Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns Odds, Analysis, NFL Betting Pick

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) in an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Fred Vuich/Associated Press

Pittsburgh absolutely owns the rivalry with Cleveland, winning 24 of the last 27 meetings outright and going 6-2-1 against the spread over the last nine. The Steelers are lined as big road chalk for their season opener against the Browns on Sunday afternoon at First Energy Stadium.


NFL point spread: The Steelers opened as 8.5-point favorites; the total was 47 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 22.3-18.2 Browns (NFL picks on every game)


Why the Steelers can cover the spread

Pittsburgh finished 11-5 last season to win the AFC North. The Steelers then beat the Chiefs in Kansas City in the divisional round of the playoffs, before falling at New England in the AFC Championship Game.

Heading into this season, Pittsburgh is priced as a -150 favorite to win the AFC North again. The Steelers are also the second favorite on the AFC championship board at +525 and the third choice on the Super Bowl board at +1000.

Pittsburgh ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense last season, averaging 373 yards per game, and 12th in total defense at 343 yards per game. And there's no reason to believe the Steelers can't improve upon both those figures this season.


Why the Browns can cover the spread

Cleveland started 0-14 last year, and finished 1-15. But the Browns lost five games by a total of 19 points, and four games in which they led or were tied for the lead in the fourth quarter.

This year the Browns are being offered at +2500 to win the AFC North, +10000 to win the AFC and +30000 to win the Super Bowl. Are any of those propositions worth a wager? Probably not. But they're also playing against a wins over/under of five, and with any change in luck, they could play over.

Cleveland ranked 30th in total offense last season at 311 yards per game and 31st in total defense, allowing 383 yards per game. But while the Browns might not be able to improve upon on that offensive figure this year, they're almost certain to improve upon that defensive figure.


Smart pick

Pittsburgh swept the season series from the Browns last year, first winning in Cleveland 24-9, covering at -8, then at Heinz Field 27-24 in overtime. And the Steelers won that second meeting despite resting many starters because its playoff seeding had already been determined.

How much has changed since last season? Not a whole lot. Also, the Browns are starting a rookie at quarterback, and not everybody is Dak Prescott. Smart money here on the Vegas lines sides with the Steelers.


NFL betting trends

The Steelers are 24-3 SU in their last 27 games against the Browns.

The Steelers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against the Browns.

The Browns are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games in the early afternoon.


All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.