Saturday kicks off the college football Bowl games with four different games slated, but nothing really exciting stands out. The only ranked team to play is #21 Fresno State taking on Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. The main Bowl games will really start to get good after Christmas, and continue into the new year culminating with the 4-team playoff December 29th with the Cotton and Orange Bowls, and ultimately the championship game January 7th. Luckily, there are also a couple NFL games scheduled Saturday.
First up is the New York Jets hosting the Houston Texans, followed by the Denver Broncos hosting the Cleveland Browns. Surprisingly, Denver leads Cleveland by just half a game. The Broncos are 6-7, and the Browns 5-7-1. Denver is a 2.5 point home favorite, and the over/under is 45.5 points. There are a few injuries going around in this one. Denver will be without CB's Yiadom and Harris JR., as well as LB Barrett. The Browns will be missing G Corbett and CB Ward. After winning 3 in a row, Denver had a disappointing loss last week 20-14 at San Francisco.
Denver is 10th in the AFC playoff seedings, but there are 5 teams ahead of them all with just one more win, so the Broncos can still get one of two playoff spots remaining (I'm assuming KC, LA, NE, and Houston will get the first 4 spots). Even the Browns still have a long shot at the playoffs if they can win out. To do so they first need to beat Denver who they haven't beat in 11 tries dating all the way back to 1990, and even then it was just a one-point win. I think Denver takes this one. For one thing Cleveland is just 1-5 on the road this year, and Denver is a tough place to play, especially with the altitude adjustment. Denver will be looking for a bounce-back game from last week's embarrassing loss to San Francisco.
Denver has a more realistic chance of making the playoffs where as Cleveland could lose here on out and still have a decent season compared to the last couple years of winning only one game per season. The one thing in the Browns' favor is because they have already had a successful season compared to years past, and have a bright future, they may be playing more loosely, as opposed to Denver who might be more cautious and nervous.
If Cleveland does win, I think it will be by more than 2.5 points, so if you take the Browns I'd just go straight up and get the +120 which is a little better than the -110 with the points. Kickoff is Saturday at 5:15 PM PT.