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Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers Point Spread - Pick

Cleveland Browns (0-11 SU, 2-9 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (5-6 SU, 6-4-1 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CLE +13.5/LAC -13.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5

The Cleveland Browns come to the StubHub Center on Sunday to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in week 13 AFC action from Carson. The Chargers come off the long week for this matchup, following a Thanksgiving Day road hammering of the Dallas Cowboys, 28-6. At 5-6 in a division where everyone but them is struggling, there is clear hope for the future and the Chargers seem to be enlivened at that notion. They are in a winnable spot here at home against a Browns team that fell to 0-11 against the Bengals on Sunday, losing 30-16. They haven't covered the spread in 9 of their last ten games, as a team no one expects much from continues to not even meet those expectations.

Nothing really comes easy for the Chargers. In fact, last season, they were the only team to lose to the Browns, 20-17. This season, they could be sitting pretty if not for losing three different games that they should have won, with cruel twists of fate going against them. A few weeks ago, they saw one of those twists surface, when they found a way to lose to the Jaguars as they seemed to be killing clock en route to a win. They rebounded with a 54-24 win over Buffalo, before beating Dallas by 22 on the road last Thursday. They look to get back to .500 this week.

After being in a slumber for much of the season, the Chargers' offense has really perked up over the last few weeks. After a huge blowout win over the Bills, they again shined against Dallas. Philip Rivers is really rounding into form after some uneven passages this season. On Thanksgiving, he was 27-for-33 for 434 yards, along with three touchdowns and no picks. After putting up 159 yards against the Bills, WR Keenan Allen had 172 yards and a TD against Dallas, showing that at his best, he's one of the best receivers around. TE Hunter Henry and WR Tyrell Williams also caught TD passes and were productive, along with rookie RB Austin Ekeler continuing to show his menace in the short-pass category. Melvin Gordon added 65 yards on the ground and is due for a big game. They have a lot of weapons and if this offense can continue improving, a run at the division could be in the cards.

The Chargers' defense has really rounded into a top group. They might not be that great against the run, but they make a lot of plays, rush the heck out of quarterbacks, and haven't allowed over 26 points in any game this season. They picked off Dak Prescott twice last Thursday, with Casey Hayward and Desmond King getting the interceptions. King returned his for a TD. Hayward and Tre Boston now both have four picks on the season. They have the best pass-rushing tandem this season with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram bringing the heat. Getting Denzel Perryman back to go with Jatavis Brown has enhanced the second level. They are giving up just over 18 points a game on average and with a Chargers' offense that is playing better, that will work more often than not.

The Browns predicament is a bad one. Granted, they are in full-rebuild mode, but to be losing so decisively week after week has to be getting them down. Over the better part of three seasons, they can hardly ever win even in an ATS sense, much less in actuality. Bettors aren't inclined to bet on teams like this in the first place. And no amount of points seems to help. Maybe they can come up with better against a team they seemed to match up well decently last season, their only win in their last 30 games.

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The Cleveland ineptitude on offense can be from several different causes. The highly-celebrated offensive line hasn't made the positive contribution that was anticipated. Quarterback play has been a recurring issue. DeShone Kizer hasn't really been able to make it work and it's not all his fault, as maybe there are situations in which he could succeed. This doesn't seem to be one of them. They have decent talent on this side of the ball, with RB Isaiah Crowell, rising rookie tight end David Njoku, and useful pieces like Duke Johnson, Corey Coleman, Kenny Britt, and others. At 15 points per game on average, however, they are the worst offense in the league. The one X-factor could be Josh Gordon, who could return from a long absence this week and even as rusty as he is, could still be a viable weapon.

When watching the Cleveland defense in action, the mind wanders to the possibilities. But with no support on the other side of the ball, they are left out on a limb. There are some good youngsters on this "D" who will one day be really good players. Right now, however, there are more growing pains than there are shining lights. DE Myles Garrett looks to be a future supreme pass-rusher. S Jabrill Peppers has potential, with a lot of youngsters spread around this defense. But with such abundant youth and no support, they often struggle.

It has to sting the Chargers how they fell to the Browns last season. A loss here would really cast a shadow on their apparent resurgence. A team that some feel is better than their record, this is not a game where they can afford to choke. The home throng has something to cheer with the Chargers right back in the mix, which took a bolt from beyond to actually happen. And when you look at Cleveland's ATS record, they just aren't getting enough points in games like this to make them an attractive wager. But this week, with nearly two touchdowns, it's like the oddsmakers decided to nudge the numbers to make Cleveland a more-attractive selection. While it might be simplistic, the Chargers just don't carry a lot of appeal in this role.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cleveland Browns plus 13.5 points. Bet the Browns vs. Chargers game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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