Cleveland Can Keep NFL Road Dogs on Winning Track Monday Night as Browns Visit San Francisco

Posted on: October 6, 2019, 11:45h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2019, 10:46h.

Monday Night Football heads to the Bay Area this week, as the Cleveland Browns travel to face the San Francisco 49ers in a matchup of teams that led their divisions entering Week 5 of the NFL season. For the Browns, they have the chance to continue the strong showing by road underdogs this season.

Three weeks ago, Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. scored an 89-yard touchdown reception against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. He seeks a repeat of that performance when the Browns visit San Francisco for another Monday night game this week. (Image: Elsa/Getty Images)

The 2-2 Browns enter Monday’s game as five-point underdogs at most books. The over/under in the game is 47 points.

Through Week 5’s Sunday games, road dogs were an impressive 34-16-1 against the spread this season, according to Road teams went 6-4 on Thursday and Sunday, with five of those teams winning outright.

The game will kick off at 8:15 pm ET and air on ESPN.

Cleveland Winning on the Road

There are a few reasons why the Browns look attractive on Monday night. For starters, Cleveland’s two wins this season have both come on the road, which includes a convincing 40-25 victory last week in Baltimore.

Nick Chubb ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns, and second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 20-of-30 passes for 342 yards and a score.

Chubb may have difficulty duplicating that effort against a defense that allows just 75 yards a game, but Mayfield may find the air attack available, especially as San Francisco will be without starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who sprained his foot two weeks ago against Pittsburgh.

Witherspoon’s injury could open more opportunities for Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In last week’s win against the Ravens, the Browns star wideout caught just two passes, as he was double-teamed for most of the day. However, that allowed Mayfield to connect with Jarvis Landry, who caught eight passes for 167 yards.

If teams are going to focus on that, it’ll be a long day for me, but we’ll come out where we need to,” Beckham said. “Like I said, it’s about putting us in position to get to the playoffs.”

While Mayfield is still very young, the former Heisman Trophy winner is making his fourth appearance already in primetime. He’s quickly becoming the anti-Andy Dalton, as he’s won his first three starts in night-time games.

Niners Face Stiffest Test So Far

The 3-0 49ers are coming off an early bye week. Monday, though, will mark the Niners toughest test by far. The three teams San Francisco has played – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Pittsburgh Steelers – are a combined 3-12, and that includes a Steelers victory over the Bengals last Monday.

The Niners have won thanks to a defense that’s been among the best in stopping the run and the pass. The secondary will get a test in its first full game without Witherspoon, who the team expects to miss a month of action.

“He’s been covering very well” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the Steelers win two weeks ago. “He’s been playing very physical, too. I thought (against the Steelers) was probably his most physical game I’ve seen him have. He was making tackles, throwing his body around, and he’s been covering very well all year.”

While the 49ers have won six of their last eight games, they are just 1-3 against the spread in their last four home games.