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Week 3 is here and the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers get us started. Ben Rajavuori shares his Thursday Night Football teaser.
ANALYSIS

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction Bank On This Teaser for Thursday Night Football

After two electric Thursday night football matchups with four super bowl contenders, the NFL starts off week three with... the Steelers and Browns. While it may not be the barn burner we have experienced in weeks one and two, it's football. That being said, there are still plenty of bets and angles for tonight's game, even if it won't be enjoyable from a fan's perspective. The total is only 38 for tonight's game, which is one of the lowest totals we will likely see all year. So what is the best way to bet on this game?

Since the 2017 season, there have only been 38 games with a total set at 38 or below. Those 38 games have seen 25 of them go under the low bar. In the last 15 games with a total at 38 or below, 13 of them have gone under. Usually, these low totals are sparked by bad weather mixed with good defenses. Tonight, we get the trifecta, as we have windy weather, two good defenses, and two bad quarterbacks.

Browns vs. Steelers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: September 22, 2022
  • Game Time: 8:15 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

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Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Prediction

Jacoby Brissett and Mitch Trubisky are both below-average quarterbacks, and everyone can agree on that. The Browns were just beat by the Jets at home 31-30 due to a late comeback sparked by Nick Chubb deciding to run into the end zone late in the fourth quarter instead of kneeling the game out. The week before that, the Browns barely eeked out a 26-24 win over their former quarterback Baker Mayfield and an underwhelming Panthers team. The Steelers also sit at 1-1 after losing at home to the Patriots 17-14. Trubisky has been serviceable but not great. Even the week one win could be attributed to the defense, as Minkah Fitzpatrick scored a pick-six off a Burrow interception, and the Steeler's defense as a whole forced five turnovers. Even with five turnovers and a pick-six, the Steelers scored 23 points.

The Steelers' offense has been utterly awful, and a change to rookie Kenny Pickett could be around the corner. Through two games, the Steelers rank 31st in yards per play, 31st in first downs per game, 32nd in yards per passing attempt, and 25th in dropback success rate. Trubisky has just a 63.4 passer rating when under pressure, and he is sure to get it tonight against an elite Browns defensive line, even without Jadeveon Clowney.

The Browns' offense, on paper, has been much better than the Steelers, but look at who they played. The Browns have played two of the worst teams in the league with two horrible defenses in the Panthers and Jets. Most of the success that is coming on offense for the Browns has been from star running back duo Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. The two are the most productive running back duo in the league, and the offense runs through them first, especially while Jacoby Brissett is still under center. The duo has combined for exactly 400 yards through the ground and air through the first two games, which accounts for over half of the Brown's 760 total yards of offense this season.

With heavy winds, below-average quarterbacks, and two excellent defenses, I expect this game to be under the low total of 38. Yes, TJ Watt is out for the Steelers, but they did just fine against the Patriots without him. Clowney is out for the Browns, but they still have Myles Garett and a solid secondary. I don't see either team being beaten through the air. This game will be played where both teams are most successful: on the ground. Najee Harris, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb will be the best offensive players on the field tonight, and their usage should be high with the weather conditions. Heavy doses of rush attempts will keep the clock running and prolong drives, which favors the under.

Aside from all that, primetime games have been going under the total at an alarming rate. The under is already 6-1 in primetime this season, and the only over that hit was by the hook when the Bills and Titans game ended at 48 with a total of 47.5. Until the trend starts regressing to the mean, I will lean towards the under in primetime every game. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If the under is a little too scary for you, this bet is for you because we get 6.5 points of a buffer. I am teasing the under with the Steelers +10.5. Mike Tomlin is exceptional in the underdog role, especially in divisional games. Tomlin is 20-6-2 as a divisional underdog. He is also 16-7 as a dog after a loss. I'm not usually one to invest heavily in trends, but this trend sticks because of how good a coach Mike Tomlin is. However, this is a much worse offense that Tomlin is coaching now than in years past, which is why I like catching the extra 6.5 in this spot. In what will be a slow, back-and-forth game, I doubt either team is winning by more than 10, which makes teasing the Steelers a smart bet.

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Pick

Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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