Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings – NFL, Week 4

| September 29, 2021 1:32 pm PDT

It’s been a solid start for Kevin Stefanski in his second year at the helm. After getting beat in the opener at Kansas City, the Browns bounced back with commanding wins versus Houston and Chicago. Now it’s back on the road to Minnesota to play a rejuvenated Vikings squad.

This matchup has extra-special meaning for Cleveland’s lead man – Stefanski roamed the Vikings sidelines as an assistant coach from 2006-2019.

On paper, this game has everything you could ask for: two high-powered offenses and two ferocious pass rushes.

Let’s dive in and get to a Browns vs. Vikings betting pick.

Browns vs. Vikings Odds

Browns (-2)-115
Vikings (+2)-105
Browns to Win-130
Vikings to Win+110
Over 53-110
Under 53-110

Both Cleveland and Minnesota are 2-1 against the spread in the early going. Likewise, the total has gone “over” in two of three games for each of these teams. Those who dig a little deeper into the ATS data, here’s what you’ll find.

The Browns are 1-3 as a road favorite ATS under the guidance of Stefanski. On the flip side, the Vikings are an impressive 10-3 as a home underdog ATS since Mike Zimmer took over.

Also worth noting during their time under Zimmer, the Vikes have covered the spread 62.1% of the time (36-22-1) at home and 62% of the time (31-19) as an underdog.

Certainly, some motivating factors are present that’ll make you consider backing Minnesota. 

Before you head to the top NFL betting sites to lock in a Browns vs. Vikings prediction, let’s preview the matchup.

Why the Browns Will Win

Did you see this Cleveland defense take flight last time out? Justin Fields went 6-20 for 68 yards and was sacked nine times. The Bears racked up a total of 47 yards (1.1 yards per play) and were 1-11 on third down.

Let those numbers sink in.

Sure, Matt Nagy’s game plan was lousy, and Justin Fields didn’t look prepared, but that was a defensive mauling like we haven’t seen in quite some time. Myles Garrett was sensational (4.5 sacks). He and Jadeveon Clowney combined for a whopping 11 QB hits.

On top of supplying steady pressure on opposing QBs, the Browns are doing a tremendous job shutting down the run. Case in point, Cleveland clocks in 3rd in the NFL in opponent’s yards per carry (3.1). They’re allowing just 67 rushing yards per game.

This is a ravenous front seven that’s backed up by a burgeoning secondary. And now let’s talk about Cleveland’s dominant run game.

The Browns are 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game (174.7) and 3rd in yards per carry (5.1). Expect a heavy dose of Cleveland’s two-headed monster on Sunday.

Why the Vikings Will Win

The Browns pass rush is legit, but so is the Vikings. Take a closer look.

NFL Defense Advanced Stats – 2021
Team Blitzes Hurries Pressures
Browns 22 19 34
Vikings 21 5 29

Minnesota ranks 3rd in the NFL in sacks trailing only Carolina and Cleveland; Danielle Hunter has been as good as advertised (4 sacks) coming off a herniated disc (missed all of 2020).

Playing on the road in front of a jacked-up crowd, there’s no question Baker Mayfield will be feeling the heat. With his safety blanket (Jarvis Landry) on the shelf and OBJ still being worked in, Baker could find himself in plenty of conundrums.

On the other hand, “Captain Kirk” is wheeling and dealing, playing as good as he ever has. That’s not just hearsay, either.

Kirk Cousins is 2nd in the league in QBR. He’s got 8 TD passes and 0 interceptions; he’s completing 73.9% of his throws and is averaging 306 passing yards per game. Over his last 10 games, here’s where Cousins stacks up with the rest of the NFL quarterbacks.

  • 3,036 Passing yards (2nd in the NFL)
  • 26 Passing TDs (3rd in the NFL)
  • 2 Interceptions (3rd in the NFL)
  • 70.51% Completion Rate (3rd in the NFL)

With Tyler Conklin and K.J. Osborn emerging as genuine threats, we’re talking about one of the most explosive offenses in the entire league.

Browns vs. Vikings Prediction

Minnesota is battle-tested after losing two closely contested road games. That theory came to fruition last week at home when the Vikes battered Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

Taking the field at U.S. Bank Stadium for the second consecutive week, look for Minnesota to even its record at 2-2.

As great as Cleveland looked in the last two weeks, let’s keep in mind that they played the Texans and the Bears in their own building. Going on the road to square off against a feisty and efficient bunch tells me we should lower our expectations.

Browns vs. Vikings Pick

Rather than bank on Minnesota knocking Cleveland off, I’m heading in a different direction with my Browns vs. Vikings pick. Hear me out.

“Unders” are 28-20 through the first three weeks of the 2021 NFL season. Once you dissect the data, you’ll notice an interesting trend.

“Overs” are 8-1 in primetime spots. That means the under has hit nearly 70% of the time (27-12) in Sunday daytime games.

Throw in the fact that this total opened at 51. Now account for how potent these pass rushes are.

Are you ready to hop on the under?

Pick
  • Under 53
    -110
Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

More Posts by Michael Contact Michael Michael on Twitter

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