NFL Preseason Betting: Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

NFL Preseason Betting:  Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

The NFL preseason is underway and in this preview we’ll take a look at Saturday’s contest between the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. This is a matchup between two teams coming off of losing seasons in 2013 and desperate to start off 2014 on a winning note. The Browns were 4-12 in 2013 though they had more modest aspirations than did the Lions who finished 7-9. Both teams will also start the 2014 season with new head coaches–Detroit is now coached by former Indianapolis Colts head man Jim Caldwell while Cleveland is Mike Pettine.

This game opened with Detroit a -2′ point home favorite based to a large degree on one of the strongest longterm NFL preseason situations you’ll find–a first year head coach in his first home game. The market didn’t bite, however, and the line now stands at Detroit -1. Much of the reticence to back Detroit in what is usually a very appealing situation has to do with some serious personnel issues that might not get addressed until next season. Additionally, when Caldwell was at Indianapolis he had a reputation–and a deserved one–as arguably the worst preseason coach in NFL history. During his tenure in Indianapolis the Colts went 2-12 SU in preseason games and lest you think that Caldwell’s home debut was an exception–it wasn’t. In Caldwell’s 2009 home debut fans were subjected to a listless 13-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. True, Caldwell had Peyton Manning and some other valuable starters to protect but that isn’t as important as his philosophy toward preseason games.

The ‘new coach in home debut’ angle is so crucial in preseason handicapping that there’s often concern about teams being in a ‘lookahead’ spot with that situation on deck. That doesn’t apply to Cleveland, who has 9 days off before their next game which is also on the road. The Browns may have better depth in the trenches and on defense than Detroit and don’t be surprised if Johnny Manziel tries to do something special in his competitive NFL debut. Overall, there’s more reasons to like the Browns than the Lions and at this price all we need is for Cleveland to get the straight up win.