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Cleveland Browns vs. Carolina Panthers Week 1 Betting Odds, Prediction & Analysis
The Cleveland Browns take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, September 11 at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium. This matchup is one of the most anticipated matchups of the first week of the NFL season.
This is largely due to Carolina's starting quarterback Baker Mayfield playing his first game not being the Cleveland Browns quarterback, against his former team.
This matchup is going to be one of the biggest games to bet on this weekend, and here are some odds, predictions and thoughts on the game.
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The Carolina Panthers open up as the betting odds favorite in this matchup, with a spread of -2. The Panthers moneyline is also (-129).
The Panthers only won five games last season, but seemingly have made improvements toward their offense. Carolina will have a more versatile offense, but not a stronger roster as a whole.
The Cleveland Browns come in as the underdogs with a +2 spread and (+101) moneyline. Although the Browns may seem one-dimensional on offense, that one dimension is arguably the best running back in the league, and this matchup should be extremely close with how good their roster as a whole is.
Browns vs. Panthers Analysis
The Browns are going to look like a very different team this season. Jacoby Brissett will line up at quarterback, a downgrade from where they were last year. However, they will have Amari Cooper at wide receiver, an upgrade to what they had last year. The Browns will need to rely on their rushing offense and their pass-rushing to lead them to victory.
With running back Nick Chubb and edge rusher Myles Garrett being arguably the best player in their respective positions, they have a good chance at dictating the game flow.
A lot of the Panthers' game plan will rely on how much protection they can give Baker Mayfield and running back Christian McCaffrey. That will be an extremely tall task with Garrett lining up on one side of the defensive ball for the Browns.
However, the Panthers should be hopeful that there is some improvement as they drafted Ikem Ekwonu with the sixth overall pick in this year's draft.
The Panthers have a talented receiving Corps with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson being great targets that Mayfield can hit quickly, he just needs time in the pocket to be able to allow his reads to get open.
Browns vs. Panthers Predictions
The Browns will come out firing as tough as they can in week 1, as the first four weeks seem to be crucial for the Browns to win if they want to make the playoffs this season.
The Cleveland Browns are facing four of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league in the first four games, and they will have a rough schedule once quarterback Deshaun Watson gets back, and they will need as many wins as possible if they believe that they are a playoff contender.
The Panthers will utilize their versatility on offense. Carolina will likely have the stronger passing game this season with Baker Mayfield and will want to utilize Christian McCaffrey both in the run and pass game for this one.
As long as Mayfield can have a couple of seconds in the pocket, there can be a lot of dump-offs in the flats and screens used in this game to defeat the Browns by dink-and-dunk passes. Mayfield does not have to be perfect in this game; he just has to not lose it. This will be a heavily emotional game for him, but he must stay focused.
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