Obviously, you’ll recall the dramatic drive by fourth-string quarterback Trent Edwards to give the Eagles that memorable come-from-behind 24-23 win over the Steelers to open the preseason. That game probably isn’t going down in the history of greatest clutch Philly sports moments. But the game is memorable to me because my advice was to go with the Steelers giving a point, so if you got in late or ended up with that particular line, then my bad. But listen, nobody wants to go into the regular season down, and Week 3 of the Preseason is usually as straight up as close as it gets in August to regular season football, so this game may be somewhat bettable. Let’s see if we can make a few bucks on tonights Eagles and Browns tilt–because face it, there’s absolutely no other reason to watch this game.
The line: Two 2-0 teams enter this utterly meaningless tilt that will in no way be a preview of their Week 1 regular season matchup. Bovada currently lists the Browns as a 4.5-point favorite. I’m a big believer that the line tells you all you need to know–even in the preseason. So that a very unpopular and not often bet Cleveland team is getting that much respect against the Eagles tells me it’s a Browns line.
The trends: Former Eagles assistant Pat Shurmur is a young head coach looking to further build the positive momentum of an unbeaten preseason, while the Eagles also look to remain unbeaten. One big difference–Shurmur is looking to establish a winning culture, while Reid is looking to get the heck out of August with his team intact. Reid has a career 23-31 record in the preseason while Shurmur is 3-3. The third week of the preseason is traditionally Reid’s best (8-5), but that’s usually the Eagles’ dress rehearsal–this year it came in Week 2, so that’s useless.
Other stuff: The thing to remember here is that the two teams play each other in Week 1 of the regular season and the Eagles will show absolutely nothing in this game. Michael Vick won’t play and it’s presumed Reid will play the rest of his starters in a very limited role. While the Browns won’t exactly open up their playbook, they also don’t have the luxury of resting their starters like a more established team would; thus, the Browns will have the more group of talented players on the field longer tonight. Brandon Weeden will look to establish a rhythm and gain confidence as he heads into the opener while Colt McCoy will be looking to prove he can still get the job done for a team who is willing to bring him in as a starter later this season.
The Pick: The motivation, home field advtanage, line, and intangibles all favor the Browns. Do yourself a favor–lay a 50 spot down on Cleveland. Let’s not get all crazy here. And, as always, if you lose, well, that’s what you get for betting preseason football you degenerate.