On the other hand, Pittsburgh checks in on a 4-1 against-the-spread run, both at home and in the division this season.
Point spread: Steelers opened as six-point favorites; the total was 44. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 21.5-16.5 Steelers
Why the Browns can cover the spread
Revenge is always a good reason when AFC North teams get together. In each of Cleveland's other series this year with division foes, it has split out against the Ravens and Bengals. With a stronger effort defensively, against a team that has seemingly lost its effectiveness on offense thanks to a makeshift offensive line, the Browns would love nothing more than to play the spoiler role in Steeltown.
It would ruin Pittsburgh's already bleak playoff hopes.
Why the Steelers can cover the spread
The Steelers may not be very good this year, but their playoff hopes are alive—by the slimmest of margins—and they still know how to deliver punishment to the opposition. Big Ben Roethlisberger is still a winner of two Super Bowl and is experienced in must-win situations.
Since their 0-4 start to the season, the Steelers split their next four games and are now on a 5-2 run heading into this season and home finale.
There's not much to expect from the Browns this week, so don't expect to see them put up much of a fight knowing they can secure the No. 2 spot in next year's draft. Cleveland's season has long been over, and as long as Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin know they have a chance to extend their season, you can expect to see plenty of fight in this team.
They say everything happens for a reason, and everything that needed to happen last weekend did for Pittsburgh. They have a chance, and covering this number should not be a problem as they extend a pair of important 4-1 ATS streaks.
- Browns are 3-24 SU past 27 games versus Steelers
- Browns are 3-22 SU past 25 road games
- Steelers are 4-1 ATS past five home games
- Steelers are 4-1 ATS within division so far in 2013