Finally after yet another pre-season campaign that seemed to stretch on for far too long, football that counts is just around the corner. It’ll get underway Thursday, September 8th as Carolina and Denver square off, but first lets try to pad those wallets for some extra money before the regular season! Week 4 is typically a big letdown following the dress rehearsals and starters playing of Week 3 – in most cases. There is the rare exception and we will focus on that in our write-up today as the Chicago Bears head to Cleveland to take on a Browns squad looking for any signs of success and optimism before Week 1 commences.
Both Chicago and Cleveland enter this week winless in the pre-season. While both squads aren’t expected to be all that great in 2016, you still want to see some evidence of success. For Chicago Bears’ head coach, John Fox, he has seen that and has taken the typical route to sit and rest the bulk of his starters. However, for the Browns, they’re being typically unusual in how they operate as their head coach Hue Jackson has stated that his starters will play Thursday evening against the Bears before their season opener in Philadelphia on September 11. All of this should make for an intriguing pre-season game in the final week of the exhibition season. Read on below for odds, a game preview, and prediction for Bears/Browns.
Bears vs. Browns Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +6 (-110)
@ Cleveland Browns -6 (-110)
Over 37 (+100)
Under 37 (-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bears vs. Browns Pick:
The fact that this really isn’t your typical Week 4 NFL pre-season game makes this quite intriguing and fun to evaluate. With the Browns looking as brutal in the exhibition games as they’re supposed to look in the regular season, head coach Hue Jackson has committed to playing his starters just a week before things get underway for real for Cleveland in Philadelphia. Just how much time they’ll see is still up in the air, but the likes of RG3, Josh Gordon, Gary Barnidge, etc. will all be suiting up for the Browns against Chicago. Simply put, they haven’t experienced much success this pre-season and Jackson wants them to try and get in-sync before Week 1.
Conversely, for the Bears they’ve actually been even worse than Cleveland this pre-season. They are also 0-3, and have a pretty brutal -39 point differential. Their offensive line is a mess and their supposedly improved defense has not looked in sync at all just yet. While they have certainly struggled, it is not expected that Fox will expose next week’s starters to tonight’s game. For Chicago it is all about evaluation and analyzing the final few roster spots up for grab. Look for the Bears to trot out a bunch of their second and third-teamers against the Browns’ starters for at least the opening quarter. It is also expected that former Houston starting QB Brian Hoyer should get a bunch of reps on Thursday night for the Bears.
While it’s certainly unconventional what coach Jackson is doing – you have to admire it. Too often coaches seem petrified by injuries at certain times, when in reality it’s not something you can control. The Browns have some talent, particularly within their offense, and the fact that they’re a young group that’s still learning means they’ll need some extra reps to feel good about themselves. Expect RG3 to turn in a solid outing and leave the pre-season on a good note – that’s what Jackson wants. His first-team offense should be able to dominate Chicago’s second and third-string defenders, en route to a big victory. Yes, this spread is a tad inflated for a pre-season outing, but it’s warranted given the discrepancy between the Browns’ first-team and Chicago’s third-team. Roll with the Browns -6 to close out our pre-season betting at The Sports Geek.
PICK = Browns -6 (-110)