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2008 NFL Betting: Analyzing the AFC North

2008 NFL Football Betting analyzing.

There\’s not much separating Pittsburgh and Cleveland at the top of the division this year and, come to think of it, Cincinnati and Baltimore at the bottom. The Steelers haven\’t had a losing record against the spread since 2002 but the surprising Browns were a best against the points last year. (2007 regular season records in parentheses):

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-6 SU, 8-8 ATS, 8-8 O/U): There\’s plenty of talent here, especially at QB, RB and on a very stingy defense but a schedule that was ranked a forgiving #29 last season has been replaced by the most difficult one in the league this year. Bets and Pieces: Pittsburgh is 14-6 ATS at home on Monday Night Football. That wagering trend will be tested at home against Baltimore on Sept. 29 and at Washington on Nov. 3.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU: 94-65-1

ATS: 81-75-4

HF: 34-36-1

HD: 6-3

AF: 20-18-2

AD: 21-18-1

All Sportsbook Buster: Since 2003, the Steelers are 20-11 ATS in division play.

Sports Betting Angle: Pittsburgh has covered eight of their last nine meetings with the Browns, including five straight in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND BROWNS (10-6 SU, 12-4 ATS, 9-6-1 O/U): The Browns have three Monday night and two Sunday night games on national television so at least you know that network bigwigs expect them to be good. So do we but the schedule is much tougher than a year ago and with seven of Cleveland\’s 16 games have been decided by a TD or less last year, the difference between 10-6 and 6-10 is small indeed. Bets and Pieces: Cleveland is 22-1 ATS when the Browns score 24 or more points in a game.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1999-2007)

SU: 50-94

ATS: 70-72-2

HF: 15-12

HD: 20-24-1

AF: 5-1

AD: 30-35-1

Online Sportbook Buster: The Browns are 20-13 as a favorite over the last nine seasons.

Sports Betting Angle: Cleveland has covered five straight games against Baltimore.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-9 SU, 6-9-1 ATS, 7-9 O/U): The Bengals had more arrests than victories last season and despite plenty of talent will struggle for success with a team where character – a key ingredient for dealing with the disappointments of a long and difficult season – sorely is lacking. A disgruntled Chad Johnson doesn\’t help. Bets and Pieces: Cincinnati is 5-20 ATS at home versus the division after a SU loss.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU: 61-99

ATS: 66-89-5

HF: 14-21-3

HD: 16-26

AF: 11-7

AD: 25-35-2

Sportsbook Buster: The Bengals are just 30-47-3 ATS at home, the last 10 seasons

Online Sports betting Angle: Cincinnati has covered seven straight against the Eagles, who they host in Cincinnati, Nov. 19.

BALTIMORE RAVENS (5-11 SU, 3-13 ATS, 9-6-1 O/U): Since winning the Super Bowl in 2000 the Ravens have gone from mediocre to dreadful, as demonstrated by last year\’s 5-11 record that included a league worst 3-13 ATS. New Head Coach John Harbaugh still has to deal with an anemic offense and now, an aging defense, as well. Bets and Pieces: Baltimore has failed to cover the spread in five of its last six season openers.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU: 86-74

ATS: 82-72-6

HF: 36-18-2

HD: 10-12-2

AF: 12-20-1

AD: 24-22-1

Platinum Sportsbook Buster: The Ravens are 36-18-2 as home favorites, the last 10 seasons.

Sports Betting Angle: Baltimore has covered seven of its last eight, including four straight at home against Oakland, which it meets in Maryland, Oct. 26

Legend:

SU = Straight Up

ATS = Against the Spread

HF = Home Favorite

HD = Home Underdog

AF = Away Favorite

AD = Away Underdog

O/U = Over/Under