Cleveland Browns vs Philadelphia Eagles Prediction
The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in first place in the NFC East Division with just three wins through ten weeks of the NFL schedule. Philadelphia sports a ridiculous 3-5-1 straight-up (SU) record, 3-6 against-the-spread (ATS) record, and the total has gone an even 4-4 with one push. Philadelphia has been outscored by a total of 29 points, but shockingly, that also is the best scoring differential in the NFC East Division. Over the next five weeks, Philadelphia will face a gauntlet of winning record playing contending teams.
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Event: (451) Philadelphia Eagles +3 at (452) Cleveland Browns (o/u 47)
Date/Time: Sunday, November 22 at 1:00 p.m. EDT
Recommended Play: Browns -3 / Under 47
What Does the Betting line and Total Tell Us?
First up for Philadelphia is a visit to Cleveland, Ohio, to face the Browns, who are favored by 3.5 points with a 47.5-point total. The two lines imply a 25.5-22 Browns win and reflect the betting community sentiment for each team’s matchup. Under head coach Doug Peterson, Philadelphia is 1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS, and 6-2 ‘UNDER’ dressed as a road underdog and scoring 22 or fewer points. Peterson has earned a 7-5 SU record, 8-4 ATS, and 9-0-3 ‘OVER’ record as a road underdog and scoring more than 22 points. The implied 22-points is a pivot point for Philadelphia, but we need to dive deeper into the research to determine if Philadelphia can score more than 22 points or not.
Philadelphia’s Historically Poor Offense
Philadelphia’s quarterback Carson Wentz has taken the bulk of the media hits for the extraordinarily poor and mostly inconsistent performances. The team has been decimated by injuries, especially at the wide receiver position, which is the start of their troubles. However, Wentz has not thrown the ball well and ranks 34th among all quarterbacks who have played this season in overall QB efficiency rating and 47th in NFL QB rating. There are 32 NFL teams, which means his 34th rank is worse than a few backups. Philadelphia is dead last, averaging a paltry 4.75 passing yards-per-attempt, including lost yards on sack plays in 2020.
Run-Pass Differential is Terrible
Philadelphia does run the ball well and ranks 4th in the NFL, averaging 5.1 yards-per-play. However, they do not run the ball enough, as evidenced by their 30th rank with a 36.3% rush play percentage and 26th rank averaging 26 rushing plays-per-game. Passing plays account for 64% of all plays run but rank 27th gaining an average of 209 passing yards-per-game. Moreover, they rank 29th with a 3.49% interception percentage and dead last at 32nd with a 9.23 quarterback sack percentage.
To put Philadelphia’s offensive struggles into perspective, Philadelphia has not averaged more yards-per-play than passing yards-per-play since 1998. They are the 14th team in the past 30 seasons to be averaging more on the ground than through the air, and have the 4th greatest differential between ground and air yards-per-play. The 1992 Seattle Seahawks, with the greatest run-pass differential at 1.5 yards-per-play, posted a 2-14 SU record and 8-8 ATS record. The 2012 Minnesota Vikings had a 0.75 run-pass differential and went 10-7 SU and 9-8 ATS, including a wild card playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. The 2000 Cincinnati Bengals posted a 0.67 run-pass differential and went 4-12 SU and 7-8-1 ATS.
Can the Eagles Run on the Browns Defensive Front?
On paper and based on the analysis discussed above, Philadelphia must run the ball more to increase the chances of winning this game. The problem is that their ground attack is not nearly as good as the flash stats indicate. Further, the ground game will be going up against the 6th ranked defensive front that has allowed 4.0 rushing yards-per-attempt. The Browns do not need to bring a safety closer to the line of scrimmage to stop Philadelphia’s ground attack. In turn, the Browns defense will force Wentz to make throws and complete passes to move the chains and sustain scoring drives.
The Browns game plan will be to put pressure on Wentz, who has struggled mightily this season. He ranks third-worst, sporting an ugly 24% bad throw percentage and 31st rank with a 71.6% on target ratio. By comparison. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees ranks best in the NFL with a 12.7% bad throw percentage and has been on target 83% of all passes thrown on the season. Not a good game plan for Philadelphia to win this game.
Machine Learning Game Projections
My Machine learning models predict that Philadelphia will not gain more than 5.5 passing yards-per-attempt and that the Browns will rush for a minimum of 150 rushing yards. In past games, when Philadelphia was a road underdog and met this pair of performance measures has led them to a terrible 3-16 SU record, 4-13-2 ATS record good for just 23.5% winning bets, and a highly profitable 16-3 ‘UNDER’ record in games played since 2005.
Cleveland is a rock-solid 9-0 SU and a highly profitable 7-2 ATS for 78% winning bets as a home favorite of 7.5 or fewer points when they have gained 150 or more rushing yards and held their opponent to 5.5 or fewer passing yards-per-attempt in games played since 2005.
Take the Cleveland Browns and the ‘UNDER’ for a two-team reverse action parlay.
Meet the Capper: John Ryan
John Ryan founded a cutting-edge sports technology company more than 25 years ago. John has utilized many of the machine learning tools that have applications in other industries to successfully build simulation models, neural networks, and many types of algorithms that have earned strong predictive results. To identify a betting opportunity the fundamental research must support the mathematical projections. After all, he has been kicking around in this sports data space and the life sciences space for 25 years. John has a proven track record of success as shown in his season records and numerous Top-10 finishes in all Major Sports. He can found on Twitter too @johnRyanSports1.
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