As the 2018 NFL preseason winds down, the SportsLine Projection Model has broken down Thursday's NFL preseason game pitting Cleveland against Detroit. The Browns are two-point favorites and the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 35. Before making your own Lions vs. Browns picks, you'll want to see what SportsLine's advanced computer has to say.
The advanced computer simulates every NFL game 10,000 times and has crushed human experts on a consistent basis. In a straight-up, pick'em format, the computer model went 176-80 last season and beat over 95 percent of CBS Sports office pool players in 2016 and 2017. It also performed better than 98 percent of experts tracked by NFLPickWatch.com during that span. Additionally, it went 48-34 on its top-rated picks against the spread in 2017. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.
We can tell you it is going with the Over for Browns-Lions, which hits in just over 60 percent of its simulations. But the much stronger play is on the spread -- and that one hits even more-often.
The computer knows that the Browns certainly haven't resembled last year's team, which was a perfectly futile 0-16. Cleveland is 2-1 this preseason thanks to a defense that's allowed fewer than 10 points per game, including a shutout over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles last Thursday.
The QB play has been stellar, with former Bills signal-caller Tyrod Taylor compiling a 101.3 QB rating and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield going for 363 yards, two TDs and one INT. Taylor dislocated his pinky last week against Philadelphia. He isn't expected to miss any real action, but may not suit up against the Lions. If that's the case, it's Mayfield's time to shine.
Just because the Browns have been hot doesn't mean they can cover a 2.5-point spread. Meanwhile, Lions QB Matthew Stafford has played in two games and attempted only 23 passes this preseason. But Jake Rudock and Matt Cassell have been serviceable under center in a 1-2 team mark.
Detroit's defensive depth has been strong, giving up just nine points per game in the second half, when NFL preseason games are won and lost. The offense scored 21 straight second-half points in a 33-30 win over Tampa Bay last week.
Who which side of the Browns-Lions spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine to see which side of the spread the SportsLine Projection Model is strongly favoring, all from the advanced computer that beat 98 percent of experts.