NFL Betting – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Thursday Night Football

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

This was supposed to be the year the Cleveland Browns snapped out of their slumber and made some noise in the AFC North. Baker Mayfield had an outstanding rookie season and was surrounded by more talent. Yet it’s been the same story for the Brownies and if not for the hapless Bengals, they’d be staring at another last place finish in the division. Cleveland ended a four-game losing streak last week by taking down the Buffalo Bills, but this clearly isn’t the team many expected when the Browns were a preseason favorite to win the division. Cleveland opened as a slight favorite on the NFL betting line to end the Steelers’ four-game winning streak.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Date and Time: Thursday, November 14, 2019, 8:20 p.m. ET

Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH

Opening NFL Odds: Cleveland -2.5, O/U 41.5

Steelers at Browns TV Coverage: FOX/NFL Network

Odds Analysis

Cleveland opened as a 2.5-point favorite and we’ve watched the spread bounce back and forth between 2.5 and 3-points. That the Browns are laying points comes as a surprise since they have done very little in what can only be described as a bad season. Fans in Cleveland are all too familiar with those. While the Browns were stinking up the joint in previous seasons, the Steelers were doing just the opposite. Pittsburgh has not lost in eight straight matchups going 7-0-1 SU and 4-3-1 ATS in those games. The total hit the board at 41.5 and has seen a slight tumble to its current 41.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have regained their swagger, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After starting the year with three consecutive setbacks and losing Ben Roethlisberger for the year with an injury, the Steelers are fighting for the AFC North crown and a wild card spot behind four straight victories. A big reason for the surge has been the defense, which held the Rams to 12 points in last week’s victory.

With a horrible start to the season behind them, the defense has locked in to bail out the struggling offense. The Steelers harassed Jared Goff, sacking him four times and picking him off twice. They held LA to just over 300 total yards and 1 of 14 on third down chances. After giving up over 28 points per game over the first three, the Steelers have yielded an average of just 16 points in the six games since. Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU and ATS in those six games.

As long as you win everything is good, but the struggles offensively will eventually come back to hurt the Steelers. Mason Rudolph has been decent and tasked with managing the game more than trying to win it. He threw for 242 yards last week, his second-highest total of the season, and Rudolph has at least one scoring toss in every game he’s played. The group was hindered by the absence of James Connor and managed just 42 yards on the ground against the Rams. Connor is expected to play on Thursday against the NFL’s 27th ranked run defense.

Cleveland Browns

The wild card race in the AFC is wide open and the Browns crept back into the picture last week by knocking off the Bills, 19-16, ending a four-game slide. The Steelers currently hold the second wild card with a 5-4 record and the Browns can make things even tighter if they can somehow get a victory. The Browns may have won, but if you peel away the layers you’d notice the offense still had difficulties.

In a season where Cleveland’s offense has been stuck in neutral, there was one-point last Sunday when the Browns ran eight plays from the Buffalo 2-yard line and failed to score. With a bunch of talent at the skill positions, the Browns need to play better. Getting Kareem Hunt in the lineup should help. Returning from a suspension, Hunt ran for 30 yards on four carries with an additional 44 yards on seven receptions against the Bills in his first game.

Cleveland’s offensive line has been scrutinized all season and the group has to be stronger against Pittsburgh’s pass rush that’s produced 4.3 sacks per game over its last three. Mayfield has been sacked 25 times and his constant escaping of pressure hasn’t helped his numbers. Mayfield has completed less than 60 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and 12 picks.

Bet Steelers at Browns at BookMaker.eu

It’s hard to have faith in the Browns, who are just 2-6-1 ATS this season and haven’t beaten the Steelers in the last eight tries. There was a tie in the first meeting last season that ended a streak of 17 consecutive losses, but wins have been hard to come by in the series. A resurgent Steelers defense will pressure Mayfield, and if the Browns can’t run the football they are doomed.

NFL Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 22, Cleveland 17

Access live betting lines from your mobile device at BookMaker sportsbook! Real-time spreads, totals, props and money line are all available so start betting with BookMaker today.

- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com Special Contributor

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