Steelers-Browns Odds, NFL Picks, Betting Preview, Predictions: When to Bet Cleveland in AFC North Showdown
Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger (left) and Baker Mayfield.
- Looking for Steelers vs. Browns odds? We've outlined the over/under and spread in our betting preview of this NFL matchup in Week 8.
- The Browns are still dealing with a slew of injuries, making it difficult to find value on this divisional showdown.
- Our analyst examines the matchup and odds to try and find a betting angle below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Steelers vs. Browns is a divisional matchup between two smash-mouth, offensively limited football teams.
Cleveland brings a 4-3 record into this one, while the rival Steelers sit at 3-3. Momentum is trending in opposite directions, though. The Browns have won just one of their last three, with the Steelers riding a two-game winning streak.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Steelers vs. Browns Injury Report
- TE Eric Ebron (hamstring): Out
- LB Melvin Ingram II (groin): Doubtful
- WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin): Out
- CB Denzel Ward (hamstring): Out
- S Richard LeCounte III (disciplinary): Out
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.: Questionable
- CB A.J. Green (groin): Questionable
- DE Jadaveon Clowney (ankle/knee/groin): Questionable
- DE Takkarist McKinley (groin): Questionable
- FB Johnny Stanton (calf): Questionable
Steelers vs. Browns Matchup
|Steelers Offense||DVOA Rank||Browns Defense|
|Steelers Defense||DVOA Rank||Browns Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Pittsburgh Offense Needs to Get Going
In a perfect world, this Steelers team would love to control games on the ground. They invested a top draft pick in running back Najee Harris, and 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger is 30th in the league in yards per attempt. Add in the loss of JuJu Smith-Schuster for the rest of the season, and this team needs to be driven by Harris.
Unfortunately, the Steelers offensive line has not been on board with those plans, ranking 30th in adjusted line-yards on the season. This has led to Harris getting only 1.9 yards before contact per attempt on the season.
Don’t expect that to be much better this week against the Browns’ third-ranked run defense. Pittsburgh will have to find a way to move the ball through the air to have offensive success in this one, which is a scary proposition.
The Steelers are hoping not to need much offense to win this week, though. They have a top-10 defense in DVOA and are taking on a banged-up Browns offense. This total is as low as it is (42) for a reason.
The Browns also prefer to run the ball, which sets up well for the Steelers, who are better defensively against the rush.
Browns Defense Matches Up Well vs. Steelers
The Browns are dealing with their own offensive struggles as of late.
Kareem Hunt is on the injured reserve, while Baker Mayfield has a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Nick Chubb has missed the past two weeks due to injury, but he’s expected to return.
Chubb will be the key to this one for Cleveland. If he’s at full strength, the Browns should find success running behind him. Chubb is second in both yards per attempt and yards per game on the season.
There’s some reason for optimism around the Browns’ passing attack, as well. This will be the first game that all three of Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry will play together this season. There are doubts about Mayfield’s effectiveness given the shoulder injury, though.
The Browns are one of the more noticeable pass-funnel defenses in the league with a top-three unit against the run and the league’s 23rd-ranked pass defense.
Usually, that’s the inverse of how teams want defenses built. However, it’s preferable against the Steelers, given the inefficiency of late-career Roethlisberger. The Browns also feature a top-five pass rush in adjusted sack rate-, which is especially helpful when attacking the Steelers’ porous offensive line and statuesque quarterback.
Steelers vs. Browns Picks
If the Browns were fully healthy this week, they’d be favored by at a least a touchdown for this game. It’s in Cleveland, and the Browns’ only losses on the year are to the Chargers, Cardinals and Chiefs. The Steelers’ wins (since a Week 1 upset over the Bills) are against the Broncos and Russell Wilson-less Seahawks.
With that said, 3.5 points is a bit much to lay on a team with the Browns questions. This line has come down from 4.5 throughout the week, but it’s still not enough value for me.
If we see it move on to 3, I’m all in. It’s a pass until then.
Pick: Pass | Bet to: Browns (-3) if available
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