Cleveland, OH (WFOR)- The Cleveland Browns hosting the Miami Dolphins is far from a marquee game on Sunday’s NFL slate. Both teams have struggled, albeit with different expectations, this season. But, despite their self-sabotage, the Browns remain alive in the AFC playoff race with a slim chance of getting to a Wild Card spot.
That makes this Sunday’s matchup hugely important for Cleveland and provides and opportunity for the Dolphins to play spoiler. With Brian Flores’ team playing hard every week, they can’t be overlooked in this matchup. The stat that stands out the most heading into this matchup is the low-scoring nature of each team. The Dolphins are second to last in the league in that category, averaging 13.9 points per game, while the Browns are just slightly better, ranking 25th in the league but still scoring under 20 points per contest.
“I think this is going to be extremely low-scoring game. Cleveland does lose Myles Garrett, their top defensive player. That could also figure into the scoring as well,” said SportsLine‘s Wizard Of Odds Kenny White. “May help Miami just a little bit, score a couple more points but still, a very low-scoring game. Cleveland averages less than 20 a game so expecting a very low-scoring game in Cleveland.”
That lack of scoring potential also bodes well for folks interested in the over under line. As White explains, these two teams have been masters of having their games come in under the total.
“It might be scoring. Both teams have been very low-scoring, bottom five of the NFL. The under trends show up,” said White. “Miami 9-4 under their last 13 games. And the Cleveland Browns, amazing. At home, 18-7-1 under in their last 26 home games.”
While the game might not light up the scoreboard, that hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers from thinking that Cleveland is going to win big. The Browns are currently a 10.5-point favorite as of this writing. That isn’t the kind of spread that you normally see for a game in which the Browns are involved, as White explains.
“They were actually a 10-point favorite last year against the Cincinnati Bengals. They won 26-18. They didn’t cover the spread though,” said White. “So I don’t think that oddsmakers have caught up to Miami yet. I think they’re giving them a little bit too many points this week. The last time the Cleveland Browns were this big of a favorite before last year’s game, I did have to go back all the way to 2007.”
With the Browns ranking 25th in scoring, 21st in passing (221 yards per game) and 12th in rushing (121.9 yards per game), it will be interesting to see how the Dolphins defense holds up. That unit, while playing better as of late, has struggled to stop teams for much of the year. Whether or not they can do so in this game will likely determine if they can cover the spread.
Kick off from First Energy Stadium in Cleveland is set for 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS.