NFL Live Betting Week 3: How We Live Bet Steelers vs Browns on Thursday Night Football
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Mitch Trubisky, Anthony Walker Jr.
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
The primary benefit of this is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games will tend to produce more points.
And the Steelers have been one of the more fruitful NFL live betting teams over the past couple of seasons. They have a fairly obvious pace tendency that continues to hold true that we’ll get into below.
With all that in mind, here’s how we set out to approach NFL live betting for Steelers-Browns on Thursday Night Football, plus the live bets we made.
2 NFL Live Betting Scenarios We Live Bet in Steelers-Browns on Monday Night Football
1) Second Half Overs
Taking the over in Steelers games at or around halftime is a near automatic play for me. In 2021, they played nearly five seconds faster in the second half of games than the first — despite being a 9-7-1 team.
When we see those splits with teams who had bad records, we can generally chalk it up to playing from behind. That’s not the case with Pittsburgh, which was middle of the pack in average time trailing by seven or more.
This has only increased through the first two weeks of 2022, with Pittsburgh’s gap now over six seconds — despite, again, being slightly below average in time spent trailing.
Therefore, I was looking to hammer the over at halftime, but under a couple of conditions. First, I ideally wanted the number at or better than the pregame total of 38. Second, I would have looked to lay off if the Browns had a big lead. They could look to run the clock out in the second half if they’re in control.
Well, the first half didn’t go as anticipated, with a surprising level of competence from both offenses. However, at the break I decided to trust my pregame analysis and take the live over. Weather conditions were slowly improving in Cleveland, and both teams were expected to continue to be aggressive given the close score.
The best line I could find was 46.5. I got that at -120 on my over bet, and I’m not going to lie to you — that didn’t necessarily end up being the best line. In live betting, numbers move quickly! Just a few seconds later, over 46.5 was -106 at FanDuel, and PointsBet even posted a 46 at -107.
It was a good reminder of just how fluid these markets can be live. Remember: Shop around as much as you can.
2) Player Props — Steelers Leading
As always, I started my hunt for player props by looking at the ActionLabs Props Tool for lines we showed a pregame value on. From there, we look for situations where elements of the game make those even more likely.
This was a bit of a tough one on the first front, with some earlier value we’d shown getting sucked out by moving lines. One prop still showing some pregame value was Donovan Peoples-Jones receptions, at over 2.5.
At halftime, that same line was +135, and that was a live bet we’ll take — Donovan Peoples-Jones over 2.5 receptions. Cleveland attempted 22 passes in the first half, with three of them going his way. Even if he’d seen just three more targets, it was likelier than not that he’d catch two of them. That was the logic, anyway.
The same logic applied to the over on Jacoby Brissett rushing yards. While we generally correlate rushing yards to the player’s team being ahead, it’s different with quarterbacks. The bulk of Brissett’s rushing production comes on scrambles — plays originally called as a pass. His pregame line was 13.5, and if it moved down significantly, we were ready to pounce.
At the start of the second half, the opportunity arose. With three yards rushing already, Brissett’s live rushing total moved down to 6.5, with the over at -106. That was another live prop bet we were happy to make.
1 Other NFL Live Betting Scenario We Were Watching For in Thursday Night Football
Player Props — Browns Leading
We were also looking for an opportunity to take the under on Najee Harris rushing yards. We had him projected almost exactly at his 54.5 line, but that line went up significantly when he had a big first half.
The Steelers’ second-half pace has been partially the result of abandoning the run game down the stretch, particularly if they fall behind or the game is close. Harris is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry this season, a yard less than 2021.
And we’re not alone in live betting the NFL this season at Action Network! At halftime of every Thursday and Monday Night Football game, my predictive analytics colleague, Nick Giffen, will be live on “Bet What Happens Live With Dr. Nick!”, so be sure to check out the show.