Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns: NFL betting picks, odds and analysis

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert passes under pressure by Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert passes under pressure by Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon during a win on Monday night.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Chargers (3-1) host the Cleveland Browns (also 3-1) at SoFi Stadium at 1:05 p.m. PDT Sunday.

Las Vegas oddsmakers had this game as pick-’em on the advance line last week and then reopened the Chargers as one-point home favorites after they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders on “Monday Night Football.” The line has slowly been bet up to -1.5 and now -2 at several Vegas books as of Thursday afternoon.

It should be a close game that lends itself to a different approach, namely a six-point teaser (a bet where you have to hit two or more games, but you get to move the line six points in your favor).


Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers (-2, O/U 47)

The Chargers are certainly gaining a lot of bandwagon jumpers with their 3-1 start and back-to-back wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Raiders. But the Browns are also 3-1, with a defense to match the Chargers. The Browns have allowed just 16.8 points per game compared to 18.5 point per game for the Chargers, though it should be pointed out the Chargers have faced much better offenses (both have faced Kansas City, but the Chargers have also had to contain Washington, Dallas and Las Vegas while the Browns have faced Houston, Chicago and Minnesota).

This really should be a back-and-forth battle, but not in typical shootout mode. I see both defenses stepping up and for this game to be about 20-17 or 23-20.

Chargers fans will be tempted to take the six-point teaser and apply it to the Chargers -2 and turn that into Chargers +4, but the mathematically better way to tease this game is to take the Browns from +2 to +8 because you also win the bet if the Chargers win by a touchdown.

If you’re betting early enough before Sunday’s games, you could use Washington (+2 up to +8) vs. the New Orleans Saints. If you’re not betting until closer to game time for the Browns-Chargers game, you could use the Cowboys (-7 down to -1) vs. the Giants, which is being played at the same time, or start with Browns-Chargers game and lead into the Sunday or Monday prime-time games with the Buffalo Bills (+2.5 up to +8.5) at the Chiefs or the Baltimore Ravens (-7 down to -1) vs. the Indianapolis Colts.

Pick: Browns in 6-point teasers

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