Browns vs. Panthers Week 1 matchup preview and current betting lines
These teams begin their 2022 seasons with NFL Week 1 odds of being longshots for the postseason. However, revenge is likely on Baker Mayfield’s mind as he takes on the Cleveland team that traded him away for Deshaun Watson despite serious off-field issues. But Mayfield won’t have to outduel Watson as his 11-game suspension leaves backup Jacoby Brissett in a starting role.
Brissett is just 4-20 in his career as a starter when his team allows more than 17 points. That sounds very much like a Carolina stat though, seeing as how head coach Matt Rhule is 1-23 when allowing 17 or more points in a game in his two seasons so far.
But the duo of Mayfield and running back Christian McCaffrey is more enticing than Brissett handing off to the excellent Nick Chubb. McCaffrey is the more complete back with what he can do as a receiver, but he does need to stay healthy after two seasons plagued by injury.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper is making his Cleveland debut after a trade from the Cowboys. The Browns did not have a 600-yard receiver in 2021, so this was a needed trade. Cooper is not an elite player coming off a season with 865 yards, but he should improve this receiving corps.
Players to watch in the Browns vs. Panthers game
Myles Garrett: The odds-on favorite for Defensive Player of the Year is Mayfield’s biggest threat to spoil his Carolina debut. Garrett was excellent last year with a career-high 16.0 sacks, but he may need to work on stripping the ball more – just one forced fumble in 2021 while Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt had five – if he is going to win that coveted award.
Ikem Ekwonu: Carolina’s first-round left tackle will get a great test in his NFL debut with the Browns having an excellent pair of edge rushers in Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. He needs to hold up, so those pass rushers don’t wreck the game. Mayfield had a career-high 9.3% sack rate in Cleveland last year, uncharacteristic of him.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Browns vs. Panthers game
We have two NFL Week 1 predictions we really like for this game as Baker Mayfield seeks revenge against his former team.
Browns vs. Panthers Moneyline Pick: Panthers win (-107)
The Browns vs. Panthers spread has moved considerably during the week, opening with the Panthers as a 2.5-point favorite before going down to 1.5 and now is a virtual pick ‘em heading into the weekend.
But we still like the Panthers to deliver at home by putting the clamps on Jacoby Brissett and holding Nick Chubb in check. Christian McCaffrey was added to the injury report on Thursday, but he just caught a cleat that cut him. He practiced in full and should be fine for the game. He’ll be heavily featured to tame down Mayfield from making any big mistakes as he gets comfortable in the offense.
The line movement for these Browns vs. Panthers odds is actually good for those backing the Panthers all the way as we just need a win to get better odds than the 2.5-point spread from earlier this week. Matt Rhule has never won a game by fewer than five points with the Panthers. The only scary part is he hasn’t won many games, but neither has Brissett in this league.
But let’s roll with Carolina to start 1-0.
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Player Prop: Baker Mayfield Over 19.5 Pass Completions (-130)
Baker Mayfield may not throw for 300 yards or several touchdowns this week, but you can count on the Panthers showcasing their new quarterback in a game that is of the highest importance to him.
Last season, the Panthers started Sam Darnold for the first nine games of the season. In each of the first five games, Darnold completed more than 20 passes. Mayfield is a better quarterback, and he has Christian McCaffrey to throw short passes to. D.J. Moore also likes to get heavily involved with a high reception total.
Mayfield should have no problem completing at least 20 passes against his former team. It is something he has done in 52% of his career starts in the NFL. But this start matters as much as any of them to him, so Mayfield over 19.5 completions is our NFL bet of the week.bet on NFL with draftkings >
Frequently asked questions about the Cleveland vs. Carolina game in week 1
The game is being played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In two years with Carolina, Matt Rhule is 4-12 SU and 4-12 ATS in home games.