The NFL’s top underachiever in 2019, the Browns, take on the league’s top overachiever, the Steelers, tonight on Thursday Night Football.
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It’s a highly interesting betting game, in that both teams’ weekly spreads have been out of whack all year. That’s to be somewhat expected for two public teams like the Browns and Steelers, but sportsbooks really don’t really know what to make of either of them week-to-week in this particular season.
Spread: Browns -2.5 (-120), Steelers +2.5 (-103
Money line: Browns -155, Steelers +125
Over Under: 40 total points (-110)
Most books finally got a grasp on Cleveland last week, when the Browns were three-point favorites over the then-6-2 Bills. The final score? Browns 19, Bills 16.
As crazy as it sounds, the Browns might finally be ready to turn this thing around. It’s almost certainly too late for a playoff run, but beating the 5-4 Steelers at home tonight is far from an impossibility.
The Browns have had a brutal schedule over the course of the past month or so as they lost at San Francisco, at home to Seattle, at New England and at Denver. The only loss to a bad team in that grouping was the Broncos, but even that is somewhat excusable considering that Mile High Stadium is one of the more difficult places to play in the league.
The Steelers, on the other hand, have taken advantage of a quirk in their schedule in that they’ve played just one road game in the past two months. That game was at the Chargers on a Sunday night, where the crowd was 95 percent Pittsburgh fans. It should also be noted that Mason Rudolph did not start that game due to injury, as it was Devlin Hodges that led Pittsburgh the victory over a Chargers squad that was entirely lost at the time.
For all of his faults this year I still trust Baker Mayfield at home, a hell of a lot more than I trust Rudolph on the road.
You can also run on this Steelers defense, which is allowing 105.3 yards per game on the ground (16h in the NFL). Expect the tag team of Nick Chubb and the recently reinstated Kareem Hunt to thrive.
The play: Browns -2.5