Thursday Night Football Betting Preview: Steelers At Browns
When the NFL schedule was released this spring, the Week 11 matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the host Cleveland Browns was considered one of the premier games of the Thursday night season.
That was when the Browns’ hyperbole was at its apex. The Browns were an early betting darling. After a strong finish in 2018 and a productive offseason highlighted by the trade for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns were the betting favorite to win the AFC North and had 16-1 odds in Super Bowl betting.
Of course, as we head to the stretch run of the NFL season, these Browns have been much more similar to the Browns we are accustomed to and not what the Browns were expected to be in 2019.
Cleveland is a major disappointment at 3-6. The Browns beat the Buffalo Bills 19-16 Sunday to snap a four-game losing skid.
Still, Cleveland is a 2.5-point favorite at most sportsbooks. The total is 40. Cleveland is -155 on the moneyline, while the Steelers are +125 on the moneyline.
You can compare the latest Steelers-Browns odds from top sportsbooks here.
Besides the expectations of the Browns, this Week 11 matchup was highly anticipated because of the Browns’ opponent. Of course, the Steelers are always a factor in the AFC.
Remarkably, they are still a factor this season after the early-season loss of star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Fueled by a young, strong defense, the Steelers have turned around from the loss of Big Ben and an 0-3 and 1-4 start. Pittsburgh has won four straight games and is 5-4 and are on pace to make the playoffs.
Let’s look at some key betting aspects of this game:
Betting Steelers-Browns Against the Spread
Despite their lackluster play this season, the Browns are still getting the benefit of the doubt from the oddsmakers who backed them before the season. Cleveland is a 2.5-point favorite over the Steelers despite Pittsburgh having won four straight games and the Browns just snapping a four-game losing skid.
It’s the second straight week the Browns have been a surprising favorite. They were a 4-point favorite over the Buffalo Bills at home in Week 10. That point spread surprised many since the Browns were 2-6 and the Bills were 6-2. Of course, the Browns ended up beating the Bills by three points, proving the oddsmakers correct.
Once again, the Browns are a home favorite despite playing an opponent with a much better record. Of course, the home team gets a three-point bump, so the oddsmakers are expressing these two teams are about even.
Certainly, talent-wise, the Browns can go toe-to-toe with the Roethlisberger-less Steelers. But the Steelers are getting great defensive play that is producing much more than the Browns, so this point spread seems a bit off.
Steelers-Browns Moneyline Betting
The Browns are -155 on the moneyline, while the Steelers are +125. The strong value here is on the Steelers. Getting +125 on a team that has won four straight games is unusual and has to be enticing to bettors.
I get why the Browns are the favorite, even though I don’t agree with it. But those -155 seems high for a three-win team. Again, the price here indicates oddsmakers’ continued faith in the Browns.
Steelers-Browns Over/Under Betting
The total of 40 points is based on both the Steelers’ defense and the Browns’ offense. The Steelers are allowing an average of 16.7 points during their four-game winning streak. The strong Los Angeles Rams’ offense was held to just 12 points Sunday as Pittsburgh won 17-12.
The Steelers’ defense has been suffocating and it has been harassing quarterbacks. The defense has taken a huge step forward in Pittsburgh since its trade for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from Miami early in the season. The Steelers are 5-2 since the trade.
Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has struggled all season, will have to account for Fitzpatrick and the Pittsburgh defense. The Browns are averaging 19 points a game. They will be challenged to get to that total against this Pittsburgh defense.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are expecting the return of top running back James Conner for this game. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Pittsburgh has averaged 21.4 points this season. So, on all accounts, this short total appears to be priced correctly.
Steelers-Browns Notable Prop Bets
- Steelers And Under (+250)
- Browns And Over (+240)
- Steelers -1.5 Points (+140)
- Under 35 (+170)
- Browns Under 20.5 (-118)