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Spread: No line
Public consensus pick: N/A
SuperContestants: 81 picks for each team
Public perception: Everyone is waiting for this line to get posted, and oddsmakers are waiting to know whether Ben Roethlisberger will play or not. If he doesn't, you can expect the public to be on the Ravens no matter what the number is (and it could be as high as 10, based on how Charlie Batch played in the loss to the Browns).
Wiseguys' view: The pro bettors aren't as likely to lay a lot of points with the Ravens, especially as we saw just two weeks ago that the Steelers covered the plus-3.5 against the Ravens with Byron Leftwich under center. But the sharps will need ample numbers to back Batch.
Tuley's Take: I'm in the same boat. This rivalry always seems to come down to a field goal, so points are at a premium, and before downgrading the Steelers too much for their loss to the Browns, let's not forget how the Ravens looked for 58 1/2 minutes against the Chargers. The pick: Steelers (hoping for plus-7.5 without Big Ben or at least plus-3.5 with him, but will clarify in the comments section after the line gets set).
Spread: Browns minus-1
Public consensus pick: N/A
SuperContestants: 131-63 in favor of Browns
Public perception: This game is still off the board most places, with Brandon Weeden trying to clear the concussion recovery phases, but some books have posted the Browns as a small road favorite. The public should be pretty split on this game, as neither has been getting much support.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps have done well with the Browns this year at 6-4-1 ATS, but the wiseguys also know the Browns are in the unfamiliar role of favorite. Of course, that's assuming this opening line stays that way.
Tuley's Take: Except for their spread-covering loss at Atlanta earlier this year, the Raiders have let me down several times. It's hard to back them at home, where their only win was an upset of the Steelers. The pick: Pass (pool play: Raiders).
Spread: Bengals minus-2
Public consensus pick: 64 percent picked Bengals
SuperContestants: 210-79 in favor of Bengals
Public perception: The Bengals continue to chase the Steelers and Colts in the wild-card race, and the public is starting to take notice. Of course, I've also heard more people than ever swear off ever betting the Chargers/Norv Turner again after last week's loss, so I think the public would side with any team against them this week.
Wiseguys' view: As scary as it is to back the Chargers in any way/shape/form, they're still a prime candidate to tease them over a full touchdown (giving more wiggle room if they find another crazy way to lose a close game). Some will choose to pair it with one of the aforementioned favorites (49ers, Broncos, Patriots), while others will just put it with the Raiders in the afternoon game for a dog teaser.
Tuley's Take: Both teams have burned me at various times this season, though the Bengals have justified my love more recently. I want to make the case for the Chargers as the short home dog but just can't pull the trigger. The pick: Pass (pool play: Chargers).