The San Francisco 49ers come out of their bye on top of the NFC West standings and as the last remaining undefeated team in the NFC, heading into their Week 5 prime time match up with the AFC North leading Cleveland Browns in what may be the most anticipated Monday night game so far this season. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

When: Monday October 7th, 2019 at 5:15 PT (ESPN)
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Line: 49ers -3.5, o/u 46.5

Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns silenced some of the talk about being overrated with an absolute throttling of the division rival Baltimore Ravens in Maryland to the tune of 40-25. Prior to Week 4, Cleveland and Mayfield had fallen short of expectations, but in Week 4 the Browns showed glimpses of why their potential was hyped up prior to this season by absolutely gashing the Ravens' defense with power running from Nick Chubb, who had 165 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns, while the Cleveland defense harassed Lamar Jackson, who threw two interceptions and was sacked four times, shutting down one of the more prolific offenses in the league.

After four weeks, Cleveland ranks 18th in Football Outsiders' total DAVE rating at 2.9 percent (represents a combination of preseason projection and performance so far), 14th with a total DVOA of 5.6 percent, 17th in offensive DAVE at -0.4 percent, 24th in offensive DVOA at -8.5 percent, 12th in defensive DAVE at -1.5 percent and 8th in defensive DVOA with -9.1 percent. Cleveland's offense ranks 12th with 380.3 yards per game, 15th with 22.3 points per game, 12th with 263.5 passing yards per game and 14th with 115.0 rushing yards per game. The Browns' defense is 13th in giving up 335.0 yards per game, 15th in yielding 22.8 yards per game, 8th with 215.3 passing yards conceded per game and 21st in allowing 119.8 rushing yards per game.

Cleveland's offensive line is ranked 21st in running blocking and 24th in pass protection. The Brown's defensive line ranks 22nd in adjusted line yards and 4th in adjusted sack rate. Baker Mayfield ranks 29th with a DYAR of -20 and 24th with a total QBR of 42.6. The Browns have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) score of 0.2 and are 2-2 ATS and 2-2 to the over/under so far this season.

San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers will have the advantage of coming off of a bye week and should be rested for their Monday night tilt, though they will be without Joe Staley and Ahkello Witherspoon.

Through four weeks, San Francisco is ranked 4th in total DAVE at 14.0 percent, 2nd with a total DVOA of 48.0 percent, 14th in offensive DAVE at 1.9 percent, 6th with an offensive DVOA of 13.1 percent, 2nd in defensive DAVE at -12.6 percent and 2nd in defensive DVOA with -35.9 percent. The 49ers' offense is 4th with 421.0 yards per game, 3rd with 32.0 points per game, 17th with 246.0 passing yards per game and 2nd with 175.0 rushing yards per game. San Francisco's defense is 3rd in allowing 283.3 yards per game, 8th by conceding 18.0 points per game, 6th in giving up 208.3 passing yards per game and 5th in yielding 75.0 rushing yards per game.

The Niners' offensive line is ranked 1st in run blocking and pass protection. San Francisco's defensive line is 7th in adjusted line yards and 9th in adjusted sack rate. Jimmy Garoppolo ranks 13th with a DYAR of 131 and 17th with a total QBR of 52.1. The Niners have an ESPN FPI score of 3.4 and are 2-1 ATS and 1-2 to the over/under this season.

Prediction
On paper, the Niners have many advantages over the Browns in this Monday night game. San Francisco is coming off of a bye, playing at home and has a statistically better offense, defense and quarterback. In contrast, Cleveland will be traveling to the West Coast and playing in back-to-back road games and could be due for an exhale and letdown after winning a game for the division lead against a hated rival.

But Kyle Shanahan has yet to win the game coming out of the bye in his career and the Niners have not won the game coming out of their bye since 2011, tying their game out of the bye in 2012 and having lost six straight games out of the bye, including a 9-27 pounding at Tampa Bay last season. And while San Francisco has a storied history on Monday Night Football, Kyle Shanahan has yet to win on Monday night, losing both Monday night games in 2018, including a Monday night loss at home to Eli Manning and a 2-7 New York Giants team.

Cleveland's offensive line looked terrible in allowing 11 sacks in its first three games, but Freddie Kitchens shifted the game plan in Week 4, caring less about getting the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., who finished the game with two catches for twenty yards, and featuring more of the run game with Nick Chubb and it opened up the passing lanes for Mayfield who was sacked only once and threw one interception.

In Week 3, the Niners' offense out-gained the Steelers by a wide margin but the game was close thanks to five San Francisco turnovers, including two interceptions thrown by Garoppolo against a Pittsburgh defense that is not as good as Cleveland's. One might argue that San Francisco not having Joe Staley for that game led to much more pressure on Garoppolo and was a factor in those turnovers. How will Jimmy fare against pressure from Myles Garrett and the Brown's pass rush?

Despite Cleveland appearing as the statistically worse team after three weeks, the Browns' offense seemed to have gelled in Week 4 and the team emphasized a power run game and relentless defense, both of which are known to travel well. The Browns have yet to cover the number (or win) at home while winning and covering every road game this season. In contrast, San Francisco has won and covered every road game but has yet to cover against the spread at home this year.

Our preseason analysis predicted the Browns to win this game and while we may have underestimated the Niners before the season, we expect San Francisco's secondary to be more exploitable with Ahkello Witherspoon out and poor cornerback depth, and for Cleveland's pass rush to cause problems for a Niners' offensive line playing without Joe Staley. The Browns will try to establish the run with Nick Chubb and if they do, it will neutralize the 49ers' vaunted pass rush and make this a close game where more than a field goal could be too many points. Pick: Browns +3.5

Season:
ATS: 1-2
SU: 1-2

Poll

  • What is your best bet for 49ers vs Browns on 10/7/19?
  • 49ers -3.5
  • Browns +3.5
  • Over 46.5
  • Under 46.5