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Steelers – Browns Match-up Causing Confusion With Wild NFL Week 12 Line Moves

The NFL betting line on the Pittsburgh-Cleveland game has been all over the map as we barrel towards Week 12, and that’s largely because neither team has established a modicum of consistency throughout the year. What we do know for certain is that the oddsmakers are generally listing Cleveland as a slim favorite and that this game should basically be a pick ‘em by the time Sunday hits us in the face. That’s strange considering what we’ve seen out of the Steelers recently.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-6)
The Cleveland Browns host the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 12 NFL action.
Starts: 11/24/2013 1:00PM
FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way
Cleveland, Ohio


Oddly enough, the Steelers have faced an average spread of virtually 0 points this season which speaks volumes about how scared the lines makers have been about the woeful Steelers this year. Case in point was last Sunday’s 37-27 victory over Detroit where Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown just went toe-to-toe with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Pittsburgh is a capable offensive team despite all of their defensive shortcomings. The Steelers are now 4-2 SU and ATS in their last 6 games and are on of those strange teams that only covers when they win the game outright. So if you think they can beat the Browns, then bet away on these road dogs.

Cleveland generally holds some value simply because they’re a scrappy team overall and they have an attractive defense that generates turnovers. It also helps that they’re 5-2 ATS when facing a team with a losing record, 4-1 ATS when playing against AFC opponents and 5-1 ATS when playing at home against a team with a losing road record. Simply put, the Browns win and/or cover in games that they’re not supposed to.

Of course, if you watched them fall apart during the second quarter of their 20-41 butt kicking against Cincinnati last weekend, then you might not be all that encouraged by a small handful of betting trends. After building a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, as +6.0 dogs no less, Cincinnati roared back and outscored the Browns 7-41 in the remaining three legs of the game. Three of those scores were touchdown passes from Andy Dalton, but there was also a pair of touchdowns scored off a blocked punt and a fumble. Those came on back-to-back scores for the Bengals, and they virtually demoralized the Browns. Still, you have to remember that those are fluke plays – they do not happen consistently.


Sun, Nov-24-2013
Sun, Nov-24-2013
San Diego
Kansas City
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NY Jets
Sun, Nov-24-2013

The Browns hold a smidgen of value because Pittsburgh’s defense is not known for turnovers in 2013. They have just 6 interceptions (26th) and 4 recovered fumbles (24th) this season, which means that as long as Cleveland doesn’t make the dumb mistakes they did against Cincy, they have life.

However, there is a tendency to simply overthink matchups. Pittsburgh is playing like a gutsy, high volume team that is willing to continually take chances. Ben Roethlisberger and his offense have found a rhythm and are bailing out a suspect defense that Jason Campbell will have trouble playing well against. This game comes down to one word: confidence. Right now the Browns and J-Cam don’t have much while Big Ben and the Steelers are rolling up their sleeves after dropping 60 combined points against Buffalo and Detroit.

That may not be the most enticing advice when it comes to betting on a NFL week 12 line, but that’s the kind of matchup you’re looking at here. Cleveland is a fun team, but they just aren’t explosive enough to keep up with any team that can score touchdowns at the pace that Pittsburgh has over the past few weeks.

NFL Week 12 Betting Pick – Pittsburgh +1.5 (OVER)

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