So Week 6 action at FirstEnergy Stadium has the OddsShark prediction computer deadlocked at 22 and has handicappers perplexed on whether to believe in the surging Lions or the surprising Browns.
Point spread: Lions opened as 1.5-point favorites; the total was 45.5 (line updates and matchup report).
Computer Prediction: 22.2-22.1 Lions
Why the Lions can cover the spread
After missing the loss to Green Bay, all-world wide receiver Calvin Johnson is expected to return this weekend. Without him, the Detroit offense looked lost and didn't reach the end zone against the Packers until the game had been decided. With Johnson, the Lions averaged 30 points through their first four games.
Also, the Detroit defense managed to limit the high-powered Packers to a single offensive touchdown.
Why the Browns can cover
Cleveland has won three games in a row to grab a share of first place in its division. After tallying just 16 points through their first two games, the Browns have scored 85 points in their last three. And the Cleveland defense ranks fourth overall and eighth versus the run. The Browns will also be working on a couple extra days off after beating Buffalo last Thursday night.
The Browns have proven to be a tough home underdog, winning four of five straight up in this situation, and the Lions are money losers on the highway at 3-12-1 against the spread in their past 16 road games.
The OddsShark computer is predicting Detroit to win a very close game, and as long as Johnson plays, it’s a believable scenario. Johnson is a real difference-maker, and newcomer Reggie Bush has been providing a spark, too.
Cleveland rides a winning streak, but lost at least some of its recent spark when quarterback Brian Hoyer went down with a knee injury last week. The smart money is coming in on Detroit.
Lions: 3-12-1 ATS past 16 road games
Browns: 4-1 SU past five as home underdog