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Ravens give QB DeShone Kizer, Browns bettors a headache

Updated September 17, 2017 - 9:47 pm

DeShone Kizer didn’t even make it to halftime of his second start for the long-suffering Browns before he couldn’t take it anymore.

Cleveland’s rookie quarterback left Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Ravens in the second quarter with a migraine.

“That’s not a good sign,” said South Point sports book director Chris Andrews, who’d never heard of a NFL quarterback leaving a game because of a migraine.

When Kizer returned in the second half, he gave Browns bettors a headache, throwing two of his three interceptions, including one in the end zone from the 5-yard line.

Despite five turnovers by Cleveland, a 7½-point underdog, it was driving for a possible back-door cover before turning it over on downs at the Baltimore 23 with 32 seconds left.

Betting against the Browns and other perceived bad teams has been a popular trend among the public in recent years.

“The conversations around the book are about who the worst teams are rather than the best,” Boyd Gaming sports book director Bob Scucci said. “Are the Jets worse than the Niners? Are the Colts worse than the Jets? They love betting against these teams.”

Andrews said he started seeing the trend the past two years.

“There’s mostly parity in the NFL but there are a few teams that are really bad and we just can’t get them to bet on them,” he said. “The wiseguys will bet them but only at outrageous numbers like what we had today with the Jets and 49ers.”

Sharp bettors lost with New York, which was a 14-point underdog in a 45-20 loss to the Raiders. But they won with San Francisco, which easily covered as a 13½-point underdog in a 12-9 loss to the Seahawks.

The 49ers and Bengals have yet to score a touchdown this season and Seattle has only one.

“Right now, we have to stop and think maybe we had the Seahawks overrated. There’s a very good chance of that. They have some offensive line problems,” Andrews said. “You’ve got to love Russell Wilson but I’m not sure how much talent is around him.”

Andrews and Scucci agree that the Jets, 0-2 against the spread this season, are the worst team in the NFL, followed by the Colts, Niners and Browns.

They rank the Patriots as the league’s best team again after they bounced back in a big way with a 36-20 win and cover over the Saints as 6-point favorites. Tom Brady threw three TD passes in the first quarter and finished with 447 yards passing as the public beat the books in the biggest decision of the day.

“New Orleans can’t stop anybody,” Andrews said.

Bills go to 2-0 ATS

The books also lost on the Steelers, who beat the Vikings 26-9 to cover a spread that shot up from Pittsburgh minus-7 to minus-10 with the news Sunday morning that Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford was out with a knee injury.

“They didn’t think much of (backup QB) Case Keenum,” Andrews said.

The books and sharps also lost on the Eagles, who were getting 4½ points from the Chiefs in a 27-20 loss. Philadelphia recovered an onside kick following a Carson Wentz TD pass with eight seconds left. But Wentz’s Hail Mary try fell incomplete as time ran out.

Boxing judge Adalaide Byrd had the Eagles way ahead on her scorecard. But Kansas City was ruled the winner.

The Bills are 2-0 ATS after covering as 6½-point underdogs in a 9-3 loss to Carolina. The Panthers appeared primed to cover when they had a first-and-goal at the 1 with 4:06 left and a 6-3 lead. But they had to settle for a field goal after Jonathan Stewart was stuffed twice for a 1-yard loss and a still-rusty Cam Newton overshot an open Christian McCaffrey at the goal line.

The Bills and Colts — who covered as 6½-point underdogs in a 16-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals — were the only two underdogs to cover in the morning games as favorites went 6-2 ATS. Favorites went 2-4 the rest of the day as the Dolphins, Redskins, Broncos and 49ers covered as underdogs.

“The afternoon games really bailed us out and prevented a total Armageddon for sports books,” Scucci said before Atlanta’s 34-23 win over Green Bay on Sunday night. “At best, for us, it will be a break-even day, depending on the outcome of Packers-Falcons. The best scenario is if it goes under.”

The game went over the total of 55½, but neither Andrews nor Scucci complained of a migraine.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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