The fourth NFL preseason game is oftentimes pretty dull because each side rests its starters. However, the Cleveland Browns plan to start No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield against the Detroit Lions, which makes it a game worth watching.
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Mayfield is projected to backup Tyrod Taylor when the regular season begins, which has allowed coach Hue Jackson to give him more experience in another preseason game without risking losing his starting signal-caller. Mayfield’s presence is huge as neither side is going to have anyone else on the field in the ballpark of his type of ability.
The first-stringers and even many of the second-stringers may not play in this one because it is a quick turnaround from the third week of the preseason. Additionally, the regular season is drawing near and teams are going to start gearing up for the real opponents and want their key players to expend their energy on that mission.
In a matchup of backups, the presence of a player like Mayfield should have a significant impact on the spread in NFL wagering.
This NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions will be held at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan at 8 p.m ET on Thursday, August 30th, 2018. The contest will be nationally televised on NFL Network.
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The Browns are listed as two-point favorites to come away with the victory in this game. Even as road favorites they are getting the vast majority of action, with 88 percent of the money heading their way. The scoring total is listed at 35 points, a low number but not a surprising one considering all of the backups who will be playing. The “under” is being hammered, with 89 percent of the action heading that way.
Mayfield is expected to start, although it is unknown at this point how long he will play. He is definitely going to be the most talented signal-caller in the game. The Browns are going to sit starter Tyrod Taylor, while the Lions aren’t going to play Matthew Stafford.
Drew Stanton is the Browns’ third-string quarterback. He is a veteran and it’s unknown how much work he will get. Undrafted free agent Brogan Roback is the fourth-string quarterback and could get a lot of work.
The Lions’ backup signal-caller is the uninspiring Matt Cassel, with Jake Rudock the third-teamer. The Browns certainly seem to have the advantage in this area.
Josh Gordon Update
There was some thought that superstar wide receiver Josh Gordon would play in this game after he recently returned to the team. However, that is not going to happen. The thought of Gordon going up against backups is entertaining. He normally makes starters look silly and would have put up video game numbers against a bunch of rookies.
Alas, it is not to be, as Gordon on the field would have made the Browns even bigger favorites.
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Mayfield has been running with the second team throughout the offseason and will have some good chemistry with his receivers. Look for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to have a nice game and pit the Browns to an early lead.
However, the second half is extremely hard to judge, and the belief here is that the Lions backups will fight hard to impress the coaching staff for the last time. Detroit is the choice to win this one at home, which would pay off nicely in NFL odds.
NFL ATS Pick: Detroit Lions 19, Cleveland Browns 17
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