USA Today Sports

Thursday Night Football Betting: Bills at Browns

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-4, 40.5)

What had the makings of a lost season has evolved into a remarkable turnaround for the Cleveland Browns, who will seek their third consecutive victory when they host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. The Browns appeared to have raised the surrender flag after losing their first two games and trading away star running back Trent Richardson. Instead, third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer has guided Cleveland to two straight wins and into a tie atop the AFC North.

The Bills expected some growing pains with rookie E.J. Manuel as their starting quarterback, but they are coming off an impressive 23-20 home victory over Baltimore to get back to .500. Manuel struggled against the defending Super Bowl champions, but Buffalo rode an impressive ground game and stout defensive performance to stifle the Ravens. The Bills and Browns have split six all-time meetings, with Buffalo prevailing 24-14 in Cleveland last season.

TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

LINE: Cleveland opened as low as -3 and has moved to -4. The total opened at 41 and moved down to 40.5.

WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 70s with a 61 percent chance of thunder showers and winds blowing south at 6 mph.

COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Buffalo (+5.5) - Cleveland (+3.5) + home field (-3) = Browns -5

ABOUT THE BILLS (2-2, 3-1 ATS):
Buffalo has major injury concerns entering Thursday's matchup as running backs C.J. Spiller (ankle) and Fred Jackson (knee) were both hurt after combining for 164 yards on the ground against Baltimore. Jackson said he has a torn MCL in his left knee but expects to play while X-rays revealed no structural damage for Spiller, who will test the ankle before Thursday's game. Manuel threw for only 167 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions and a lost fumble, but Buffalo's defense collected four sacks and intercepted quarterback Joe Flacco five times, including two by rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-2, 2-2 ATS): First-year coach Rob Chudzinski is not about to tamper with a winning formula, saying he will stick with Hoyer at quarterback - "Certainly he's been the spark that I had hoped for," the coach said - even though 2012 first-round pick Brandon Weeden is ready to return after missing two games with a thumb injury. Hoyer has developed a great chemistry with tight end Jordan Cameron, who had 10 catches in Sunday's 17-6 win over Cincinnati and has 16 receptions and four touchdowns in the past two games. Cleveland's defense limited the Bengals to 266 total yards, including 63 on the ground in 20 attempts.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Bills are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Browns are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Under is 4-1 in Bills last five vs. AFC.

EXTRA POINTS:


1. The Bills held the Browns to 240 yards in last season's 24-16 win.

2. Hoyer is the first Cleveland QB to win his first two starts since Mark Rypien in 1994

3. Alonso is only the fourth linebacker in league history to intercept four passes in September, a list that includes Hall of Famer Jack Lambert and former Super Bowl MVP Chuck Howley.

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Posted by Guy_2U
9 months ago

Joe Flacco throws career-high five interceptions in Baltimore’s loss, something to think about why they lost to the Bill's.
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Posted by madulamaximus
9 months ago

Well Bills are not that good and Ravens are not that bad. Why it happened? I think it was an off day and more self inflicted on Flaccos part. One thing for sure Bills pass defense is not that superior.
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Posted by Cbucks123
9 months ago

Bills
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Posted by pickinperfecto
9 months ago

This pick has many uncertain. Not me. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to take Cleveland at home and the overs....heres why? Buffalo coming off a big home win and now ej manuel on the road. With ej and spiller and that star receiver they will score about 17 on the Dogpound defense of today. Clevelands Hoyer was diming in college and hasn't really got the opportunity he has now. All that time being overlooked and now an effective starter...I see hes relishing the opportunity. His receiving weapons were BCS big names. The running backs are by committee...with the veteran being Mcgahee...which is enough. The defense...nasty..top5 at least in nfl. They are only 2-2..but they will be a top topic of ESPN by days end...just because they will be 3-2......after starting 0-2 and trading top RB looking like sellers...now they will be sitting at number 1!!!!...for now. Overs because Bills weakness is pass defense...I feel it....I see Hoyer getting the swoon treatment of a great savior. Hoyer knows this is his time to shine...hes 3rd string so I know hes hungry. call me crazy but...an unexpected 42 point explosion Cleveland.....And a lucky 17 Bills. GL 2 ALL
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Top Response

Posted by Cbucks123
9 months ago

"Bills"