Browns Dolphins Spread Line and Betting Predictions

The Cleveland Browns were finally on the other end of a hard-luck loss last week. After heartbreakers against Jacksonville and the Jets the past two weeks, Cleveland squeaked by the league’s worst team, as John Kasay missed a last second field goal for Carolina, giving the Browns a 24-23 win. Cleveland certainly did all they could to lose the game, but try as they might, Carolina couldn’t capitalize. The major culprit for the Browns’ near slip was Jake Delhomme, who returned as the starting quarterback after rookie Colt McCoy was sidelined with an injury. Delhomme looked decent if not dazzling in the first half, but his first two throws after halftime were interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. This week, the Browns face a much less charitable squad in Miami, who will certainly make Delhomme and the Browns pay for any mistakes. It looks like Delhomme will get the start again this week, which must have the Dolphin defensive backs salivating with anticipation. Sitting at 4-7, Cleveland is not in the discussion for a playoff spot, but could certainly thrive in their role as spoiler. They have already defeated two of the top teams in the NFL, New England and New Orleans, and did so in convincing fashion. Combine that with an overtime loss to the Jets that should have been a tie if not for some questionable play-calling, and the Browns have proven that despite their record, they can compete with anyone. A large part of this is due to the emergence of running back Peyton Hillis, who has taken the football world by storm this year with his battering ram style of rushing. A quick look at the highlights from last week, in which Hillis scored three times in the first half should convert any non-believers. Don’t look now, but Manning may have some competition as the league’s best Peyton.

Miami salvaged their floundering playoff hopes, at least temporarily, with a big win against Oakland last week. They now sit at 6-5, and with the guarantee that either the Steelers or Ravens will fall to 8-4 after this week (barring a tie), a win would put them one game back of the second wildcard spot in the AFC. One would think that Miami would have a big advantage playing at home this week, but the Dolphins are actually one of those unique teams that play better on the road. When they have to stay in a hotel, they are 5-1, good enough for the second best road record in the league. Unfortunately, when they play in Miami, they are an embarrassing 1-4, which is the primary reason they are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Miami was thrilled to have Chad Henne back under the helm, as he threw for over 300 yards, 2 touchdowns, and had a QB rating a shade over 100. This was a considerable improvement over Tyler Thigpen, who was shutout against the Bears the week before in Henne’s absence. Despite Henne’s strong play, Miami will only be consistently successful if their run game is flowing, and it has been seemingly stalled all season. Finally last week Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams broke out, with the two combining for 170 rushing yards. Henne will greatly benefit if opposing defenses are forced to sell out to the run more often, leaving more one-on-one matchups downfield.

This is an interesting game, as one never knows which Browns team is going to show up to play. Cleveland struggles on the road at 1-4, but Miami’s home record is identical in its futility. Although hardly flashy, the loss of Colt McCoy could really hurt Cleveland. Sure, he never single-handedly won a game for the Browns, but he is a careful game manager that didn’t give up too many negative plays. He definitely is more careful with his throws than old timer Jake Delhomme, who currently sports a 1:6 TD to interception ratio on the season. Miami’s defense should be able to stack the box against Hillis, but other teams that have done this haven’t found a ton of success, as Hillis is quite possibly half rhinoceros. Miami is probably the more desperate team here, as they have a somewhat legitimate shot at the postseason, especially if they can find a way to beat the Jets next week, because after that they play Buffalo, Detroit, so could theoretically be at 9 or 10 wins entering their final week showdown with New England. Cleveland is playing mostly for pride, but they have not been an easy win for anyone this season.

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Browns vs Dolphins Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:

Cleveland Browns +5
@ Indianapolis Colts -5

Game Total:

Over (-110)
43
Under (-110)

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Browns vs Dolphins Betting Predictions/Picks for Week 13

Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY): With both teams needing to emphasize their ground games, and neither team averaging 20 points per week, the under seems like the appropriate play here. The Browns will be looking to control the clock with Hillis, and the Dolphins aren’t known for their explosive scoring either. Both defenses are among the better in the league, with neither allowing more than 21 points. Following a Dolphin’s win of 14 points or more, the Under is 6-1, and 20-9 after a straight up Miami win. Although the line is pretty low, the Under is the smart play here.

Pick: Under 43 (TOP PLAY)

Spread Prediction: The Browns will go as far as Hillis is able to take them in this game. I’d expect Eric Mangini’s game plan to be: hand it off to Hillis, and when you can’t do that, throw it to Hillis. The Browns don’t have any real threats in the receiving game aside from the occasional flash of skill from Mohammed Massaquoi, and Delhomme’s arm doesn’t exactly make any receiver look better than he is. The Dolphins are fantastic against the pass, allowing the 4th fewest passing yards per game with 201.4. This means that Cleveland will be in run mode even moreso than usual, so look for Hillis to get upwards of 25 touches in this one. The Browns are in the middle of the pack in both passing and rushing defense, so Miami should be able to bring a balanced attack in this one. Miami is hopeful that Brandon Marshall will be back after missing the last two weeks. He did practice on Wednesday, so it is looking likely. Marshall needs to get more involved in the red zone, as he has only 1 touchdown the entire year. This should be a close game, as even in their losses, the Browns never get blown out. Neither team has the offensive prowess to blow the other one out the water, so I’m expecting careful play calling and lots of running on both sides. Miami’s home record is pretty shocking, and the Browns are a very tough, physical team. They are 6-0 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 10 points, and 10-3-1 as an underdog overall. Miami are only 10-28 ATS as a favorite. I like Cleveland to cover, and even squeak out a straight up win.

Pick: Browns +5

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