Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers MNF Odds, Betting Preview and Predictions
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers Odds, Betting Preview and Predictions
There will be no playoffs for the Cleveland Browns. They were eliminated from the proceedings on Sunday, the day before they were scheduled to take the field against division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers for Monday Night Football.
The Steelers, by contrast, remained in the hunt, but their playoff hopes hang by the slimmest of threads. A loss to the Browns would spell the end of their postseason hopes too.
The upshot of Sunday’s riveting round of action was most acutely felt in the betting. The Browns, who began the week as the 3-point road favorites emerged as the road underdogs by Monday morning. So swift and cut-throat was the reaction.
So, with Cleveland looking ahead to a meaningless couple of weeks will the Browns be up for this game? Or will the Steelers keep hope alive for another week?
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: Monday, January 3, 2022
Time: 8:15 PM ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Cleveland Browns Betting Preview
Cleveland’s postseason prospects were iffy going into Week 17 after they’d lost two on the trot and slipped to a 7-8 record. The Browns lost 16-14 to the Las Vegas Raiders and 24-22 to the Green Bay Packers in the last two weeks.
Several contests needed to go their way on Sunday to keep hope alive – one of which was a Cincinnati loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. That didn’t happen. The Bengals upset the Chiefs and, in so doing, they clinched the AFC North title. The final nail in Cleveland’s coffin came when the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon.
It’s been a tough season altogether for the Browns. Injuries and, more recently, covid-19, decimated the roster. However, the Browns were never quite right from the start of the season. A fact that raises the question of whether the expectations placed on them were too great.
Cleveland started the season as a so-called Super Bowl contender, only to fall out of contention two weeks before the end of the season. This also raises questions for the organization in the offseason. Where do the Browns go from here?
Cleveland’s main area of concern was the offense, which never seemed to launch under Baker Mayfield. The fourth-year quarterback faced big picture concerns in 2021 – specifically, his rookie contract nearing an end that put his future as a starter for the Browns on the line. Mayfield did succumb to several injuries that hindered his play. But some would argue his performance wasn’t good enough regardless of the injuries.
How the Browns see it remains to be seen. For now, the onus is on Mayfield in the last couple of weeks, even though the games are essentially meaningless. How the Browns finish will say a lot about Mayfield and his potential future as a starter.
Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview
The Steelers are still in contention, if only just. They’ve lost five of their last seven games, including a 36-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16 that saw Mike Tomlin’s slide slip to a 7-7-1 record.
If the Steelers hope to clinch a spot in the postseason, they must win out and hope things fall their way. Their last two games are against the Browns and then the Baltimore Ravens – the latter of which is still alive in the AFC race too despite its struggles.
The backstory to Pittsburgh’s Week 17 contest against the Browns, which is the final home game of the regular season, is Ben Roethlisberger’s potential retirement. The veteran quarterback has dropped hints that this might be his last season in the NFL. "Looking at the bigger picture," Roethlisberger told reporters Thursday, "I would say that all signs are pointing to this could be it."
Browns vs Steelers Odds
As mentioned above, the market for this game has flipped entirely. Going into Week 17, the Browns were installed as the firm road favorites across multiple sports betting platforms. When they were officially eliminated from contention, the line did an about-turn. So swiftly the market turned on Kevin Stefanski’s side that the line for this AFC North showdown dwindled to a pick’em by Sunday night. And it didn’t stop there. The trend against Cleveland continued into Monday morning, to the point that the Steelers are now favored at home.
At the time of writing, the Steelers are laying anywhere between 1 and 2 points on the NFL odds board, depending on the choice sportsbook. The game total is tipped at 42 points, up from 41 points in the lead up to the weekend.
Browns vs Steelers Betting Preview and Predictions
This is a must-win game for the Steelers. What’s more, if this is Big Ben’s last game at Heinz Field, then the hope amongst sentimentalists is that the veteran goes out on a high. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. Roethlisberger has dominated the Browns over his career, so losing to them on primetime Monday Night Football wouldn’t be a fitting end to his legacy or the right way to bid adieu to his fans in a packed Heinz Field stadium.
The Steelers beat the Browns 15-10 earlier this season. It was a slugfest and a tough win, but the Steelers eked the victory nonetheless. As the Steelers attempt to sweep the series, the emotion of the occasion could tip the scale in their favor. The odds certainly have gone Pittsburgh’s way.
Of course, not everything goes to plan. A lot depends on whether the Browns will get up for this game and how well Mayfield plays as well. It’s impossible to predict, but the disappointment of having their season come to end could be too great to overcome in time for this game.
NFL Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers -1
Nikki Adams is a freelance sports writer that’s honed in on the world of sports betting. She joined OddsChecker in 2021 after having covered a number of major American sports, including NFL and NCAAF, for several other publications in the industry. When she’s not looking for the best betting angles and writing engaging and insightful articles, she’s likely on a tennis court or binging on reality TV.