NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Football Betting (NYJ vs. CLE -3.0)

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TwinSpires Staff

September 19th, 2018

by DS Williamson
The New York Jets look to bounce back from a disappointing Week 2 loss when they travel to Cleveland to battle the Browns in NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Football betting. Meanwhile, the Browns are still searching for that elusive win after tying the Steelers and letting one slip against the Saints. Will trading Josh Gordon be the addition by subtraction they need? Let's find out.

NFL WEEK 3 THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BETTING New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Thursday, September 20th – FirstEnergy Stadium – 8:20pm ET Odds: Cleveland -3 (44)

Jets Offense vs Browns Defense After a stunning performance versus the Detroit Lions in his first ever NFL start, Jet’s quarterback Sam Darnold crashed back down to reality in Week 2 against an opportunistic Miami Dolphins defense. Darnold threw 2 interceptions in the 12-20 loss while completing 12-of-24 passes. The two interceptions were costly because the Jets failed to beat Miami even though they out-gained the Dolphins 362 yards to 257 yards.

If Darnold had trouble against the Dolphins defense, he should have even more trouble versus the Browns. For the second straight game, Cleveland looked good versus a future hall of fame quarterback. In Week 1, the Browns picked off Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 3 times. In Week 2, Cleveland held Saints quarterback Drew Brees to only 243 yards and 2 TDs.

After facing Roethlisberger and Brees, lining up opposite Darnold is a gift. The Browns defense has the edge in this Week 3 Thursday Night Football betting head-to-head angle.

Edge: Browns  

Browns Offense vs Jets Defense After only two weeks, the defense of the New York Jets has shown it can do its part to win football games. This unit dominated quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions in Week 1, picking Stafford off 4 times. In Week 2, the Jets sacked Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill 4 times for 46 lost yards. Taylor has had big moments at times, but his run as the main man in Cleveland has been dogged by erratic play at best.

The Browns are only the 23rd best team at generating yards, with 327.0 on average, and a lot of that is built around their ability to run the football. Unfortunately for them, the Jets have a defense that's allowed just 298 yards against (5th), and the backbone of this group is the front-seven. Let's not forget that head coach Todd Bowles is a defensively minded student of the game. Despite lackluster results by the Jets in recent years, Bowles' specialty is preventing point and generating turnovers.

You can convince me that the Jets aren't as good as the numbers suggest, but the clearer point is that the Browns don't have an offensive identity that you can rely on. Not yet. And it's not trending somewhere positive either.

Edge: Jets

NFL Week 3 Thursday Night Football Betting Analysis and ATS Prediction Because each defense has the edge in this Thursday Night tilt, the total has been reduced to just 39.0 points. The total could go all the way to 38 or even 37 ½. Like the total, the spread has also gone down, this time half a point from Cleveland -3.5 to Cleveland -3.

Most sports bettors feel the Browns should cover against the Jets because their quarterback has more experience. For what it's worth, the Jets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss, and 4-1 ATS when playing on Thursday nights. The Browns are 5-2 ATS on Thursday nights, but also 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games at home. Since these two teams are so much different than they were last year, the trends should help frame your decision instead of making it for you.

You'd have to imagine that Sam Darnold is on a steep learning curve. His turnovers cost the Jets a big game last week, and the weekend before that he showed what he was capable of. We've been up and down this winding, grinding road with Tyrod Taylor before, and he's simply not producing at a rate that convinces you he's anything more than what we already know.

I like the Jets to win, cover and hold the UNDER as the defense frustrates an anemic Browns offense. It's going to be ugly, but the Jets have a slight advantage here. As long as Darnold takes care of the football, they'll be in a position to strongarm a win from the home team.

Week 3 Thursday Night Football Betting Free Pick: Jets +3.0 (UNDER)