After a convincing victory to start off the betting season here at The Sports Geek on Thursday night, we’re back at it again for the highly anticipated debut of Johnny Football and his Cleveland Browns. It’s the debut everybody has been waiting months for, and all the drama surrounding his off-field antics can be put aside, and pundits can finally start dissecting his in-game action. The battle between him and Brian Hoyer has been heating up of late and by all accounts has been extremely competitive. It’ll be interesting to see how the talented duo fares in Detroit on Saturday evening.
For the Lions, they’re fresh off another mediocre season in the NFC North, but will be expected to once again take a step forward. Their off-season was filled with intriguing acquisitions – notably Golden Tate at the wide receiver position to alleviate some of the pressure off of the talented Calvin Johnson. This game also marks the home debut of the Lions new sideline boss, Jim Caldwell. Caldwell has made some sweeping changes to the Lions, most notably on offense. It will be interesting to see how the team fares with Caldwell’s new system. It’s the debut of Johnny Football taking on the new look Lions, and we’ve got you covered with an official selection below.
Browns vs. Lions Betting Odds:
Cleveland Brown +1.5 (-110)
@ Detroit Lions -1.5 (-110)
Over 39.5 (-110)
Under 39.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Browns vs. Lions Pick:
Sometimes a little bit of stiff competition between teammates can bring out each other’s best, and it seems like that is the case right now in Cleveland. For all the hype and fanfare following Manziel’s every move, let’s not forget that Brian Hoyer remains a capable starting quarterback and isn’t just going to roll over and hand the position to Manziel. Their training camp battle has been back and forth, and intense. And though by all accounts Manziel has started performing better and better, who starts Week 1 for the Browns remains anyone’s guess. Saturday night’s game will be crucial, and look for these two talented quarterbacks to once again bring out the best in each other.
In terms of who they’ll be throwing the ball to, with Josh Gordon out for the Browns, the options are somewhat limited for new head coach Mike Pettine’s squad. Nate Burleson and Miles Austin were excellent veteran pick-ups, but can’t extend the field the way elite young receivers still can. That said, a big discrepancy in this match-up falls on the aerial ability of Hoyer and Manziel taking on the Lions’ maligned secondary. It’s no secret that Detroit’s starting secondary has struggled in recent years, and I’ve got no clue how their back-ups will fare against two quarterbacks both of starting calibre. This debut is about as easy for Manziel as it gets. Hoyer should play all of the first quarter, while Manziel is expected to take over in the 2nd and play deep into the 3rd if all goes well. That kind of depth isn’t often seen in the pre-season, and look for the Browns to take full advantage.
For Detroit, it’s believed that due to the injuries of first-round pick Eric Ebron and current superstar Calvin Johnson, both won’t suit up Saturday night. Additionally, Detroit’s starters aren’t expected to receive as much time as Cleveland’s. Like the Browns, there is a lot of anticipation to see their new systems in place, though new offensive coordinator for Detroit, Joe Lombardi has said to expect a pretty “vanilla” set of play calls. Beyond Stafford, the Lions lack the depth of Cleveland, especially under centre. With Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore getting reps, the Browns should be able to generate better offensive plays throughout.
Even though there’s a ton of hype surrounding Cleveland right now, expect the players involved to harness it effectively. Manziel and Hoyer have a healthy competition and should both perform well against the putrid Lions secondary. As short underdogs, they represent an intriguing Saturday evening wager.
PICK = Browns +1.5 (-110)