NFL line watch: Johnny ‘Football’ fever puts breaks on Browns bettors

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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 now

San Francisco 49ers at Oakland Raiders (+7.5)

The only uncertainty facing the Raiders at this point is whether they can hold off the Titans and Jaguars for the league’s worst record. And if they do, will they draft Marcus Mariotta after spending a high draft pick on Derek Carr last spring? Because when you go into the locker room down 38-0, as the Raiders did this past Sunday in St. Louis, it’s over.

Heavy early money is on the Niners on this one, and justifiably so. The Raiders have nothing left in the tank and will play games during the month of December only to remain in compliance with NFL rules. Don’t be too concerned about the extra half-point or the fact that the game will be played in Oakland. Get in at -7.5 before the line goes up.
 
Spread to wait on

Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns (+3.5)

Awkward situation in Cleveland, where the Browns are in the thick of the playoff race for the first time in forever. They have a decent but not all-that-great QB in Brian Hoyer, but know that Johnny Manziel is the future. The Browns turned to Manziel late this past Sunday when the offense stalled in Buffalo, and no one seems sure what’s in store for this Sunday.

Mike Pettine says that he won’t make an announcement on the starting QB for the Colts game until Wednesday, but it sounds a lot like Manziel will be under center. “The door is definitely open for a change at the quarterback position,” Pettine said after the loss to the Bills. Might be worth hanging tight until we know for sure.

Total to watch

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles (49)

Game of the week, in the NFC anyway, and both teams need this one pretty badly. The Seahawks and Eagles are both flying high with two straight wins, but there is a bit more of a sense of urgency for 8-4 Seattle, which could be on the outside looking in at the playoff picture a week from now.

The Seahawks defense hasn’t given up a touchdown for eight straight quarters and Philadelphia is coming off a solid defensive game against the Cowboys. With all that in mind and the cold weather setting in the East, 49 points seems like a generous number and an Under play looks reasonable.

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