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Broncos are the Best UNDER Bet in the NFL

Winners of three of their last four games, the Cleveland Browns are in a rare position to win six or more games for only the second time since 2007 and can achieve that feat vs the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The Broncos are coming off an ugly road loss to the 49ers but can stay in the playoff hunt in the AFC with a victory on Sunday. They haven’t lost to this iteration of the Browns since Cleveland came back to the NFL in 2000.

With the history in mind, the Broncos opened as 3-point faves with a total of 45.5.

  • The Browns are 1-24 SU in their last 25 road games.
  • Denver ranks 26th in passing yards allowed per game (264.2).
  • The UNDER has hit in 10 of the Broncos’ 13 games this season.

Browns vs Broncos Game Center

Can the Browns Get Another Road Win This Season?

1-24 SU in the last 25 road games. I’ll expand on this more but this may be the most glaring trend in any NFL matchup this season. The Browns have been a laughingstock for the better part of a decade but the giggling may be coming to a halt with the shift in their effort since they fired head coach Hue Jackson. Cleveland is 3-1 SU and ATS since ol’ Huey got shown the door and is averaging 25.5 points per game in that span.

But back to that road trend. Two of the three wins since the coaching change were at the Dawg Pound and while Cleveland split the two road games, one was against the Bengals, which doesn’t seem so impressive now that Cincy has lost five straight. The other game was a loss to the Texans in which Baker Mayfield had his worst game as a professional, throwing three interceptions.

Historically, it’s tough to win in Denver, especially in December. The Broncos are 32-10 SU in their last 42 home games in the final month of the season and in their home losses this year, they lost by 4, 3 and 2 points to teams with winning records (Rams, Chiefs, Texans). This is why I find it hard to convince myself to back the Browns in this matchup despite their improvement through the season. To be fair, I also picked against them before they beat the Bengals on the road but this has all the makings of a letdown for the Brownies.

Pretty Cloudy Lately in the ‘No-Fly Zone’

Going into their Week 14 matchup with the Niners, the Broncos had an excellent road map to a playoff berth and were in the driver’s seat to clinch a spot. Well, San Francisco had other plans and laid waste to Denver, which could only muster 14 points against a team that ranks in the bottom five in most defensive categories.

The Broncos are a tough team to figure out but the one stat I think that explains their fortune (or misfortune) is margins. Only two of their six wins have been by more than seven points and among their seven losses, just two have been by more than seven points, which tells me that each and every game is a dogfight to the finish.

The Denver defense has been the driving force and the Achilles heel depending on how you view the stats, because it ranks in the top 10 in points allowed per game but is giving up a ton of yards through the air (ranked 26th) and on the ground (ranked 19th). Teams are converting only 53 percent of their red-zone opportunities, which is likely why the Broncos are able to stay in games.

I think if I’m betting on either side, I would likely side with the Broncos moneyline vs the spread because they don’t really blow out teams and their offense has been severely hampered with the loss of Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver. The Browns are so frisky lately that it’s a lot to ask for the Broncos to win by more than a field goal.

When Broncos Take the Field, The UNDER Seems to Follow

The total opened at 45.5 and while the most-used word to describe Mile High Stadium is “altitude,” the scoring output hasn’t shared that description. The UNDER has hit in five of the Broncos’ six home games this season with an average combined score of 43.3 points per game. Denver has been rewarding UNDER bettors for most of the season as the final score has fallen short of the closing total in 10 of its 13 games this season, with an average combined score of 43.7. Razor-thin margin but I think the defenses come to play in this one.

My Pick Is…

To take the UNDER and Broncos moneyline on separate wagers. There is too much evidence in support of an UNDER pick in this game and while I think the Browns offense has improved, they still have a rookie quarterback and shaky offensive line. That could lead to Von Miller and Bradley Chubb having a field day trying to tee off on Baker Mayfield, which means he’ll need to make quick decisions in a hostile environment and should put him in a tough spot to score.