Our Experts’ 4 Favorite Steelers vs. Browns Picks for Thursday Night Football

Our Experts’ 4 Favorite Steelers vs. Browns Picks for Thursday Night Football article feature image
Credit:

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Chubb

  • Our experts reveal how they're betting Thursday Night Football featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns.
  • Find their four favorite picks below -- two on the spread, one on the over/under and Sean Koerner's favorite prop bet.

Steelers at Browns Odds

  • Odds: Browns -3
  • Over/Under: 41.5
  • Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network

Odds as of early Thursday afternoon 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.


Public bettors are backing the streaking Steelers as 2.5-point underdogs against the Browns, which makes sense — Pittsburgh is on a four-win streak while Cleveland just snapped a four-loss streak with a narrow victory over Buffalo.

But Steelers +2.5 the best bet for Thursday Night Football?

Our experts reveal how they’re betting this AFC North showdown complete with four picks, including on the spread and over/under (plus a prop).

Thursday Night Football Picks

Sean Koerner: Under 41.5

The Browns’ secondary was banged up over their four-loss streak, but is at full strength now. And with James 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.

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

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Stuckey: Browns -2.5

Yes, Fitzpatrick has been an amazing signing. The ex-Alabama product has five picks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two touchdowns. He’s been a huge reason for the turnaround in the Steelers’ secondary, which obviously benefits from a dominant defensive line.

And because of that defensive line, you’d expect them to generate more turnovers than an average team, but 14 over the past four games can’t last. The Browns have forced only two turnovers over the same four-game stretch, but there should be some positive regression for Cleveland just like Pittsburgh won’t keep running into as many takeaways.

Three of the Steelers’ four straight wins came at home while and the fourth came against the Chargers, who don’t really have home-field advantage. And two of those home wins came against the Dolphins and the Colts, the latter of which would’ve beat the Steelers with Brian Hoyer at the helm had Adam Vinatieri not kicked a potential game-winning field goal to Akron.

Backing Freddie Kitchens is always worrisome, especially on a short week, but I tend to prefer to back home teams on TNF. They’re 102-86-6 (54.3%) against the spread, covering by about a half-point per game — although the advantage isn’t as great for division games when teams are familiar with each other.

Road teams coming off outright wins as underdogs are also 5-14 ATS in this spot, failing to cover by almost a touchdown per game.

ravens-steelers-betting-odds-picks-predictions-nfl-week 5-2019
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mason Rudolph

I think the Steelers are a little overvalued based on a string of wins that I don’t value as much as others (with the assistance of some extreme turnover luck). I still have the Browns rated as the better team and I’m itching to fade Mason Rudolph, who has just not impressed me at all this season.

Baker Mayfield has been poor under pressure with a 42.3 Total QBR, which is a concern, but the only qualified quarterback who has been worse? Rudolph with a 38.3 QBR. And the Browns can generate pressure.

Just take a look at the bottom tier of Pro Football Focus passing grades for quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 drop backs:

27. Mason Rudolph
28. Kyle Allen
29. Mitch Trubisky
30. Sam Darnold

It’s also worth mentioning that the Browns have the better overall special teams (although penalties are an issue), and that Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (illness) may not be fully fit, if not miss this game altogether.

Give me the Brownies to pull out a second straight win at home. And as Sean mentioned, this could be a very low-scoring game in which every point could matter, making 2.5 very important. I’d buy it on the cheap if you can.

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Mike 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]

browns vs titans-betting-odds-pick-preview-nfl-week 1-2019
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Baker Mayfield

Koerner: Baker Mayfield Under 239.5 Passing Yards (-115)

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. To make matters worse, in-season acquisition Minkah Fitzpatrick has been on fire with four interceptions over their past three games and the Steelers trail only the Patriots in interceptions with 14 on the season.

Given Mayfield has thrown the second-most interceptions on the season (12), I’m expecting the Browns to run a very conservative offense tonight. Expect a healthy dose of Chubb and Hunt in this spot. The Browns are slight favorites, which means it’s not as likely Mayfield will be forced into a pass-heavy game script.

I would bet this under down to 234.5.

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