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2020 NFL Week 5: Fading Cleveland Browns Off Week 4 Surprise Win

Backing the Indy Cover at Below a Key Level: Colts -2.5 -125

We have learned over the years that sports betting entails as much navigating the psychology of the market landscape as actual handicapping teams versus their competition. The current state of the Cleveland Browns entering week 5 might offer a great case in point.

Cleveland is 17-62-1 SU over the last five completed NFL seasons. At their low, then coach Hue Jackson the Browns were winless in 2017, prompting then Coach to jump into Lake Erie to fulfill a pre-season promise.

By the way, at 29-50-1, the Browns were little better versus the number over this horizon.

But ESPN's Bill Barnwell estimates Cleveland's offseason moves proved more productive than that of 28 other NFL teams. Coach Freddie Kitchens, who tied last year for 30th worst coach in the NFL per Head Coach Ranking, was relieved of his duties (along with GM, John Dorsey). The new management team signed Jack Conklin and drafted Jedrick Wills, Jr. to shore up the offensive line, and acquired TE Austin Garrett, as another target for Mayfield.

In response to the reshuffling of the deck, Cleveland opened the season with a blowout loss to the Ravens, but have gone 3-0 since, amassing a ten point average margin of victory since week 2.

We think the public's most recent memories of the Browns are clouding the capacity for objectivity, and are happy to fade the Browns from this position. We have observed historically that the present is a solidly profitable spot from which to sell such teams high.

Fading teams that collected no more than six victories during the prior season that are riding two to four game win streaks has racked up a 17% return on investment since 2004.

This system is 4-1 ATS so far this season.

Perhaps relatedly, teams off big surprise wins who are taking points from teams of the same conference (but different division) have likewise proven to be solid fades historically.

Again here, we hypothesize that the betting public reads too much into early season successes, driving expectations too high and creating opportunity on the other side.

This set-up is 2-0 ATS so far this year.

Separately, we noted in our write-up for Thursday Night Football that favorites that found their groove tend to roll over lessor competition.

Chalk layers that rattled off three straight wins and now face non-division competition that failed to make the prior playoffs have been strong bets, good for an 11% ROI since 2003.

Offering a but of poetic justice, this system is currently 3-0 versus the number this season.

Happy betting!!