The Pittsburgh Steelers are officially back in the playoff hunt after a miserable 1-4 start. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are hoping for a similar improbable resurrection, and they will need to knock off Mike Tomlin’s streaking Steelers–winners of four straight–to give themselves a chance down the stretch. Can they do it? Let’s get into it with our Steelers vs. Browns betting predictions and preview.
The Browns survived at home last Sunday, outlasting the Bills to stabilize a season that was careening off course, but they face a tall order tonight against a Pittsburgh team that’s likely happy to find itself as an underdog once again at PA online sportsbooks this week. Why? Because the Steelers have been lights-out as an underdog under Tomlin. They will attempt to continue their recent surge against a disappointing Browns squad that is desperately trying to keep its fading playoff hopes alive for at least one more week.
How to Bet on Steelers vs. Browns
We recommend DraftKings Sportsbook PA, which went live in Pennsylvania earlier this month and continues to offer new users a generous $200 first-bet match that is available right here— and for a limited time you can also get the Eagles at +300 ($50 max bet) or +1000 ($10 max bet) this weekend.
How to Watch Steelers vs. Browns
- Date: Thursday, November 14
- Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
- Location: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, OH)
- Network: FOX/NFL Network
- Announcers: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color analyst), Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink (sideline)
- Radio: ESPN 850 and 92.3 The Fan (Cleveland), 102.5 WDVE & WBGG 970 AM (Pittsburgh)
Steelers vs. Browns Weather
It’s going to be a cold one in Cleveland tonight. Temperatures at kickoff are expected to be in the mid 30s under partly cloudy skies and dip into the low 30s by the fourth quarter. Conditions are expected to remain dry throughout, but wind chills will in the mid 20s with southwest winds blowing 10-12 mph.
Steelers vs. Browns Odds
Here are the current Steelers vs. Browns betting odds at some of the top legal online sportsbooks as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning:
|Steelers||+2.5 (-103)||+135||O 41.5 (-110)|
|Browns||-2.5 (-120)||-155||U 41.5 (-110)|
|Steelers||+3 (-118)||+125||O 42 (-110)|
|Browns||-3 (+100)||-150||U 42 (-110)|
Checking ELO and similar projection models is a worthwhile exercise to find potential betting value.
As for tonight’s game, ELO projects this one as a pick’em and gives the Browns a 50% chance to win outright. With Cleveland currently favored by about a field goal at most sportsbooks, the ELO projection suggests there is roughly three points of point spread value on the Steelers.
Meanwhile, the implied win probability of the -155 moneyline odds on the Browns at DraftKings is 60.8%, which means the moneyline price is more expensive than what the ELO projection would suggest (+100 would be in line with a 50% win probability).
As for the Steelers, the implied win probability of their +135 moneyline odds at DraftKings is 42.6%, meaning there is some solid moneyline value on Pittsburgh tonight.
Steelers vs. Browns Injury Report
Here is the final injury report from Wednesday afternoon. First, the Steelers:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 13, 2019
Noticeably absent from the Steelers’ final injury report leading up to kickoff is running back James Conner who hasn’t played since Week 8. The Steelers have to hope that his return will help spark a stagnant rushing attack that averaged just 66 yards per game in his absence and less than two yards per carry in their win over the Rams last Sunday.
Backup running back Benny Snell Jr. and fullback Roosevelt Nix remain sidelined, while cornerback Joe Haden (illness) was a surprise Wednesday addition to the injury report and is questionable.
As for the Browns, they will be once again without starting defensive end Olivier Vernon because of a lingering knee issue suffered back in Week 9. Expect defensive end Chad Thomas, who recorded a sack of Josh Allen last week, to play a significant amount in Vernon’s place:
— Browns Replay (@BrownsReplay) November 10, 2019
Also out this week for Cleveland will be cornerback Eric Murray (knee).
Steelers vs. Browns Three Things to Know
1. The Steelers are 7-0-1 against the Browns dating back to the start of 2015 season. They’re also 11-1-1 since late in the 2012 season. Cleveland’s last win in this series came back in Oct. 2014 when Brian Hoyer completed 8 of 17 pass attempts for 217 yards and a touchdown to help pace a 31-10 Browns win.
2. The Steelers have excelled at forcing turnovers this season, generating 2.9 takeaways per game, which trails only the Patriots (3 turnovers forced per game). The in-season addition of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has picked off a pass in three straight games, has been a big part of their success:
Minkah Fitzpatrick in 7 games with the Steelers:
* 34 tackles
* 5 INT
* 2 FF
* 1 FR
* 2 defensive TD scored
* Pittsburgh is 5-2 in those games
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 11, 2019
The Browns offense, meanwhile, has been quite generous with the football this season, turning it over 1.9 times per game. That’s the league’s fifth-highest rate.
3. According to FiveThirtyEight’s QB-adjusted Elo forecast, the Steelers had less than a 20% chance to make the postseason after falling to 1-4 following a tough Week 5 overtime loss to the Ravens. Those odds have since increased to 56% thanks to their recent four-game winning streak. The Browns’ prospects, however, are much more grim—they enter tonight with only a 13% chance of making the playoffs.
FOX Bet’s Custom Sal’s Money Back Special has been a popular Thursday night betting promo. His guaranteed money-back special this week is on James Washington 75+ receiving yards and the Steelers to have over 2.5 sacks at +175 odds. A few notes on this deal:
- This is a money-back proposition, so there’s literally no down side to playing it, but this is a tough one. Washington, who has recorded 20 catches on 38 targets for 320 yards this season, isn’t the Steelers’ top receiving option and he’s going up against a stingy (and now healthy) Browns secondary that is yielding only 221.1 passing yards per game (7th in the NFL). Despite averaging a healthy 16 yards per catch, Washington has only eclipsed 75 yards once this season—last week when he hauled in six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
- There is some good news. It appears the Steelers have become more efficient utilizing Washington in the passing game over the last two weeks. After catching only 10 of his first 27 targets this season, quarterback Mason Rudolph has connected on 10 of his last 11 attempts to Washington, who has averaged 79.5 yards per game in wins over the Colts and Rams.
- As for the Pittsburgh pass rush, the Steelers are the NFL’s best team in terms of creating consistent pressure (nearly 30% of QB dropbacks) and have generated the NFL’s third-most sacks (33) through 10 weeks, totaling 3.7 sacks per game. That front has been consistently excellent over the Steelers’ last three games, registering no less than four sacks in any contest. That’s bad news for a Cleveland offense allowing 2.8 sacks per game this season.
FOX Bet is also offering 13 different bet boosts on this game. If you like the Browns tonight, one bet to consider would be Nick Chubb to go over 100+ rushing yards paired up with a Browns outright win at a +225 payout.
The Browns are expected to pound the ball at a Steelers defense that is just 16th in rush defense according to DVOA, and Chubb, obviously, is a stud. Averaging 5.3 yards per carry, Chubb has eclipsed 100 yards on four different occasions this season, including in two of the Browns’ three wins.
Over at DraftKings Sportsbook, you can grab a $25 insurance refund on all losing moneyline bets if your team scores 24 points but goes on to lose the game.
DraftKings offers a staggering amount of intriguing game and player props. One with some longer odds that we like tonight is on Kareem Hunt to score (+210). Hunt made his season debut last week after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He looked sharp against the Bills, rushing four times for 30 yards and hauling in seven passes for 44 yards:
Kareem Hunt catching out of the backfield is a PROBLEM 💨
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) November 13, 2019
Hunt should have the freshest legs on the field tonight, and it looks like the Browns plan to make him an integral part of the offense as he was on the field with Chubb for 28 of Cleveland’s 65 plays last week, so this play could score a solid payout.
Steelers vs. Browns Betting Trends
Note: All historical trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise noted.
Why Backing the Steelers is a Good Bet
Steelers are Fantastic Underdogs
The Steelers are 33-17-2 ATS as a regular season underdog under Mike Tomlin. They are also 24-14 ATS in games as a road underdog and 10-4 ATS as a dog in division road games. Decent, yes?
Good Situational Spot for Dogs
When a road underdog of three points or less that is over .500 is coming off a win and playing a division opponent with a sub-.500 record, such teams are 15-8 ATS.
Why Backing the Browns is a Good Bet
Line Makes No Sense
You have a streaking team that also happens to typically be a publicly bet team going against a division foe that it has absolutely dominated in recent seasons…and they’re an underdog? The Browns don’t exactly inspire much confidence, and yet, they are favored in this matchup. That’s somewhat revealing, and it makes the Steelers feel like a square play.
Poor Cover Teams Tend To Eventually Buck Trends Against Good Cover Teams
Betting on the Browns (2-6-1 ATS) has been a nightmare this season, but there is good news here. Teams that have covered 30% or less of its games playing a team that has covered more than half of its games (Steelers are 6-3 ATS) are 172-105-10 ATS (62.1%) in games played in Week 6 or later.
A Word on the Total
Playing the under in late-season divisional matchups is typically a good idea. In division games played in Week 11 or later, the under is 373-294-15 overall. It is also 30-22-3 on Thursdays and 44-34-3 in games played between two AFC North teams.
Contextually, the Browns should be wary of the Steelers’ elite pass rush and will likely look to deploy a rushing attack led by Chubb and Hunt. On the other side, despite the Steelers’ recent success, they haven’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut, and it’s difficult to imagine an overly-aggressive aerial attack tonight.
Where’s the Action Going?
Currently, 60% of all spread bets and 56% of the spread money is on the Steelers at reporting sportsbooks. Meanwhile, the 57% of bets and 69% of the money is on the over.
Steelers vs. Browns Prediction
It’s time to make a Steelers vs. Browns prediction.
It’s pretty remarkable that the Steelers find themselves in the playoff mix after the way their season began. No doubt recent back-to-back-to-back home dates helped aid their resurgence, but quality wins over difficult opponents in the Colts and Rams is nothing to shrug at. James Conner’s return to the lineup should provide a big boost to the Steelers’ offense tonight, and they should keep their winning streak intact.
I’m having a hard time getting over this spread. I’ll reluctantly lean toward the Steelers, but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Browns put together one of these “where the hell has this been?” type of games, and thus I don’t like Pittsburgh enough to send in the bet.
I’d rather try some longer payout plays like the Steelers to win by 1-13 points (+190) at FanDuel Sportsbook or take advantage of their NFL Close Loss Insurance which will refund bettors up to $50 on pregame moneyline bets that lose by six points or less. Another idea would be to include the Steelers at +8.5 as a leg of a six-point teaser—maybe play some of the props discussed above, or simply grab the under.
Prediction: Game to go under 42 points