When the Broncos travel to face the Browns on “Thursday Night Football” to kick off Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime Video), it will be an unintended revenge game featuring two 3-3 teams.
Case Keenum, who started all 16 games at quarterback for Denver in 2018, will get the nod for Cleveland with Baker Mayfield (left shoulder) not playing. He will duel Teddy Bridgewater, another former Vikings QB.
Keenum will operate without running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin. Bridgewater will continue to play without top target Jerry Jeudy.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Browns vs. Broncos in Week 7, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Thursday Night Football.”
WEEK 7 NFL PICKS: Against the spread | Straight up
Browns vs. Broncos odds for ‘Thursday Night Football’
- Spread: Browns by 2
- Over/under: 41.5
- Moneyine: Broncos +108, Browns -126
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Browns were only slightly bigger favorites with Mayfield in the mix but they get the nod for home field despite losing two in a row. That’s because the sputtering Broncos have lost three in a row after a 3-0 start. The point total suggests a defensive slugfest, too, with limited offenses.
Browns vs. Broncos all-time series
The Broncos have dominated the series 24-6. That includes two heartbreaking playoff losses for Cleveland vs. John Elway and Denver. The Broncos won the 2019 matchup and have taken 12 of the past 13. The Browns did end a skid with a 17-16 win at Keenum and the Broncos in ’18.
Three trends to know
—Despite the Browns injury, only 50 percent of spread bettors are siding with the Broncos in what’s essentially now a pick ’em line.
—Nearly 51 percent of over/under bettors like the game to go over more so for the low total vs. the explosive qualities of either offense vs. a decent defense.
—The Broncos are 4-6 straight up and 5-5 against the spread in the past 10 games. Half of those games have gone over. The Browns are 5-5 SU and 5-5 ATS in their past 10 games. Six of those game went over.
Three things to watch
Keenum vs. his old team
Mayfield was struggling to play well with the injury, which had been lingering since Week 2 and was aggravated in Week 6. Keenum comes in for healthy relief against one of his several former clubs. The Browns will still try to run effectively with third-string back D’Ernest Johnson, but more will be on Keenum in the passing game without Jarvis Landry. He’ll be looking to give his team a one-week spark to get it back above .500.
Bridgewater vs. the Browns’ pass defense
Cleveland has a strong pass rush with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, but their coverage woes have been evident in giving up big plays downfield to young guns Justin Herbert and Kyler Murray the past two weeks. Bridgewater hit on some plays with wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant last week, but he also matched three TDs with three INTs. Now he’ll playing with a injured foot that will limit his mobility.
Vic Fangio and the hot seat
The Browns are fortunate to draw a reeling Broncos team on a short week when they are shorthanded. They need to take advantage of an overrated opponent on the ropes with their head coach. Kevin Stefanski has a strong sideline advantage in his game with his staff and needs to use it to win with his “next men up.”
Stat that matters
87.0. That’s how many rushing yards on average the Browns defense has given up in 2021 over six games, Good for No. 6 in the league. The Broncos have been better, giving up on average 85.5 yards per game, No. 4 in the NFL. Don’t expect a lot of rushing success for either team, meaning the game will be decided by the more comfortable QB.
Browns vs. Broncos prediction
The Browns will need to use the energy and emotion that come with the Dawg Pound advantage to overcome adversity and get physical with a team that has started to go through the motions after a hot start. Keenum will settle down the passing game in a familiar offense while Bridgewater will take a few more lumps. Stefanski will pull out some wrinkles to fool Fangio and Cleveland will rock into Week 8 at 4-3.
Browns 23, Broncos 20