When the Cleveland Browns visit the Washington Redskins for Monday Night Football, we’ll forgive you if you get caught up in the NFL hype machine.
After all, it is MNF and it is in the nation’s capital. And, well, Johnny Manziel will be there and whether you like it or not, the 2014 No. 22 overall pick is the league’s lightning rod right now.
Brian Hoyer will reportedly start for Cleveland but will split first-team snaps with Manziel. The rest of the Browns starters are expected to play the entire first half. Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters last week that Robert Griffin III and the rest of his starters probably wouldn’t play much more than the first quarter.
On the spread
This line opened a week ago with Washington set as a 3-point favorite. Washington dropped down to -2 a couple of days later before moving up to -2.5 Sunday afternoon.
“Preseason lines do tend to bounce around a bit more than a regular season line as oddmakers try to find the right balance with where the action is going to come in,” a Sports Interaction oddsmaker said.
“There was some consideration to the QB competition in Cleveland and also Manziel in general with him already being a known name and that on its own tends to attract public money. But the bettors are saying otherwise with 77 percent of the handle on Washington, which is why we are now sitting at Washington -2.5, -120.”
On the total
As for the total, some books opened early and low, but Sports Interaction sent out 40.5. From there, the over/under has jumped a point. That’s despite penalty flags littering preseason football on seemingly every offensive passing play and the current under trend savvy bettors are riding.
“Even with the unders cashing early on, bettors like to bet over,” Sports Interaction’s oddsmaker said. “There is almost always more money on the over. We won’t see any overreaction to the refs’ zealousness with throwing the flag early on. These things tend to correct themselves pretty quickly – whether it’s the players adjusting to the new restrictions or refs easing off a bit and figuring out when they actually should throw the flag (but usually it’s a bit of both).”
Keeping it in perspective
Sports Interaction says tonight’s game will take in about 10 percent of a regular season MNF game.