was traded away to Cleveland in the offseason despite leading them to the playoffs. Buffalo also traded up in this year’s draft to No. 7 overall so it could select Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Chances are, Allen will not be the Week 1 starter, but the Bills are banking on him to be the QB of the future in Buffalo. Allen should get plenty of action Friday after completing 9-of-19 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in the preseason opener vs. the Panthers while adding 29 yards on the ground. AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman are battling for the starting job, with McCarron the current frontrunner. Both were actually injured Sunday at practice but it’s not thought it will keep either from playing here.

Mayfield looked pretty good for the Browns in the Week 1 preseason win over the Giants. The former Heisman Trophy winner was 11-for-20 for 212 yards and two scores, but head coach Hue Jackson has remained steadfast that Taylor remains his starting QB. Taylor also was sharp vs. New York, completing all five passes for 99 yards and a score. Rookie receiver Antonio Callaway also had a nice debut with three catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, but rookie RB Nick Chubb was held to 11 yards rushing on 15 carries running behind Cleveland’s backup offensive line.

Expect Mayfield and Allen to see a lot of action, and after seeing both in Week 1, I have to give the edge to Cleveland. Plus, the Browns really do play well in the preseason and should be playing in front of some excited fans on Friday. I’ll lay the points.

Pick: Browns -3.5

Betting Trends:

  • Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
  • Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
  • Browns are 7-16-1 ATS in their last 24 games on grass.
  • Browns are 15-35-1 ATS in their last 51 games overall.
  • Browns are 8-21-1 ATS in their last 30 vs. AFC.
  • Browns are 7-21 ATS in their last 28 home games.
  • Under is 5-1 in Bills last 6 games on grass.
  • Under is 5-2 in Bills last 7 games overall.
  • Under is 5-2 in Bills last 7 vs. AFC.
  • Under is 7-3 in Bills last 10 road games.
  • Under is 11-2 in Browns last 13 home games.
  • Under is 13-3 in Browns last 16 games on grass.
  • Favorite is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
  • Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
  • Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.