Browns-Chiefs Bet Tips & Picks for NFL Divisional Playoffs
The Cleveland Browns visit the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Here’s our complete guide to Browns-Chiefs Bet Tips. Odds and lines for Browns-Chiefs picks are from PointsBet, current as of Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.
Browns-Chiefs Picks & Browns-Chiefs Bet Tips
Picks in this article
Odds & Betting Lines for Browns-Chiefs Picks
- Against The Spread: Chiefs -10 (-105) / Browns +10 (-115)
- Moneyline: Chiefs (-510) / Browns (+380)
- Total: 57 — Over 57 (-115) / Under 57 (-105)
- Implied Team Totals: Chiefs 33.5, Browns 23.5
The Browns did the impossible last week, defeating the Steelers to advance to Divisional Weekend. The Browns are 3-2 overall in their past five games, winning two straight over Pittsburgh. Now, the Browns will be faced with an even tougher task in the second round of the NFL Playoffs as they get the Chiefs on the road.
While they are 9-1 in their past 10 games, coming off of a meaningless loss in the season finale against the Chargers in which they did not play many key starters, the Chiefs have not looked dominant in the second half of the year despite ending regular-season play with a 14-2 record. In a game that features Baker Mayfield versus Patrick Mahomes, the ground game could ultimately decide the winner on Sunday.
Browns-Chiefs Picks: Key Injuries
The Browns have a handful of key injuries on their offensive line to monitor. While OG Joel Bitonio was placed on the reserve/ COVID list last week, sidelining him for Cleveland’s Wild Card win over the Steelers — Bitonio tested positive for the illness — there are no guarantees he will be activated and ready to play in Sunday’s Divisional tilt at the Chiefs. Since Bitonio was placed on the COVID list on January 5, the earliest he can be lifted from the list is on the 15th, assuming he does not fail any more COVID tests.
If Bitonio sits out a second straight game, the Browns will likely start Blake Hance in his absence. Per reports, before Sunday’s Wild Card win, QB Baker Mayfield had not previously met Hance, a defect from the Jets. Now, Hance could be Cleveland’s starting guard as Bitonio’s primary backups, Chris Hubbard (knee) and Michael Dunn (calf) are both on the injured reserve list.
To make matters once across the Cleveland offensive front, OT Jack Conklin is day-to-day with a hamstring injury, likely suffered last week. While Conklin was questionable to play on Super Wild Card Weekend, he was on the injury report with a non-COVID-related illness and was ultimately deemed active for the contest.
If Conklin sits or is limited, Kendall Lamm could see time at tackle. Lamm is normally the Browns’ center.
On the defensive side of the football, the Browns have some personnel movement in their secondary that needs all the help they can get. While they did place DB Robert Jackson on IR with a hamstring injury, they also got some help in return. The Browns activated both CB Denzel Ward and nickel CB Kevin Johnson from the COVID list on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that Jackson is a relatively unknown player — he had been playing a significant amount of snaps in the past two games with all of the issues in Cleveland’s secondary — getting Ward and Johnson back in the lineup will be a tremendous boost to a Browns’ secondary with a grave task at hand. They will attempt to contain the high-octane Kansas City passing attack, which would have been an issue even if the Browns had their projected Week 1 starts healthy and playing at a peak level.
The Chiefs are dealing with several notable injuries on the offensive side of the football. While WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (calf), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip), and RB Le’Veon Bell (knee) are all listed on the injury report ahead of Sunday’s Divisional Round tilt versus the Browns, the only player to remain sidelined at Wednesday’s practice was Watkins. Hill and Bell both practiced in full on Wednesday while Edwards-Helaire was listed as a limited participant.
Barring any setbacks, Hill, Bell, and Edwards-Helaire are all in line to play on Sunday. Watkins is the only one who is in danger of missing the win-or-go-home matchup. If Watkins is ruled out or is active with limitations, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman would both see an uptick in snaps and targets.
While Watkins is a perennial disappointment in fantasy football, he is a big-time gamer when it counts. During Kansas City’s postseason run which included a Super Bowl victory over the 49ers, Watkins was an impact player.
In the Chiefs’ playoff victories last year, Watkins managed 3+ touches for 90+ total yards in all three games, with one touchdown and one game with north of 100 total yards in that period. In Watkins’ most-impactful outing — the AFC Championship against the Titans — he caught 7-of-10 targets for 114 yards and a score.
Browns-Chiefs Picks: Players to Watch
We all know how the Browns got here. We also know how they will have their best chance to advance to Championship Weekend. The Browns must continue to run the football with efficiency.
RB Kareem Hunt is entering a revenge game with his former team, the Chiefs. If you remember, Hunt was emerging as one of the game’s elite backs in Kansas City, but an off the field issue slightly derailed his career. While the Chiefs elected to move off of Hunt due to his incident, the Browns wasted no time in picking him up. Not only did the Browns never look back, but Hunt has paid colossal dividends for the team well.
While Nick Chubb is slated as Cleveland’s No. 1 running back, I would call Hunt more of a 1a than a No. 2. Both Chubb and Hunt can start on most NFL teams with ease. However, they are two vastly differing backs. Chubb is one of the league’s best pure rushers, especially in between the tackles. Meanwhile, Hunt can do a little bit of everything while excelling as a receiver out of the backfield.
The Browns employ a deadly 1-2 punch at running back and are not afraid to use them early and often. The Browns ended 2020 No. 4 in team running plays per game (30.9 at a 2.16 pace).
Cleveland didn’t just run the ball for their health. The Browns utilized their running backs because of how effective they were with their opportunities. In 28 games — Chubb played in 12 while Hunt appeared in 16 — the dastardly duo of Browns backs combined for 2360 total yards on 442 touches with 23 total touchdowns. Collectively, Chubb and Hunt averaged 5.3 yards per touch. Each back managed 841+ rushing yards, 150+ receiving yards, and 11+ scores.
While the Chiefs’ defense surrendered a good amount of total yardage — they yielded the 16th most total yards per game (358.3) — their strength is defending the pass. Their weakness, however, plays right into Cleveland’s hands. The Chiefs allowed the 12th most rushing yards per game (122.1) with a league-low seven rushing touchdowns allowed to enemy backs along with five receiving scores to the position, good for third-most in that category.
Similar to how the Chiefs’ defensive weakness plays into what the Browns do best on offense, the situation can be flipped for Kansas City’s offense and Cleveland’s defense. While the Browns’ defense is a top 10 unit in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (110.8), they are surrendering the 11th most passing yards per game (247.6), which bodes well for the Chiefs.
Not only will the Browns have to deal with Tyreek Hill at receiver, but they will also attempt to contain Travis Kelce, the league’s top pass-catching tight end. Both Hill and Kelce had ridiculous seasons.
This could be a game in which Kelce really pops. Sure, he is regularly match-up proof, but on Sunday, he is getting one of the worst team’s in defending the opposing tight end. Cleveland’s defense yielded the third-most receptions (90), the eighth-most yards (907), and the fourth most touchdowns (10) to enemy tight ends in 2020.
In his final eight games of the season since Week 8 — he did not play in Week 17 — Kelce logged eight receptions for 82+ yards or a touchdown. In fact, Kelce had six games with 98+ receiving yards, five of which, going for 109+ yards. Kelce scored a touchdown in six of those eight games, including in each of his last four outings.
Browns-Chiefs Picks: Weather Report
The weather at Arrowhead Stadium calls for mostly cloudy skies at the time of kickoff with a 2% chance of precipitation.
The temperature is set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit with 10 mph winds blowing West-NorthWest.
Browns-Chiefs Picks & Bet Tips
BEST BET: Over 57 (-115)
57 points is a massive total, but the Browns and Chiefs are two teams that bring scoring upside and the firepower to get there. While the Chiefs scored the sixth-most points per game (29.6) this season, the Browns are scoring at a 25.5 PPG rate, good for 14th best in the league.
Although the Cleveland offense had a roller-coaster of a season, they found their way down the stretch. In three of their past six games, including last week’s win at the Steelers, the Browns scored 41+ points. Yes, I said it. Dropping 40-burgers like they are the Chiefs or Packers or something. This, from a team that is run-dominant.
The usual narrative suggests that teams that heavily feature the run are lower-scoring clock-killers, but that is not the case for better clubs that include the Browns, Titans, and Ravens. When this offense is on, they are dangerous.
Meanwhile, in the Chiefs’ past 10 games, they scored 32+ points six times. Included in that 10-game period was the Week 17 season finale loss to the Chargers in which the Chiefs were resting most key starters and still managed to put 21 on the board. In 16 games played this season, the Chiefs scored 32+ points nine times.
While defenses are known to show up in the playoffs, if you remember back to Kansas City’s three playoff wins last season en route to their Super Bowl victory over the 49ers, the Chiefs and their opponents totaled 51+ points in all of them (51, 59, 82). 51, the lowest total occurred in the Super Bowl facing a San Francisco defense that was amongst the NFL’s elite in 2019. The Chiefs dropped 31 on them.
Many believe that the Browns will keep this game close. And why not? Excluding Kansas City’s Week 17 loss to the Chargers, the Chiefs played in seven games from Week 9-16 — they had their bye in Week 10. While the Chiefs won all seven of those games, their largest margin of victory was six points in that period. Even facing inferior teams in that time span including the Panthers, Raiders, Broncos, and Falcons, the Chiefs could not dominate the game. In five of those seven wins, the Kansas City defense surrendered 24+ points.
I am not worried about the Browns scoring in this one. This game will be a shootout. The Browns’ defense is simply not good enough to bottle-up Patrick Mahomes and his exceptional supporting cast. The Browns’ defense surrendered the 12th most PPG (26.2).
The Over is 5-5 in the Browns’ past 10 games, hitting the Over in five of their past seven contests.
The Over is 6-4 in the Chiefs’ past 10 games, hitting the Over in three out of their past four matchups.
The Over is 4-0 in the Chiefs’ past four games playing in January.
The Over is 4-0 in the Browns’ past four games facing a team with a winning record.
The Over is 4-3 in the past seven meetings between the Browns and Chiefs, hitting in their last matchup back in 2018.
CONSIDER: Browns +10 (-115)
As I mentioned above, the Chiefs are the superior team to the Browns, but they have struggled to blow out lesser foes down the stretch. This leaves the door open for the Browns, a team with all of the momentum, to keep this game close. While I do expect the Chiefs to win and advance when it is all said and done, they may not blow out the Browns.
I am all-in on the total, but if I had to wager another part of this game, I would take the Browns getting the points. While the Chiefs only lost two games this season, their opponents have played them to the wire.
The last time the Chiefs covered a 10-point spread was back in Week 8 against the Jets.
The Browns are 4-4 against the spread in their past eight games, covering last week against Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs are 1-7 ATS in their past eight games, failing to cover in two straight to end the regular season.
PASS: Chiefs (-510)
I am passing on the Chiefs’ Moneyline in this matchup. While I do think they will win this game, you will need to lay a king’s ransom to get a decent return. At these (-510) odds, a $10 wager will get you an 11.96 payout, giving you a whopping $1.36 profit, which is not even enough to buy yourself a Powerball ticket.
As I have said many times this season, if you want action on a Moneyline with unfavorable odds, you are better off parlaying it with player props it with other games on the slate.
Anthony Cervino is 70-55-4 on his NFL Best Bets in 2020.
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