NFL: Johnny Football’s Browns favoured over Cincy
The Johnny Football era kicks off in Cleveland this weekend when the Browns play host to NFL AFC North leaders Cincinnati Bengals as slender one-point favourites with Coral.
Drafted 22nd overall in this year’s lottery, QB Johnny Manziel will get his first starting assignment in Cleveland colours, in a game they must win to remain in serious contention for a playoff berth.
Manziel leads a Browns squad that has lost three of their last four SU, 2-2 ATS, ousting them from top spot in the AFC North which they briefly held midway through the season.
Cleveland enter Week 15 outside the AFC playoff picture, trailing Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens, who sit in a virtual tie for the two AFC Wild Card spots, each with a record of 8-5.
The Browns stunned Cincy with a 24-3 win in Week 10, covering as six-point underdogs, and have seen the point total finish UNDER in eight of their last nine outings.
Bengals boast a record of 5-2 SU in their last seven, but with match-ups against Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh in the final two weeks of the season, Cincinnati need a SU win over the Browns to solidify their position in this volatile AFC playoff picture.
The Steelers will be looking to break the logjam in the AFC Wild Card race when they visit NFC South leaders Atlanta Falcons as 1.5-point road favourites.
Pittsburgh have struggled with consistency and are just 2-2 SU in their last four, 1-3 ATS, in their last four following a three-game SU win streak in which they scored more than 41 points per game.
However, an SU win over the Falcons combined with a Bengals loss would propel the Steelers into first place in the AFC North, setting up a showdown with Cincy in two weeks’ time.
The 5-8 Falcons head into Sunday’s match-up with Pittsburgh deadlocked with struggling New Orleans Saints, but maintain control of top spot in the weak-sister NFC South, on the strength of their 37-34 win over this opposition in their season opener.
Atlanta are 1-2 SU in their last three, 2-1 ATS, and a meagre 1-3 SU in their last four at home. The Falcons are also a dismal 1-8-1 SU in their last 10 against the Steelers, but have rewarded bettors by going 4-1 ATS in their last five head-to-head meetings.
In other Week 15 NFL betting, Indianapolis Colts (18/1 Super Bowl chances) can clinch top spot in the AFC South when they welcome division rivals Houston Texans as seven-point home favourites.
The 7-6 Texans have never won in Indy in the franchise’s 12-year history, and face an uphill battle against a Colts squad that is undefeated against any division opponents this season.
Top spot in the NFC East will be on the line when the 9-4 Dallas Cowboys visit Philadelphia Eagles (who boast the same record) as 3.5-point underdogs. The Cowboys are a perfect 6-0 SU on the road this season, but need a win after suffering a 33-10 loss to Philly at home on Thanksgiving Day.
The Saints visit the 5-8 Chicago Bears on Monday night as three-point favourites at Coral. New Orleans are 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five and need a win to keep pace with the Falcons in the NFC South.