NFL line watch: Hang on to see if Manziel starts


USA Today Sports

Each week during the pro football season, Covers Expert Art Aronson of AAA Sports looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet on now

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10.5)

In one year, this line has been stretched from a field goal game to 10.5, which says more about the 49ers than it does about the Seahawks. San Fran is 7-6 and just about cooked as far as the playoffs are concerned. Things are so bad that the coach is actually on the trading block and NFL GMs are saying that they would rather have Oakland rookie Derek Carr under center than Colin Kaepernick. Not exactly what the team had in mind for its first year in that new stadium. As for the 9-4 Seahawks, things are coming together after a rocky start and they have to be at least even money to catch 10-3 Arizona and win the NFC West. Tough to eat 10.5 points in a division game, but these are teams headed in opposite directions and we can’t see the books giving back that half-point.
Spread to wait on

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (+1)

Is it finally time for Johnny Manziel? Brian Hoyer knows that 14 for 31 with two interceptions in a losing effort just doesn’t get it done when the team’s No. 1 draft choice and the team’s fan base are chomping at the bit for change, and so the torch might be passed this coming Sunday in a game the Brownies must have to prevent another non-playoff season. If you like Manziel, hang on for a bit to see if he’s the starter. If you don’t like the rook’s chances in the biggest game of the year for Cleveland, you don’t want to be exposed if he does get the call.
Total to watch

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (40.5)

No reason not to like the over in this one. Fast track, home team playing well and averaging more than 34 points in its last three games. Important division game for the Cardinals with Seattle breathing down their necks, but the signs point to points in this one. The Rams put up 52 against a half-decent Oakland defense at home two weeks ago, and while St. Louis has not given up a point in the last eight quarters, Arizona scored 31 up in their last meeting. Over, and pretty easily, in this one.


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