Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Sunday, 12/4/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV: CBS
Opening Point Spread: Baltimore -7.5
Current Betting Line: Baltimore -6.5
Opening Total: 37
Current Total: 38.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
The Baltimore Ravens will try to avoid continuing a bad habit of letdowns following big wins when they go for their seventh straight victory on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Ravens (8-3) have not covered the spread in consecutive weeks since Week 4 when they ripped the New York Jets prior to their bye.
Technically, Baltimore (-6.5, 38) covered in its next game as well against Houston, but that came after a week off. Since that win over the Texans though, the Ravens have gone 2-3-1 against the spread despite winning four of the six games during that stretch. Motivation seemed to be a problem for them in road losses at Jacksonville and Seattle while they also barely held on in home wins against Arizona and Cincinnati. They were 0-3-1 ATS in those games.
The Browns (4-7) have had more than motivation issues the past few years, losing six of their last eight games this season and going 1-7-2 ATS in their previous 10 at home. They have covered their last two games ATS and nearly won two in a row before falling at Cincinnati last week, 23-20. They led the Bengals 17-7 at halftime but managed just one field after the intermission.
One of the main reasons Cleveland has struggled in the division over the last two seasons is that second-year quarterback Colt McCoy has not fared well against AFC North opponents. McCoy is 0-6 with a 66.6 passer rating vs. divisional opponents in his young career, and he was intercepted three times in the last meeting with Baltimore, resulting in a 20-10 home loss in Week 16 of 2010.
Of course McCoy has not gotten much help offensively either. Running back Peyton Hillis rushed for 35 yards on 12 carries in the last game against the Ravens, and he played for the first time in six weeks last Sunday, finishing with 65 yards on 19 attempts. Hillis has dealt with various injuries along with contract issues this season, and he has yet to total more than 94 yards in any game after accomplishing that feat five times a year ago.
It seems like forever ago that Hillis rushed for 144 yards on 22 carries against Baltimore in the breakthrough game of his career, as that came in a 24-17 road loss in Week 2 of last season. The Browns have dropped 11 of their past 15 games dating back to the end of last year and will be dealing with a Ravens team that has enjoyed nine days off between games following a 17-7 victory over San Francisco on Thanksgiving night. Baltimore was very motivated to win that one for head coach John Harbaugh over his brother John and the 49ers. On Sunday, bettors will find out how motivated this team is to keep rolling and stay in position to win the AFC North.
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