The Cleveland Browns made history last weekend with their first postseason victory in over a quarter-century – but earning a second will be a tall task as they tangle with host Kansas City in an NFL divisional-round game. The Browns (12-5 SU, 7-10 ATS) are double-digit underdogs against a Chiefs team (14-2 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) that rolled to the NFL’s best regular-season record.
Opening Odds Analysis
Kansas City opened the betting as a 10-point favorite, though you can now find -10.5 depending on where you wager. The total is set at a sky-high 56, the eighth time in nine games the Chiefs have seen a total above 50.
Cleveland News & Notes
It wasn’t pretty as Cleveland jumped out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead, then held on for dear life in a 48-37 wild-card win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers for the Browns’ first playoff triumph since 1995.
More impressively, the Browns won despite having to deal with COVID-19 concerns that left them without head coach Kevin Stefanski and Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio, among others.
Cleveland comes in having won seven of nine but has covered just four times over that span. Still, there’s reason for optimism, at least from a cover standpoint: the Browns have gone 3-1 ATS in their past four road games, including a pair of outright wins as underdogs.
Look for Cleveland to lean on the run game against a Chiefs team ranked 21st in rushing defense.
Kansas City News & Notes
The Browns will need a whole lot more than five yards per carry to advance to the AFC championship game as they tangle with a formidable Chiefs offense. Kansas City finished with the sixth-most points in the NFL this season, while their plus-111 point differential ranked No. 7 overall. The defending champions also led the league in passing offense at 303.4 yards per game.
But there are plenty of reasons for Browns bettors to be bullish here. The Chiefs boasted one of the worst ATS records of any team in the league, and each of their final seven regular-season victories came by six or fewer points.
They’re also a dismal 1-4 ATS in their last five games as double-digit favorites, including an outright 40-32 loss to Las Vegas at -10.5 on October 11.
Betting Pick: Browns +10.5 (-110)
Cleveland was full value for its upset win over Pittsburgh – and with Stefanski returning and a full week of normal practice ahead of them, the Browns should make this one a lot closer than oddsmakers project.
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