NFL Preseason Week 1 Picks: Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions

Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions
Saturday, 8/9/14, 7:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Detroit -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Detroit -1
Opening Total:  37.5
Current Total:  39.5
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

Lions Redskins NFL Preview
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford could enjoy a career year in 2014

Cleveland has the most talked about storyline in the league in its quarterback battle between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, which is important to consider when looking over the NFL betting lines Saturday night.  Browns first-year head coach Mike Pettine has stated that Hoyer will work primarily with the first-team offense, while Manziel will enter the contest with the second group.  Other competitive positions in camp have been found at running back and right offensive guard, but Ben Tate and John Greco are expected to start at those respective positions.

The Browns are unsure about wide receiver Josh Gordon’s availability for the regular season, as he’s currently appealing a suspension for a positive marijuana test during the offseason.  Cleveland is going to have a hard time replicating his production of a year ago—finishing with a NFL-high 1,646 receiving yards despite missing two games.  The franchise has brought Miles Austin in, but he’ll likely be hampered by ongoing hamstring injuries at some point this season.

Detroit signal-caller Matthew Stafford has an opportunity to take the next step this year, as he’ll likely flourish under the direction of coordinator Joe Lombardi, who built a reputation of improving quarterback play during his time with the New Orleans Saints alongside Drew Brees.  The Lions are also expected to be a more disciplined team under new head coach Jim Caldwell, as they simply drew too many penalties and lacked structure during the Jim Schwartz era.  Caldwell is better prepared to handle his role after spending the last couple years in Baltimore.

The Lions brought in former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate to start opposite star Calvin Johnson, which is important to consider when making your NFL betting picks, as Stafford has weapons to work with all over the field.  Detroit is also excited about the progress that running back Reggie Bush has made during the offseason, as he prepares for his second go around in the Motor City.  It’s important to point out that tight end Eric Ebron will likely miss his first chance of playing as a professional due to an undisclosed injury.

Sports bettors will likely back the Lions, as Hoyer and Manziel may end up turning the ball over early due to the pressure of the quarterback battle.

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