Pro Football Betting: Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns Saturday Night Handicapping

Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns
Saturday, 8/13/11, 7:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Cleveland PK
Current Betting Line:  Cleveland -2
Opening Total:  36.5
Current Total:  35
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Packers Steelers Super Bowl XLV Picks
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is now among the NFL's elite players after winning the Super Bowl last season

Green Bay has made its trip to the White House to celebrate its Super Bowl victory from a year ago and now will kick off defense of its title in Cleveland Saturday night.  The Packers will be opening a season away from Lambeau Field for the first time since the 2007 season.  Tonight will mark the 23rd preseason meeting in the all-time series, as the Packers currently trail 12-10, including a 27-24 loss in the exhibition opener a year ago.  Head coach Mike McCarthy is in his sixth year and will have 21 of 22 starters returning from the squad that lifted the Lombardi Trophy in February after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Green Bay has tallied a 6-2 ATS mark as a road underdog the past two years.

The Packers may enter this game a bit fatigued after visiting three airports on Friday and the starters are expected to play just a few series.  McCarthy has placed a priority in year’s past in maintaining the health of his football team before the regular season.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be one of those players that will see limited action and has emerged as one of the top players in the league at the position.  His career passer rating of 98.4 ranks No. 1 in league history.  Offensively, the team will be excited to see running back Ryan Grant return to the huddle, missing almost all of 2010 with a ankle injury suffered in Week 1.

Cleveland starts anew with first-year head coach Pat Shurmur and starters anticipate playing a full quarter at Browns Stadium to open the preseason.  The Browns will send out Colt McCoy as the team’s starter, as he has come a long way from being third on the depth chart just a year ago at this time.  Quarterback has been an unstable position for the franchise, as he will be the fifth different player to assume this role to open the exhibition season in five consecutive years.  On the other side of the ball, Cleveland will be undergoing major changes in replacing five starters from a year ago.  The Browns failed in both opportunities as home favorites in 2010.

The Browns give McCoy the opportunity to run the offense due to being the third rookie in franchise history to lead the team in passing yards.  One of those numbers happens to be Bernie Kosar, which fans hope he follows in terms of bringing success back to Cleveland.  Running back Peyton Hillis is no secret around the league after a banner season, running for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns.  He was also a major weapon out of the backfield in the passing game, catching more than 50 passes.

Bettors may elect to back the Browns due to the Packers traveling through three airports on their way to Cleveland on Friday.

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