Inside the Knox Score: Browns at Raiders

The first home game following the passing of Al Davis will be an emotional game for the Oakland Raiders, but the crowd will be pumped  and the atmosphere might be too much for the young Browns to handle. The line has opened up at -7 points for the Raiders and has slid to -6.5. That may be a huge half-point for bettors and a teasing 1/2 point at that. It seems odd the books would shave a half-point off of the popular 7 point spread. My guess is that they want the public to ride the Raiders hype and prediction that the energy is too much for the Browns as well. Let’s dive deeper. The total is going up from 44 points to 44.5 which is strange in a game that should feature two running attacks and a grass playing surface with what should be an amped Raiders defense and hostile crowd. Under looks enticing to me.

Trends

The Browns are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games a road underdogs of at least -3.5 to 10 points, but are 1-6 ATS following a loss and are 0-4-1 in their last 5 games on grass and their home field is grass. The Raiders 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall as well as 5-1 vs AFC teams ATS. They are also 7-3 in their last 10 games as home favorites of 3.5 points or more. The over is 8-3 in the Browns last 11 on grass and 12-5 in the Raiders last 17 games vs the AFC.

Raiders Offense vs Browns Defense

The Browns are starting a couple of rookies against the ground and pound attack of the Raiders. Yes, every pundit everywhere thinks Darren McFadden will strike it rich in this game and I’m not stupid enough to step out on a limb and go against that. The energy in the stadium will be menacing, the trenches will be more physical than usual and the gaps in the run defense will be open all day. The Browns give up 125 yds/gm on the ground and that number figures to go up this week. They do have a solid pass defense and that could help them if Jason Campbell lets the hype get to him. If he tries to jump in the fray and be a hero , the Browns secondary has a good chance to steal a pick or two and convert some easy points. If the Raiders do have the success with the rushing attack, a play-action deep ball should be available especially on first down. Look for Denarius Moore to be on the receiving end of that possibility.

Browns Offense vs Raiders Defense

The best chance the Browns have in this game offensively will be early. The Raiders have a weak secondary and will be very aggressive early on pass rushes. A well timed slant could break Massaquoi for some yards, but with Peyton Hillis playing sub-standard football due to contract squabbling and the lack of a deep receiving unit, Colt McCoy will have to rely heavily on Benjamin Watson. Yes, that Watson. Wasn’t he brought in to help the running attack? Exactly. Expect McCoy to be rolling out and running for his life in this game. Remember above where I mentioned Hillis playing less than stellar football. He may be able to change that this week. This game will undoubtedly be nationally televised to pay tribute to Al Davis. Hillis may strut his stuff here to prove his point in wanting more dollars.

Fantasy & Game Predictions 

Experts and the public alike are laying heavy picks on the Raiders in a win one for the gipper kind of game at home. They won’t disappoint either, but how easy will it be remains to be seen. McFadden will run for 175 with 3TDS in this game so start him unless you’re an idiot. Campbell shouldn’t have to do much, but will benefit greatly from 3rd and shorts and the endless pounding of the Browns defense. I’m willing to say he goes for 160 with a TD, the touchdown I mentioned earlier on  play-action to Massaquoi or possibly Heyward-Bey. For Cleveland, McCoy will struggle, while basically running bootlegs for dear life, but he has the ability to make plays on the run. unfortunately most of them will be to Benjamin Watson for little yardage. Hillis will break 100 yards this game barely and scratch out a TD, but other than that it’s a blowout. If the Raiders play as smart as they do hard, the crowd causes a plethora of false-starts and offsides, then I see this going badly for the Browns.

Pick: Raiders win and cover the 6.5 point spread 31-10. The spread was dropped to lure Browns backers to bite on the temptation of it moving under the key number of 7. Don’t be stupid and take the bait, especially if you’re playing with 1PM house money. The under prevails here again at 41 under the total of 44.5

You can follow JB Knox on twitter @theknoxscore

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Comments
One Response to “Inside the Knox Score: Browns at Raiders”
  1. IanBlanchard says:

    I have Hillis on my team so I would like to think he will crush this week, however I think the momentum in Oakland with be suffocating.

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