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After the offensive explosion from the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 on Thursday Night Football and the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers posting a 51-point total, expect the pace of points to slow down this week.
At home, the Cleveland Browns will host the Pittsburgh Steelers. See the Steelers vs Browns game preview!
The Browns dropped 30 points in Week 2 but blew a 30-17 lead with less than two minutes to go to the New York Jets.
The Steelers just couldn’t move the ball at all in Week 2, losing 17-14 at home against the New England Patriots.
So, what happens when these two teams meet up this week? Let’s explore.
With the total set at 38.5, the Browns giving five or 5.5 points at home feels too much here. Neither of these teams is fantastic, but the edge goes to the Browns in defense and rushing attack.
Still, 5.5 points for what could be a repeat score of 17-14 feels like too much.
As you’ll see with our totals bet, we think this goes over, but the safe bet is to go with the Browns moneyline or avoid this altogether.
The receiving game for the Browns is stagnant. Yes, wide receiver Amari Cooper had nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown last week. Still, this is unlikely to happen against a secondary with Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick breathing down his neck.
Fitzpatrick is one of the best coverage players in the league so far, with two interceptions and seven tackles.
The rest of the receivers, outside of running back Kareem Hunt and perhaps even Nick Chubb, leave much to be desired.
There are some questions as to where the pass rush pressure from the Browns will come from with edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney out and Myles Garrett popping up on the injury report, but the Steelers offensive line is porous enough for the Browns to find some ways to do so.
In the end, the Browns will win, but they’d need some things to bounce their way to cover that spread.
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After saying all that, yes, we’re opting for the over here. At 38.5 points, this is way too low to bet the under on.
These are two teams from the same division, which is a definite factor here.
The Steelers rushing attack has more of an uphill battle here. Running back Najee Harris has 25 carries on the season, but for only 72 yards (2.9 yards per carry). They’ll need to try to get this running game going by running the ball or some gimmick screens to get Harris in space.
As for the Steelers passing attack, they have some solid weapons in wide receiver Diontae Johnson who should be able to create his opportunities, but you should expect tight end Pat Freiermuth to be close to a non-factor with Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah all over him.
The one wild card for the Steelers offense is wide receiver George Pickens matched up with Browns cornerback Denzel Ward.
Ward hasn’t played well this season, including last week, where he gave up over 100 yards receiving.
Pickens is not the type of player to catch many balls. Still, his downfield speed and 21.5 average depth of target could lend itself to a downfield shot for a score, which, seven points, puts a big dent in this low total.
The Browns have a great rushing attack with Chubb and Hunt, and they’ll need to get that going early and often against a T.J. Watt-less Steelers defensive front.
Lastly, both defenses can create turnovers, and with Trubisky and Brissett under center, this is possible. However, there is the risk of some super boring, efficient play.
At 38.5, though, we’ll take our chances on the over.
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Journalism, Richard Janvrin has been covering iGaming and sports betting since December 2018. Richard has covered betting at Bleacher Report, Gambling.com, The Game Day, Forbes, and more.More info on Richard Janvrin
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