The Jacksonville Jaguars will become the first team to play two preseason games when they host the Cleveland Browns at TIAA Bank Field on Friday night.
While few Jaguars starters played at all in their 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in the Hall of Fame Game last week, and Jacksonville has been conspicuously silent on starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s status for this week’s contest, we expect Lawrence to see his first action of the preseason against Cleveland.
The Browns were one of the most disappointing teams in football in 2021 and are undoubtedly focused on turning the attention to the field after an offseason that saw them sign troubled quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson was recently suspended six games by the NFL for the alleged sexual assault and harassment of massage therapists.
To add to the drama, the Browns are currently navigating a reported trade request from running back Kareem Hunt. On the bright side, Cleveland did upgrade their WR corps by trading for veteran wideout Amari Cooper this offseason.
Browns vs Jaguars Odds
With the Jaguars slightly more up to speed, game-wise, and having the home-field advantage, Jacksonville deserves the 1.5-point edge. Be sure to keep track of the latest line movements with our NFL odds.
Browns vs Jaguars Implied Score
Jaguars 17.5, Browns 16
Most early-preseason games are extremely low scoring. It’s hard to trust second and third-teamers to execute red-zone offenses, and mistakes and miscues are typical.
Browns vs Jaguars Pick of the Day
Read more on this Browns vs Jaguars bet below.
Browns vs Jaguars Matchup
Watson is likely to play in this one, if only to shake off some of the rust of a season-long absence. And since he’ll probably suit up for Cleveland at some point this season, he’ll need to build a rapport with Cleveland’s offensive players, including Cooper, Hunt, running back Nick Chubb and tight end David Njoku in a game-like setting.
Likewise, Lawrence will probably play at least a few series as he needs game-speed reps, even though Cleveland’s tag-team pass rush duo of Jadaveon Clowney and Myles Garrett could make it hard to get anything positive accomplished.
Second-year running back Travis Etienne is also likely to play in his first game since sustaining a foot injury during the 2021 preseason, though Jaguars coach Doug Pederson is reportedly trying to be careful with the former All-American from Clemson.
Browns vs Jaguars Prediction
Jaguars 20, Browns 19
Preseason games tend to be dramatic as they typically feature gaffes like missed extra points and careless turnovers that get ironed out when the regulars are playing.
We think there’ll be more offense than the bookmakers believe since Lawrence and Watson are likely to suit up. If news comes out that either, or both, are going to be sidelined, then we’ll amend our pick.
Still, on-field mishaps aren’t just reserved for the offenses. Defensive miscues and miscommunication are common and lead to big plays, which is how touchdowns are usually scored in the preseason.
There is a chance of thunderstorms in northern Florida for Friday, as is customary throughout the state during the dog days of August, which could muck up the terrain and limit offense. Weather delayed Jacksonville’s preseason opener by about an hour, and we’ll see if it goes 2-for-2 on Friday.
Browns vs Jaguars Best Bets
Over 33 Total Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
The best advice is to find somewhere, like Caesars Sportsbook, that has the total at 33, since a 17-16 game isn’t out of the question. But we think the Browns and Jaguars starters will score points, and there will be enough second-half defensive miscues that a highish-scoring game is the best bet.
Back the Over as your NFL pick of the day.