Cleveland Browns were one of the surprise packages of the last NFL season and they will be continuing their 2019 warm-up in Indiana on Saturday
The Colts against the Browns is one of the oldest fixtures in NFL history, dating back to 1956, when the Colts were based in Baltimore. The Colts have a narrow 15-14 lead in the overall head-to-head record, but it was the Browns who dominated for the first thirty years, winning 13 out of 18. The pendulum has swung back the other way in recent years, and this century, the Colts have won 7 of their 8 games against the Browns, although they have only met twice in the last five seasons.
Browns on the Up
When they lost to Kansas early in November, the Browns had a 2-6-1 record and their season appeared to be going in the usual direction. But against the odds, they won five of their last seven, and while they missed out on the play-offs, they have tried to build on that momentum with a big off-season in which they’ve brought in some big players including Odell Beckham Jr, Kareem Hunt and Olivier Vernon. Their first pre-season game brought them an impressive 30-10 victory over Washington and they will be keen to keep their winning run going in Indianapolis.
By contrast to Saturday’s opponents, the Colts had a quiet off-season as they focused on building on the solid progress of last season when they got as far as the Divisional Play-Offs. They have added some more dynamism to their passing game with the arrival of wide receivers Parris Campbell and Devin Funchness, but judging by their opening pre-season fixture, a 24-16 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, there is still plenty of work to do before the regular season kicks off.
Odds Favour Colts
With both teams likely to give a run-out to a number of fringe players, this could be a tough game to call, made tougher by the absence of some key players through injury. The Browns will be without thirteen of their squad, including Odell Beckham Jr, and that helps to explain why they are as big as 29/20 with some bookmakers, while the Colts are the 7/10 favourites.