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NFL Week 5: Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens


Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens -6.0 (-123)

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

Sunday, October 11, 1:00pm EDT

We like Baltimore at home primarily on the basis of the compelling value proposition per our stable of power rankings-based handicapping tools. ESPN's FPI and FiveThirtyEight's Elo Ratings both give the Ravens about a 9 point edge after we adjust by optimized home field advantage factors specific to each model. Our friends at Massey-Peabody agree, as their framework makes the Ravens to be 10 points better than the Browns for Sunday's match-up. Another third-tier system we follow puts Baltimore ahead by about 8.

One of the two primary simulation routines we consult agrees with the play, anticipating an 8 point margin.

We are looking for the Ravens' aerial attack, although mediocre as measured by Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, to post points versus the Browns' #27-ranked pass defense. Baltimore's top ten offensive line should help ensure Flacco has adequate time to survey he field and and find his targets.

Steve Smith, Sr., Baltimore's top Wide Receiver, is listed as doubtful for Sunday's action. Smith is the 27th-best in the NFL at his position, per Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement, so his presence will be missed. However, in his stead we would look for the Raven's other top-50 receiver, Kamar Aiken, to be more prominent in Baltimore's offensive scheme.

As the Raven's are #7 in the league at defending the pass (by DVOA), we also expect Baltimore's D to disturb Cleveland's passing game, which is that offense's bread and butter (on offense the Browns turned to the run 38.1% of the time so far this season vs. a league-wide average of about 42.5% -- good for the #23 spot).

Bottom line: After finally clocking a win in week 4, we expect the Ravens to continue to progress this week in their effort to salvage their season. We see the feeble Brown's pass defense as insufficient to deter Joe Flacco's and crew, while we do look for Baltimore's defense to get to Cleveland's Josh McCown. Take the hungry home favorites.

Happy betting!!

#browns #ravens #nfl2015 #nfl2015wk5

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