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Monday Night Football Betting — Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Football

Big Ben Bids Farewell to Steel City Fans as Pittsburgh Steelers Battle Cleveland Browns

By Charles Jay

If most Monday Night Football betting fans are expecting that Ben Roethlisberger, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is winding down his Hall of Fame career, they are doubtlessly expecting that this game against the Cleveland Browns is going to be his last at Heinz Field. So we would assume emotions are going to be high as this game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. Eastern time.

But what BetAnySports customers are most interested in, among other things, is how this matchup plays out, and whether Big Ben is going to have a field day amidst this “farewell party.” Should we take the emotion out of it? Do the fundamentals supersede anything that might indicate the Steelers are coming out “fired up”?

Well these are pretty good questions.

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Monday Night Football Betting — How is Ben doing this year?

Well, the general consensus is that Roethlisberger has lost the fastball. Sure, he’s rolling up some numbers, as all starting quarterbacks seem to. He is 65% accurate and has 3373 yards, averaging out to 241 per game. But he is short-arming the ball, for sure. Roethlisberger has averaged 6.9 yards per target in the air, and that puts him right near the bottom of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL.

In the previous meeting between the Browns and Steelers, which took place on October 31, he completed 22 of 34 passes for 266 yards.


Monday Night Football Betting — What can we expect from Baker Mayfield?

Honestly, we’re not sure. Mayfield has been erratic and he has been handicapped by not having a genuine wide receiver corps. He has also been a poor decision maker on many occasions, as his interception rate is nearly twice as much as it was last season.

Among the wideouts, Jarvis Landry is his favorite receiver, but it is altogether possible that Mayfield will be seeking out Kareem Hunt from the backfield or one of his tight ends. The Browns have three pretty capable guys at the position – Austin Hooper, who has the second most targets on the team; David Njoku, who was a first-round draft pick and hasn’t really busted out yet, and Harison Bryant.

The short passing game might make a lot more sense, given the fact that Mayfield could not find guys with the same color jerseys enough on Christmas Day, having thrown four INT’s against Green Bay.

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Let’s take a look at the numbers….

In the Monday Night Football betting odds that have been placed on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Steelers are the favorite at home:

Pittsburgh Steelers -3 (+100)
Cleveland Browns +3 (-120)

Over 43.5 Points -110
Under 43.5 Points -110

Monday Night Football Betting — Who will Roethlisberger seek out?

Big Ben actually has more options than Mayfield does. He has thrown a lot of passes to rookie running back Najee Harris, who averages just 3.7 yards a carry but has 67 receptions. The guy he’s targeted the most is Diontae Johnson (144 times), who has seven touchdown catches. Pat Freiermuth has been a revelation of sorts as a rookie; he has been targeted 64 times and has seven TD catches. He has been sought out as many times as Johnson in red zone situations. And Chase Claypool, averaging almost 16 yards a catch, may have gotten himself into the doghouse with a little self-promotion as time was running out against Minnesota; he’s been thrown to a total of eight times in the last two games.


Monday Night Football Betting — Here’s the overriding factor

What the Browns do best is run the football. There is no escaping that. And they have one of the best in the business to do it with.

Nick Chubb is truly one of the elite backs in the league, as his 5.5-yard average would attest. And when healthy, he can be quite the workhorse. He has averaged 95.3 yards on the ground this season, and is one of those “breakaway” backs, with 387 of his yards coming on runs of 20 yards or more.

And guess what? He’s in luck, because the Steelers are among the league’s worst when it comes to preventing runs like that. In the metrics compiled at the analytics site Football Outsiders, their defense is 31st out of 32 teams when it comes to defending in the open field, which means more than ten yards beyond the line of scrimmage. And Pittsburgh’s front has crumbled a bit, allowing 180.4 yards per game over the last seven games. That’s pathetic.

Monday Night Football Betting — Our conclusion

We understand that Roethlisberger will be swinging for the fences, and will have a wave of emotion behind him. But we tend to look at which team can do something most proficiently, especially if it can exploit a definitive weakness on the part of the opponent. And in this case, the Browns have the right kind of ammunition. So we are grabbing the points.

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