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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
I pay attention to the pointspreads; it's part of my job description at Pro Football Weekly, and I enjoy it. Anyway, the Browns are three-point favorites, but several Nevada sportsbooks have offered Cleveland to cover a three-point spread at plus-100, or even-money, odds. That's not customary; the standard sports wager is offered with 10 percent vigorish. In short, a typical $100 wager will return $90.91, not $100.
Bookmaking isn't founded on giving bettors $100 for a winning $100 wager; it's founded on taking that 10 percent off the top of the wager. In an ideal scenario for the house, equal amounts of money are wagered on both sides, the sportsbook pays out the winning bets but keeps the money from the losing wagers, as well as the vigorish from the winning bets.
As the vigorish on the Browns' side of the line dropped at some sportsbooks, the Seahawks' vigorish rose to as high as 20 percent, meaning bettors would have to wager $120 to earn $100 in profit if Seattle covered the three-point margin.
Why do I mention this? The vigorish is sometimes adjusted to encourage — or discourage — the flow of money on a particular side of the line. I could be wrong, but it seems that some sportsbooks wouldn't mind a little more money on the Browns. Cleveland, after all, has lost two games in a row and is 1½ games back in the AFC North. Also, the Browns have scored 17 points or fewer in 4-of-5 games. As home favorites go, they aren't the most formidable bunch.
However, I like the Browns in this game. Though the Seahawks' last win before their Week Six bye was a victory at the Giants, they have been a weak road team overall recently. Including the postseason, Seattle is just 4-16 on the road since 2009. The Seahawks are surrendering more yards per game and per play than the Browns, whose offense perked up late in the loss to Oakland.
Also, teams coming off a bye didn't fare well in Week Six, posting just a 1-5 mark. The Browns, as you recall, were one of the clubs that lost. Now Seattle has to shake off the rust, too.
Finally, the Seahawks are traveling from the Pacific time zone to the Eastern time zone, which has proven a tough trip for some West Coast teams over the years.
Conditions are favorable for the Browns to get back to .500, in my view.
Prediction: Browns 21, Seahawks 13
Season-to-date prediction record: 3-2