The Week 2 Thursday Night Football battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) and the Cleveland Browns (1-1) will put one of these teams in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.
While the Steelers have a 77-60-1 lead in the series, NFL odds side with the Cleveland Browns, with the home team listed as the -4 favorite. Cleveland had opened a full point higher, but early action quickly pushed the line back from -5 to -4.5, with many stores now holding steady at -4.
Neither team looked convincing on either side of the ball early in the season, and a subpar quarterback play sent both squads home with an “L” in winable games last weekend.
“The betting action is pretty even at the moment as the Steelers feel like a living dog,” BetOnline sportsbook manager Adam Burns told me. “But the loss of TJ Watt is a huge blow to that defense. That said, we could have a tighter spread if Mitch Trubisky wasn’t below center. Is tonight the night we see Kenny Pickett?”
Steelers vs Browns bets via BetOnline
Steelers vs Browns Moneyline
- Steelers +175
- Brown -210
Steelers vs Browns Spread
- Steelers +4.5
- Brown -4.5
Steelers vs Browns Total
Current Steelers vs Browns Bets Split
- 51.7% of $ on Browns -4
- 62.7% of $ on Brown’s ML -205
- 54.5% of $ on OVER 38
Testing the Steelers Run Defense
After finishing 32nd in the league against run last season, the Pittsburgh defense has shown some improvement, with 128.5 yards per game on the ground compared to the 143.8 they lost last season. While these numbers have improved, Pittsburgh is still ranked 22nd in the league. The loss of TJ Watt, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, will only expose weaknesses.
This improved average will be tested tonight as Cleveland’s Nick Chubb has come out strong to start the season. Chubb has already won 228 yards in the first two games of the season, rushing for three touchdowns. Kareem Hunt has contributed to this team’s hasty success, with another touchdown and 104 yards on the Browns ground attack so far in the season.
With all the cues pointing to a slow and physical battle, the Browns seem to have a solid lead in this matchup. But even with the Steelers’ defensive concerns, unity was largely the reason the team was competitive in their first two games of the season.
The plus four sales margin puts Pittsburgh in second place in the category, led in large part by the unit’s four interceptions in Week 1 against Joe Burrow and the Bengals.
This could also play a big part tonight as the Steelers still struggle to find their new answer below the middle. Mitch Trubisky has been called up to start for this team, but his early struggles have left many wondering how long his number will remain at the top of the depth chart.
Trubisky currently ranks 28th in passer ratings, and his 362 two-game passes are only better than Justin Fields compared to the rest of the NFL’s full-time starters.
Luckily for Mitch, both Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett are expected to miss tonight’s game, relieving some of the rushing pressure and making him feel a little more comfortable in his pocket.
Betting on the under seems like the most obvious game in this situation, but the total is already one of the lowest on the board.
Trubisky is playing for work tonight and he needs a safe, yet effective outing. Cleveland will have success playing the ball, but Pittsburgh manages to find a few openings to keep itself in this game and within the number.
Bet the Steelers +4.5 if you can still find that number.