Steelers vs. Browns Odds & Picks: Comprehensive Guide to Betting TNF

Steelers vs. Browns Odds & Picks: Comprehensive Guide to Betting TNF article feature image

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield, JuJu Smith-Schuster

  • Our experts analyze Thursday Night Football featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns.
  • Find betting odds, our staff's picks, analysis of the biggest mismatches and more below.

Steelers at Browns Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Browns -2.5
  • Over/Under: 41
  • Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network

Odds as of Wednesday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are winners of four straight while the Cleveland Browns are coming off a victory that snapped their four-loss streak.

But who should you back on Thursday Night Football?

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and staff picks.

Steelers-Browns Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Steelers

James Conner (shoulder) is back to practicing in full, so he should be ready to roll on Thursday night. Offensive lineman Ramon Foster (concussion) could be slated to return as well after returning to limited practices this week. However, he still needs to clear the concussion protocol.

The biggest absence for the Browns is defensive end Olivier Vernon (knee), who was ruled out. He’s the second-highest graded defender on their defense, and is second on the team in pressures and hurries, per Pro Football Focus. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Wednesday evening. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

colts-vs-steelers-betting-odds-picks-week 9-2019
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Biggest Mismatch

Steelers RBs vs. Browns Run Defense

The return Conner would provide the Steelers with a key chess piece for their run-heavy game script — Jaylen Samuels, Tony Brooks-James and Trey Edmunds struggled mightily against the Rams’ third-best run defense with a minuscule 1.6 yards per carry average.

Pittsburgh should fare much better against a Cleveland defense that’s allowing opposing running backs an average of 4.9 yards per carry. Before his injury, Conner had exceeded 100 total yards in three of four games, and had scored five touchdowns in his previous four contests.

The Browns will also need to limit the exceptional pass-catching prowess of the Steelers running backs. Cleveland has allowed almost five receptions and more than 40 receiving yards per game to opposing backs. Samuels’ exceptional pass-catching ability has drawn him 20 targets over the past two weeks.

The potential return of Foster would bolster Pittsburgh’s offensive line, making the biggest mismatch even more pronounced.

With Mason Rudolph failing to exceed 200 passing yards in four of his seven starts, the Steelers will likely feature a run-heavy offensive attack. The key is whether Cleveland will be able to limit Pittsburgh on the ground on a short week. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Browns -2
  • Projected Total: 40.5

The Steelers’ defense has been on fire, ranking third in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, behind only the Patriots and 49ers.

A lot of Pittsburgh’s success can be attributed to Minkah Fitzpatrick, who the Steelers acquired from the Dolphins in Week 3 — he’s been a game-changer for this defense. He now has an interception in three straight games, and his chances of making it four are elevated given he’s facing Baker Mayfield, who has thrown the second-most this season (12). Mayfield will face a ton of pressure against this elite defensive front from the Steelers, who lead the league with a pressure rate of 30.6%. Mayfield has been terrible with a QB Rating of 42.3 while under pressure this season, which ranks 34th per Pro Football Focus.

Taking the Steelers +2.5 is pretty tempting, but with 62% of the tickets coming in on them (see live public betting data here), the line hasn’t budged. It seems like the sharps are leaning Cleveland here.

The public might be overlooking the fact that the Steelers have played only one road game over the past seven weeks (with a bye mixed in), which has likely caused an inflated perception of their 5-1 over this six-game stretch. Because of this, I’m laying off the spread but looking at the under.

The Browns’ secondary was banged up over their four-loss streak, but is at full strength now. With Conner set to return, I expect the Steelers to employ an extremely conservative game plan running the ball. The Browns would be wise to do the same with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

fantasy football-standard-rankings-rb-week 5-2019
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Chubb

This should be a run-heavy, clock-killing vanilla game on a short week that sets up nicely for the under. Sean Koerner

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

PRO System Match

The Steelers have been one of the most profitable teams this season, covering the spread in six of their nine games. The same can’t be said for the Browns, who are 2-6-1 against the spread.

More than 60% of spread tickets are on the Steelers to cover as 2.5-point underdogs as of writing, but bettors shouldn’t expect each team to continue their ATS ways.

ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet teams with bad ATS records against opponents with winning ATS records.

Following this simple Pro System, bettors have gone 172-105-10 (62.0%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,747 following this strategy.

Bettors are counting the Browns out against the Steelers, but history suggests Cleveland can cover. John Ewing

PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.

Expert Pick

Randle: Browns -2.5

Similar to last week’s line against Buffalo, the Browns find themselves favored at home against a Pittsburgh team with a superior record. The Steelers have won four games in a row and five of their past six, yet still find themselves as the underdog.

The Steelers’ rushing attack has been greatly weakened by injuries to Conner and rookie Benny Snell (out), and they averaged an atrocious 1.6 yards per carry at home against the Rams last week. While Cleveland provides less defensive resistance on the ground, the Browns have a strong pass defense, which will cause problems for Rudolph.

On offense, the Browns should be able to prominently feature Chubb and Hunt against a Steelers’ rush defense that ranks only 16th in run defense DVOA. Hunt was a valuable offensive weapon in his first game back from suspension, tallying seven receptions on nine targets for 44 receiving yards.

Running backs usually have the advantage in Thursday night games, and Cleveland has the healthiest and most talented rushers in this matchup.

Oddsmakers clearly believe in the Browns, making them favorites in consecutive games despite their inferior record. A majority of the public is backing the Steelers, which is usually the case when a streaking team is an underdog. But I’ll continue to fade the public and bet against an overvalued Pittsburgh team in this AFC North showdown on a quick turnaround.

I bet the Browns at -2.5, but like it up to -3. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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