Browns vs. Steelers Predictions: Odds, Totals, Player Details, Picks, Trends, Thursday Night Football Stream

The Browns and Steelers will begin Week 3 when these AFC North rivals meet on Thursday Night Football. Both teams suffered winnable losses in Week 2. Pittsburgh scored a second-half touchdown to give New England the win. Meanwhile, the Browns are coming off a complete meltdown against the Jets, where they blew a 30-17 lead with less than two minutes left in regulation. Needless to say, both of these clubs are probably excited to get to Week 3 and leave last week in the dust as quickly as possible.

Here we will specifically look at the different betting angles that this game offers. Along with the spread and total, we’ll also look at a few player stats and give our picks for how we see this matchup unfolding in prime time.

All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.

How to watch

Date: Thursday, September 22 | time: 8:15 PM ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio)
Flow:
Amazon Prime Video
Follow: The CBS Sports app
Odds: Brown -4.5, O/U 38.5

Line movement

Back in the spring when this line was first introduced, the Browns were a 3.5-point favorite, and that figure held up all summer, but dropped to -3 after Week 1. After Week 2, that changed a lot and the Browns are now the 3-1 favorite. 4.5 points and have even been 5-point favorites at times in the week leading up to this Thursday matchup.

Sample: Brown -4.5 (+100). Cleveland is expected to have star pass rusher Myles Garrett in that game, which is bad news for Mitch Trubisky as he tries to hang on to his starting job in Pittsburgh. The stage is set for the Browns to take an early lead at home on a short week against a traveling Steelers team, then rely heavily on the run to pull out a win. Those opportunities for success on the ground increase as right tackle Jack Conklin is also slated to make his season debut after missing the first two weeks. Pittsburgh currently ranks 18th in the NFL in DVOA against the Browns’ offense. If they can step up and force the Steelers to use a more passing game script, they can allow Garrett to take the first position against Trubisky, likely forcing him to commit at least one loss.

A key trend: Browns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games.

More/less common

This total opened at 40.5 prior to week 2 and has declined rapidly this week after briefly rising to 41 on Monday. It dropped to 37.5 and now stands at 38.5 ahead of this divisional showdown.

Sample: Up to 19 total points 1H (-110). If I had to pick a total for this game as a whole, I’d lean lower, but I’d rather go with the Under 19 1H points here. The Browns’ advantage will be to control the clock and keep the ground game going in our favor, and the Steelers have shown a reluctance to throw the ball downfield with Trubisky. The game could force them to make those attempts in the second half, so it’s a good way to avoid that scenario by focusing on the first two quarters.

A key trend: Under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between these teams in Cleveland.

Props to Mitch Trubisky

  • Touchdown Passes: 0.5 (over -274, less than +190)
  • Passing Yards: 199.5 (More +102, less -139)
  • Rushing yards: 12.5 (Over +100, under -137)
  • Pass attempts: 31.5 (Over -131, Under -104)
  • Longest pass: 31.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
  • Finishing work: 20.5 (Over +118, under -163)
  • Interception: 0.5 (Over -129, under -106)

Over 0.5 interceptions at -129 is good value here for Trubisky, who threw a peak last week against New England. He’ll face a pass rush led by DPOY candidate Myles Garrett that could force him to rush some throws and step into risky windows. I also think the Browns are set to get the upper hand in this divisional matchup, which will force Pittsburgh to run a game script that will force Trubisky to push the ball down the field, something he hasn’t been comfortable with so far with the Steelers . With rookie Kenny Pickett breathing down his neck, Trubisky can also force some of those he wouldn’t otherwise want to hopefully hang onto his job for at least another week.

Similarly, Trubisky over his 31.5 pass attempts is also weak, especially if we believe they will be behind and forced to throw the ball more. He’s also topped that mark in both of his games this season, including last week’s game against the Patriots that produced just 31 points.

head shot

  • Touchdown Passes: 1.5 (Over +190, under -274)
  • Passing Yards: 187.5 (More -104, Less -131)
  • Rushing yards: 12.5 (Over -111, Under -123)
  • Pass attempts: 31.5 (Over -131, Under -104)
  • Longest pass: 31.5 (Over +100, under -137)
  • Finishing work: 16.5 (Over -139, under +102)
  • Interception: 0.5 (Over +108, under -148)

In the first two games of the season, Brissett has seen 10 rushing attempts and topped his 12.5-yard mark once, which came last week on a 43-yarder against New York. If he averages a few carries per game, going over 12.5 total yards isn’t a bad shot. However, pass attempts to 31.5 is the most popular game, however -104. Cleveland’s offense is focused on running the football, and they should be able to do that against Pittsburgh’s so-so defense. If they get an early lead, they can rely on that running game to cruise to victory without putting the ball in Brissett’s hands too much.

Player details to consider

Kareem Hunt’s Total Attempts: Over 9.5 (-157). Hunt has seen double-digit carries in both games this season and is the 1B in this offense behind Nick Chubb, so he will still see plenty of work out of the backfield against a mediocre Steelers defense. Since joining the Browns in 2019, Hunt has played in 34 regular season games. He had double-digit carries in 20 of those games. If you only go back to 2020, it rushes more than 9.5 times 77% of the time.

Nick Chubb’s Total Rushing Yards: Over 84.5 (-129). As we noted with Hunt, the ground game is the centerpiece of Cleveland’s offense, and Chubb is the main attraction. He surpassed that total in each of his previous two games and surpassed it in half of his games in 2021. The Steelers defense is traveling on a short week and just faced a Patriots backfield that averaged 4.9 yards per back carry.

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