The Week 2 Thursday Night Football battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) and the Cleveland Browns (1-1) will put one of these teams in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.
While the Steelers hold a 77-60-1 advantage in the series, the NFL odds are siding with the Cleveland Browns, listing the home team as the -4 favorite. Cleveland had opened a full point higher, but early action quickly drove the line down from -5 to -4.5, with many shops now holding steady at -4.
Neither of these teams has looked convincing on either side of the ball early into the season, and sub-par quarterback play sent both squads home with an “L” last weekend in win-able games.
“The betting action is pretty even at this point as the Steelers feel like a live dog,” shared BetOnline sportsbook manager Adam Burns. “But losing TJ Watt is a massive blow to that defense. That said, we may have a tighter spread if Mitch Trubisky wasn’t under center. Is tonight the night we see Kenny Pickett?”
Steelers vs Browns Betting Odds Via BetOnline
Steelers vs Browns Moneyline
- Steelers +175
- Browns -210
Steelers vs Browns Spread
- Steelers +4.5
- Browns -4.5
Steelers vs Browns Total
Current Steelers vs Browns Betting Split
- 51.7% of $ on Browns -4
- 62.7% of $ on Browns ML -205
- 54.5% of $ on OVER 38
Testing The Steelers Run Defense
After ranking 32nd in the league last season against the run, the Pittsburgh defense has shown some improvement, allowing 128.5 yards per game on the ground compared to the 143.8 they surrendered last season. While these numbers are improved, Pittsburgh still ranks 22nd in the league. The loss of T.J. Watt, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will only expose any weaknesses.
This improved average will be tested tonight, as Cleveland’s Nick Chubb has come out strong to start the season. Chubb has already picked up 228 yards over the first two games of the season, rushing for three touchdowns in the process. Kareem Hunt has added to this team’s rushing success, adding another touchdown and 104 yards to the Browns’ ground attack thus far in the season.
With all signals suggesting a slow and physical battle, the Browns look to have a solid edge in this matchup. Yet, even with the Steelers’ defensive concerns, the unit has largely been the reason the team has been competitive in their first two games of the season.
The plus-four turnover margin sees Pittsburgh tied for second place in the category, led largely by the unit’s four interceptions in Week 1 against Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
This could also factor in heavily tonight, as the Steelers are still struggling to find their new answer under center. Mitch Trubisky has gotten the call to start for this team, but his early struggles already have many questioning how long his number will remain atop the depth chart.
Trubisky is currently ranked 28th in passer ratings, and his 362 passing yards through two games only bests Justin Fields when compared to the rest of the NFL’s full-time starters.
Fortunately for Mitch, both Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett are expected to miss tonight’s game, relieving some of the rushing pressure and allowing him to feel somewhat more comfortable in the pocket.
Betting the under seems like the obvious play in this situation, but the total is already one of the lowest on the board.
Trubisky is playing for his job tonight, and he needs a safe, but effective outing. Cleveland will find success running the ball, but Pittsburgh manages to find a few openings to keep themselves in this game and within the number.
Bet the Steelers +4.5 if you can still find that number.