Baker Mayfield will make his NFL debut when the Cleveland Browns hit the road this week to face off with the New York Giants in the preseason opener for both teams. Even though Cleveland went winless a season ago, the exhibition slate does not usually have results that jibe with regular season outcomes.
Mayfield is expected to get extensive action, and as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, he may be able to come in right away and find success. But an NFL debut for any rookie is tough and there is no guarantee he lights it up.
There will be more attention on this game than for most preseason openers because of the presence of Mayfield. He is not expected to begin the year as Cleveland’s starter so the preseason could be his only time to prove himself on the national stage for the foreseeable future. The Browns are slight favorites in this game largely due to Mayfield.
This will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 7 p.m ET on Thursday, August 9th, 2018. The contest will be nationally televised on NFL Network.
Vegas Odds Analysis
The Browns are on the road but are the 1-point favorites to emerge victorious. They are getting about 67 percent of the action from bettors so clearly there is some support. Cleveland is the -117 favorite while the Giants are listed at -102 to come away with the win. The Browns are again getting the majority of the action on the moneyline.
The scoring total is 35 points, which is much less than what Mayfield is used to putting up. But this is a much tougher league and he could have some issues. The “over” is the more popular choice.
Quarterbacks:Taylor or Mayfield ?
Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor could start this game but is not expected to play too much if that happens. Mayfield is expected to be next in line and could see significant action. The way he performs is likely to help decide the outcome. Cleveland also has veteran signal-caller Drew Stanton on the roster, and if he plays a chunk that’s a big help for the Browns because Stanton knows what he is doing and could lead the team to some points.
Giants starter Eli Manning is a veteran and doesn’t need much work in the preseason. He could play sparingly or not at all. New York is likely to put young quarterbacks Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta on the field. New York could have chosen a quarterback at No. 2 overall in the draft after Mayfield but instead went for star running back Saquon Barkley. He will aim to impress in his NFL debut as well.
Browns rookie receiver Antonio Callaway was recently cited for marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license. He had numerous off-the-field problems at the University of Florida and they have followed him to the NFL.
Callaway traveled with the team to New York and is already expected to be a key receiver after the trade of Corey Coleman. It is unclear if he will play in this game but Callaway is a talented player and will increase Cleveland’s chance to win if he does see the field. Keep a close eye on this situation.
Browns vs Giants – Who To Bet On
Mayfield’s debut could be a bumpy one. He may try to do too much under the bright lights and have some trouble. The Giants are the pick to capture this victory at home. The “over” is the choice as some turnovers could lead to some short fields for the offenses.
NFL ATS Pick: Giants and the OVER
Check out the latest NFL Preseason betting odds for Week 1.