The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Browns are road favorites. Wait, what?

A reason to celebrate in Cleveland? (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Now that NFL Week 2 is in the books, it’s time to glance at the early Week 3 point spreads. One of them in particular seems to stand out. See if you can find it in this group of four games:

No, it isn’t the Los Angeles Rams being listed as road favorites, which is rare but not unheard of (they have been designated as such five times over the previous three seasons, according to records kept by, and the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers listed as favorites against two bad teams is hardly surprising. But look at those Cleveland Browns giving a point — on the road, no less — against the struggling Indianapolis Colts.

According to Covers, it’s the first time Cleveland has been favored since Week 14 of the 2015 season, when it beat the San Francisco 49ers, 24-10, as 2.5-point favorites. The Browns haven’t been favored on the road since Week 7 of the 2014 season, when they were favored by four points at Jacksonville (they lost that one, 24-6). In fact, ESPN Stats & Info says Cleveland has been a road favorite just nine times over the past 20 seasons, lapping their closest competitors in that department (the Texans and Lions, both with 26).

There’s still plenty of time for this line to move, however, and the dip from the opening line of Browns -2 to the current line of Browns -1 suggests gamblers are salivating at the chance to bet on the home-underdog Colts, who easily could be favored by kickoff on Sunday. But no matter the closing point spread, these are two bad teams. The Washington Post’s Mark Maske has the Colts at 28th in his post-Week 2 power rankings, perhaps bumping them up a few spots because they lost competitively against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But without Andrew Luck at quarterback — he has already been ruled out for Week 3 — there isn’t much optimism in Indianapolis right now.

Maske has the Browns ranked 31st, ahead of only the New York Jets.

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