Two division rivals meet next Sunday. Both teams have the same record — four wins, six losses.
As of Monday, the home team is favored at multiple Nevada sportsbooks, according to “The Linemakers” of Sporting News.
Not a big deal, and not especially surprising, right?
Well, when the two teams in question are the Browns and Steelers — and Cleveland is the favored team — well, then it’s kind of interesting.
After all, the Browns have not been favored against the Steelers in 10 years, according to data from Marc Lawrence’s 2013 College and Pro Football Stat and Log Book, a point spread archive. The Steelers were last underdogs to the Browns on November 23, 2003, when Pittsburgh, a three-point underdog, prevailed 13-6 in Cleveland.
In short, if the Browns close as favorites this Sunday, 10 years and one day will have passed since the last time Cleveland wasn’t an underdog to Pittsburgh.
Also, it would mark only the second time the Browns have been favored against the Steelers since returning to NFL play in 1999, according to data from the Jim Feist point spread archives, which covers years 1999-2002 for our purposes.
As of this writing, the Browns are most commonly 1.5- or 2-point favorites over Pittsburgh in Nevada.