Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) 8:00pm EST
By Alex Davis
The oddsmakers at VIP.com have the Steelers currently listed as big seven point home favorites versus the Browns, despite the teams only being a game apart in the AFC North standings. Cleveland, though, could be without starting quarterback Charlie Frye in this contest, as he injured his wrist against the Chiefs on the weekend. X-rays on the wrist came back negative (just a bruise), but he's still questionable.
And Frye was actually having a pretty good game before the injury on Sunday. The QB had completed 11-of-13 pass attempts for 122 yards, with one touchdown strike and zero interceptions. Backup QB Derek Anderson went 12-of-21 for 171 yards (and two TDs) in relief of Frye in the 31-28 OT victory, and he could be given the start.
That win improved Cleveland to 4-8 on the season, and they're now over .500 at 6-5-1 against-the-spread. On the road the Browns have compiled a 3-2 ATS mark, while they're 4-4-1 ATS as the underdog. Thursday night's total is currently sitting at 36.5 points; Cleveland has put up just five Over results through their 12 games this season.
The Steelers are also coming off a win on the weekend (maybe this match-up isn't so bad after all?). Ben Roethlisberger went 12-of-25 for 198 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception in 20-3 home win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jerame Tuman and Heath Miller had TD catches for Pittsburgh in the win, while Willie Parker ran for 61 yards on 22 carries. The Steelers' defense limited the Bucs to a late field goal.
And that bumped Pittsburgh's season record to 5-7, although they're still four games behind Baltimore and two games behind Cincinnati in the AFC North. The Steelers haven't been a great option for bettors so far this year – they're just 4-7-1 against-the-spread. At home, though, they're now 4-2 ATS, while they're 4-5-1 ATS as the favorite. Betting on the Over for Steelers games has paid off; they're 7-5 on the Over/Under
History is on Pittsburgh's side in this match-up. The Steelers beat the Browns in both of their meetings last season, winning 34-21 at home, and 41-0 on the road (and handily covering the spread both times).
Pittsburgh has also beaten Cleveland once already this season – they won 24-20 on the road on November 19, pushing the four-point spread. Roethlisberger went 25-of-44 for 272 yards (with two TDs and three INTs) in that game, while Frye completed 17-of-27 pass attempts for 224 yards, and Braylon Edwards caught seven balls for 137 receiving yards. All three of those games were Over plays.
The NFL Network shifts its focus to the NFC next week, as it televises a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. That game will at least involve one playoff-bound team, as the Seahawks should have no trouble capturing the NFC West.
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