NFL Betting Odds — Are the Pittsburgh Steelers a dangerous dog vs. Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland Browns Football

Can the Cleveland Browns Close out the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football

By Charles Jay

The Cleveland Browns are betting their future on a quarterback who didn’t play last year, and won’t see action this season until their twelfth game. They obviously expect DeShaun Watson to be an impact player, but for now they are hoping that they can rise above the .500 mark with Jacoby Brissett taking snaps.

BetOnline patrons may not have been all that optimistic about the presence of Mitchell Trubisky in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But then again, they didn’t get championship-level quarterbacking out of Ben Roethlisberger in the waning days and months of his career. There is also a signal-caller waiting in the wings.

But first-round draft choice Kenny Pickett isn’t quite set to assume control. At least that is the indication from head coach Mike Tomlin. So basically what we have here are a couple of struggling passing attacks, which means that as these clubs meet on Thursday night in Cleveland (8:15 PM ET), ground games might take center stage.

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NFL Betting Odds — Here are the numbers…..

In the NFL betting odds that have been posted on this Thursday night game by the folks at BetOnline, the Browns are the favorites on their home field:

Cleveland Browns -4 (-115)
Pittsburgh Steelers +4 (-105)

Over 38 Points -115
Under 38 Points -105

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NFL Betting Odds — About the Cleveland Browns

Cleveland won its first game against Carolina on a late 58-yard field goal by Cade York. Then a week later, York missed an extra point that opened the door for the New York Jets; well, that and a gaffe from Nick Chubb on a touchdown run where he should have gone down ahead of the end zone. If he did that, the clock would have run out on the Jets, who had no timeouts. Given a chance to get the ball again, Joe Flacco rallied Gang Green to two touchdowns, with a recovered onside kick in between. That 31-30 loss was painful for the Browns.

Brissett went 22 of 27 for 229 yards, and Cleveland had 184 yards rushing. Amani Cooper, the wide receiver who was acquired in the off-season, had 101 yards on nine receptions. Kevin Stefani’s team converted on eight of 12 third down opportunities. You can justifiably say that the Cleveland offense is further along than their Pittsburgh counterparts right now.

On the injury front, Jadeveon Clowney, who forms a nice pass rush combo with Myles Garrett, will miss the game with an ankle injury. Garrett’s neck is bothering him, and it might be a game time decision for him.

NFL Betting Odds — About the Pittsburgh Steelers

In their 17-14 defeat suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh had just 243 yards. In their opener against Cincinnati, they were outgained 439-258. So they are now at a negative-314 in terms of yardage. And that doesn’t often add up to a formula for victory. QB Mitch Trubisky has averaged just 5.1 yards per attempt over two games. And the fans are starting to get restless, because Pickett, who played college ball locally at Pitt and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, looms as a nice short and long-term option for Tomlin, who nonetheless likes what he sees thus far from his incumbent starter.

It would help greatly if Najee Harris could be the workhorse; he had more touches than anyone last season and made it into the Pro Bowl. This is not to say there are no receivers; Chase Claypool is a threat down the field and is dangerous when running with the ball. TJ Watt is going to miss some time with a pectoral injury. But Tomlin’s defense can be nasty, particularly in the secondary.

NFL Betting Odds — Our conclusion

Cleveland has fundamental advantages; they have a better running game, which can exploit a potential Pittsburgh weakness. They may have a more consistent quarterback. And if Garrett gets the okay to play, they have the game-changing pass rusher.

But this is the NFL, and sometimes things don’t work out so nicely. The Browns would have to have a psychological hurdle to overcome. It was Pittsburgh and not Cleveland that topped 100 rushing yards in each of the two meetings last season. And Tomlin loves getting points, covering eleven of his last 16 in that role. Between these two, we’ll be “on the take.”

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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