Browns vs Bears – NFL Pick for December 24th

by Kevin Roberts
on December 22, 2017
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from Bovada at 10:03 am CT on 12/21/2017. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing. 

The New England Patriots got me a win last week, pushing my season NFL picks record to 8-9. That doesn’t sound like much, but considering I had some bad beats en route to an ugly 1-5 start, I’ve stormed back when it’s mattered most.

I almost didn’t get that big win from the Pats, though. New England needed late-game heroics just to nab the lead, then needed a bad catch rule and non-spike from the Steelers to secure the win.

It was probably the craziest finish to a game the league has seen all year, but none of that matters. In NFL betting, all that matters is getting that win and get it, I did. Hopefully, you bought into my logic of avoiding the -3 spread (that would have resulted in a push) and rode the Pats to a win, yourself.

It’s onward and upward heading into week 16, as the 2017 NFL regular season is starting to grind to a screeching halt. I don’t want it to end (especially since my Packers are out of the playoff hunt), but at least you can cap things off with some wins.

Hopefully, that’s what I’m sending your way as I take a look at a tricky showdown in Chicago between the Bears and the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland heads into Soldier Field at 0-14, putting themselves in the same exact situation they were in last year around this time.

The Bears, meanwhile, haven’t been all that much better and hope to add to a paltry 4-10 record. That, and I’m sure the Bears don’t want to lose to a team that has yet to notch a win.

Still, it’s not like the Bears are a scary opponent and the Browns have to win sometime, right? Let’s see if that first (and probably only) win arrives this week in Chicago:

Cleveland Browns (+6.5)
VS
Chicago Bears (-6.5)
Total: 38

I really like Cleveland’s chance to get their first win of the season this week. The Bears have a solid enough defense, but it’s not elite and this is still a 4-win team.

Cleveland had the Green Bay Packers on the ropes two weeks ago and like Dennis Green would say, they let them off the hook. Green Bay’s playoff aspirations had something to do with that and it also required a little bit of luck.

Deshone Kizer has lost confidence and probably isn’t Cleveland’s long-term answer under center, but he’s flashed enough ability to bounce-back and help the Browns get a win. He certainly has the ability to do enough to keep this game close.

That’s something the Browns have been surprisingly decent at this season. They haven’t won a single game, but they’ve actually beaten this +6.5 spread five times on the year.

Obviously, Cleveland is feeling the pressure of potentially going 0-16. Teammates have oddly taken it upon themselves to admit Deshone Kizer is reeling, while head coach Hue Jackson constantly has to be taking questions about his job.

The Browns still have some good components, though. For the most part, they play hard, they can stop the run and as shaky as Kizer can be, he has two extremely viable passing weapons in Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman at his disposal.

That might not be quite as helpful against a Bears pass defense that ranks 10th in the NFL, but with both teams running out the clock on these seasons, I can see a few big plays being the difference for the Browns.

For me, though, this game might be more about the Bears. There is a lot of pressure that comes with facing a winless team this deep into the season. The Chargers felt it last year when they lost to the Browns in week 16 and it’s been an ominous feeling for other teams in the past.

Chicago hasn’t handled being a home favorite very well, either. They’re 0-2 against the spread in that regard (0-2, straight up), while they’re a middling 6-7-1 ATS on the year as a whole.

The Bears have a solid rushing attack paced by Jordan Howard, but they don’t have an ideal matchup for their game plan this week. Instead, there could be just as much pressure on Mitchell Trubisky as there will be on Kizer.

That could blow up in Chicago’s face, as Trubisky has not handled an expanded role all that well lately (1-4 with 3 touchdowns against 5 interceptions). The Browns present a terrific matchup, but I’m not sure trusting Trubisky is any easier than rolling with Cleveland.

I see the upside with the Browns this week, but I actually want a little more value than the +241 line some sites are offering. That’s still an angle to consider, but this team is 0-14 for a reason. I think they keep this one close and whether they win or not will come down to a lucky bounce.

Cleveland should be able to keep bettors guessing all game, however, and I think they can beat this +6.5 spread (-110) at Bovada. Whether that equates to another brutal late-game loss or their first win of the year remains to be determined.

Pick: Cleveland Browns (+6.5)
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