Sunday Night Football Preview

Rams at Browns

Each week, TheLines will provide a daily betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. We’ll look at the odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup and providing the best sportsbook promotions for SNF.

Week 3 offers a second straight look at the Cleveland Browns (1-1) in primetime as they return to FirstEnergy Stadium from a 23-3 road Monday night victory to host the Los Angeles Rams (2-0). The Browns will look to put on a better performance for the success-starved home crowd after dropping the season opener 43-13 against the Tennessee Titans.

The defending NFC Champions, meanwhile, have gotten off to a near-perfect start. They opened the season with a 30-27 road victory over the Carolina Panthers. They then topped the New Orleans Saints 27-9 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game.

SNF betting odds and analysis

The Rams rightfully opened as favorites on the road. The visitors were spotted three points on the initial spread at FanDuel Sportsbook. The line dropped only slightly to CLE +2.5 as of time Tuesday morning (the opposite shift occurred at DraftKings Sportsbook).

The over/under opened at 51. It also hadn’t moved since opening as of Tuesday morning, though the under became the favored side after initially hinting toward the over. The Rams’ moneyline odds rose slightly overnight Monday. They opened at a convincing -150 at FanDuel and DraftKings.

We’re expecting these trends to stay true through much of the week. The numbers are fair with the Rams on the road. They’d be much larger favorites if at home as the much better team through two weeks. If the spread stays within a field goal by Sunday morning, the sharp money will hammer the favorites, bringing the spread closer to a touchdown by kickoff.

SUNDAY UPDATE: The biggest change throughout the week has been the projected total dropping to 47 or 47.5 as of Sunday morning. OVER bettors who’ve been able to wait this one out should pounce now before the public money drives the total up a few points once again by this evening. The spread now notably exceeds a field goal in favor of the visitors with the trend likely to continue through the day.

Week 3 game matchup

The offseason hype quickly faded on the Browns with their disaster at home in Week 1. A 20-point victory over the Jets with third-string QB Luke Falk handling the majority of the snaps should do little to sway the turning public opinion. QB Baker Mayfield has completed just 60.3% of 73 pass attempts for 610 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. They rank 22nd in rushing yards, led by sophomore RB Nick Chubb’s 137 on 35 attempts.

Rams QB Jared Goff hasn’t been much better thus far on the other side. He’s completed 62.7% of 67 attempts for 469 yards and two scores against one pick. He also added a rushing score against the Saints last week.

L.A. ranks seventh in the league with 281 rushing yards through two weeks. Todd Gurley leads the way with 160 yards and one touchdown, as he and the Rams try to dispell questions about his arthritic knee. Fourth-year back Malcolm Brown has 90 rushing yards on 17 attempts with two TDs.

Both teams have avoided significant injuries thus far (relative to the rest of the league). Browns TE David Njoku (concussion) is being considered week-to-week. Rams TE Tyler Higbee (chest) left Sunday’s game due to a lung contusion but is expected to have a reasonable chance of suiting up in Week 3.

The Browns seemed to struggle with play-calling on offense in Week 2, having a difficult time getting calls in before the play clock expired. Head coach Freddie Kitchens held onto duties despite the hiring of Todd Monken as offensive coordinator. Rams coach Sean McVay is up to 26-8 since the beginning of 2017 with his team’s 2-0 start.

Week 3 SNF betting breakdown

Both teams started 1-1 against the over/under. The Rams have fallen an average of 4.5 points short of the projected totals and the Browns have come up 3.8 points shy. L.A. is 1-1 against the spread, covering by an average of 8.8 points. Cleveland’s Week 1 choke job has them an average of 11 points shy of the cover despite Week 2’s 20-point victory.

Don’t pay much attention to the Rams’ narrow 11-9 lead in the all-time head-to-head series. They’ve won four of the last five meetings dating all the way back to 1999, but they haven’t met since a 24-6 Rams victory in St. Louis in 2015.

The Rams are 11-7 ATS on the road under McVay (including postseason), covering by an average of 5.2 points. They’re also 5-3-1 in non-conference games and 8-6 as road favorites. Most recent trends for the Browns can be ignored due to the high amount of roster and coaching turnover.

The two teams rank in the top 10 of the NFL in seconds per play in the first half on both offense and defense. You might consider getting some extra action on the game with the first-half over. Both sides drop off offensively in the second half, so betting a live under at the break isn’t a bad idea, either.

Sunday Night Football picks

Watch as Matt Brown from TheLines and PlayPicks breaks down the SNF game from a betting perspective.

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How to watch Sunday Night Football

The first Sunday Night Football game of the 2019 NFL season will be played between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium Sunday, Sept. 8. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m Eastern and can be viewed on NBC.

The network will continue carrying SNF games through the regular season. The Week 17 TV spot on Dec. 29 will remain unfinalized until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

The games can also be streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. NBC is also included in most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV.

SNF drew an average of 19.3 million live+same day viewers in 2018, an increase of seven percent from 2017. The program was the primetime slot’s No. 1 television show for an eighth consecutive year.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

Casual bettors can get swept up by the hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to seperate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets as the entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games which preceded it that week. If you want to be a winning bettor, never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup). Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Home teams are often overvalued in primetime games. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum and see if the odds check out. Be careful not to look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots are given more primetime slots than the average team. This experience can give them an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from all the added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 8 through Dec. 29 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

What is the highest-scoring Sunday Night Football game ever?

The Philadelphia Eagles (45) and New York Giants (38) share the record for the highest-scoring SNF game since 2006 with the Kansas City Chiefs (40) and New England Patriots (43) at a combined score of 83 points. The latter was set last October. The New Orleans Saints set the individual team record of 62 points in 2011.

Who are the SNF announcers?

The SNF broadcasts are brought to us each week by booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary), field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Chris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013, replacing fellow country star Faith Hill, who replaced pop star Pink after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On,” replacing “Oh, Sunday Night” which updated “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.