NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Coming Attractions
by Dennis Ranahan

You know it is preseason when the Cleveland Browns are favored over the defending Super Bowl Champions. If Cleveland is favored, we can assume two things; the public is most likely betting on the Philadelphia Eagles and the Browns are probably a real good bet.

Even though those two assumptions may be true, further examination of this contest throws a serious wrench in the prospect of backing the Dawg Pound’s favorite team tonight. No need to bet into a game that carries with a double negative on the side by all practical reasons should win. Especially when considering that during the rest of the weekend we have four selections we like a lot more than tonight’s tilt.

So why aren’t we following our own solid advice and banking on Cleveland tonight to both beat Philadelphia and cover the field goal or more point spread?

Even though it is preseason, and the Eagles have as much reason as any team to not worry about these meaningless summer games, they may be inspired to go after a win tonight based on back-to-back losses to open their preseason. This is the team that beat the New England Patriots last February to capture their first Vince Lombardi Trophy … but they haven’t won since.

Philadelphia lost their opening preseason game to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-14, then traveled to New England last Thursday and got blown out by the Patriots. Is this team really going to lose a third straight game even in a meaningless preseason contest?

I don’t like the chances of that.

Does that mean tonight is a play on the Eagles?

No.

They are on the road and the line gives away what the books want us to bet. Even while the public is landing on the Eagles at a clip of nearly 60%, the outlaw line moved from a pick ‘em to the Eagles getting two points. The public has backed Philadelphia to generate another line move that now has Cleveland favored by as much as 3½ points.

The books are fishing for Eagles money even while the public is coughing it up hand-over-fist.

Rule number one in this game is to never give the books what they want. They don’t always win, but they do a lot more often than they lose.

I respect the smart money move on Cleveland tonight, perhaps driven by the Eagles uncertainty at quarterback. Carson Wentz is still not cleared for full participation with his knee and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Nick Foles suffered a minor shoulder injury in last week’s loss. But, I also know there is a chink in the armour that suggest a bet on Cleveland tonight.

Even if Cleveland gets the victory tonight and covers the point spread, I prefer to not go against Philadelphia with points in this spot. It is better to skip a winner than walk blindly into a loser. Rule number two, losses cost more than winners gain.

Anyway, as I already said, we’ve got four games over the remainder of the weekend that I like a lot more than tonight’s matchup in Cleveland.