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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Browns can build on an encouraging start

Ravens had it easy at Cincinnati last week

Cleveland quarterback DeShone Kizer
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Best handicap bet
Cleveland +8.5 at Baltimore
Improvement at Cleveland looks set to be a gradual process after the Browns won just one game last season but they showed enough in their opening defeat to Pittsburgh to suggest they are heading in the right direction.

Hue Jackson's side were hit by the news that number one draft pick Myles Garrett would miss the start of the season with an ankle injury, but a 21-18 defeat to a team many are tipping to be Super Bowl challengers should be a source of encouragement.

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer showed his mobility by scoring a touchdown and demonstrated great toughness by shaking off the effects of seven sacks.

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New England at New Orleans

Dallas at Denver

Green Bay at Atlanta

There is potential that he will link up well with receiver Corey Coleman and there is scope for their running game to improve as well.

The Browns look a sound handicap bet as underdogs in another AFC North clash against Baltimore, who beat the fourth team in the division Cincinnati 20-0 in their opener.

That victory probably owed much to the Bengals' offensive ineptitude, which they demonstrated again on Thursday in a 13-9 loss to Houston.

Joe Flacco threw for just 171 yards in the Ravens' win and they have also been hit by the news that running back Danny Woodhead is out with a hamstring injury.

If the Ravens take their eye off the ball, the Browns can be a lot more competitive than Cincinnati were last week.

Next best
Miami +3.5 at LA Chargers
Hurricane Irma prevented Miami from opening their season against Tampa Bay last week, but hopes will be high in South Florida that they can hit the ground running and they have the opportunity to do just that.

The Dolphins were hit by an injury to quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the summer, but replacement Jay Cutler has settled well and should benefit from the fact that head coach Adam Gase was his offensive co-ordinator two years ago in Chicago.

Expect a fast start from a team champing at the bit for action and containing an excellent running back in London-born Jay Ajayi.

The Chargers were a blocked field goal away from earning overtime against their AFC West rivals Denver on Monday and that might have taken a lot out of them.

They have another divisional game against Kansas City next week and while they cannot take any game easily and will be looking to claim their first success in their new home after leaving San Diego, the Dolphins, who won ten games last year, could be stronger.

Top total-points bet
Minnesota over 20 points
The Vikings got their season off to an excellent start with a 29-19 victory over New Orleans on Monday and they can build on that against Pittsburgh.

Quarterback Sam Bradford threw three touchdowns against the Saints and has excellent outlets in receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen and tight end Kyle Randolph who can hurt the Steelers.

Running back Dalvin Cook has an excellent debut with 127 yards at an average of 5.8 per carry.

If the Browns can score 18 points against Mike Tomlin's team, Minnesota are capable of scoring at least 20.

Top player bet
T Cohen to score a touchdown
Chicago were just one drive away from taking Super Bowl runners-up Atlanta all the way last week and rookie running back Tarik Cohen had an exciting debut.

Cohen was a threat in both the rushing and passing games and marked his first appearance with a touchdown.

He carried the ball just five times, gaining 66 yards, but there is a decent chance he will be involved more this week as fellow Bears rusher Jordan Howard is rated questionable for their trip to Tampa Bay.

Howard is expected to feature but his number of carries could be down on the 13 he had against the Patriots, while injury-prone wide receiver Kevin White is still on the sidelines.

Cleveland +8.5
2pts 89-100 188Bet
Miami +3.5
1pt 10-11 general
Minnesota over 20 points
1pt Evs Betfair, Paddy Power
T Cohen to score a touchdown
1pt 21-10 Betfair, Paddy Power

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That victory probably owed much to the Bengals' offensive ineptitude, which they demonstrated again on Thursday in a 13-9 loss to Houston
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