Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds, Prediction & Pick

Article Image

Browns vs. Steelers Odds

Browns Odds -1.5
Steelers Odds +1.5
Over/Under 38.5
Date Mon, Sep. 18
Time 8:15 p.m.

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will wrap up the second week of NFL regular season action tonight when they meet in the Steel City. Cleveland is coming off of a dominant 24-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Pittsburgh is looking to rebound after losing 30-7 to the San Francisco 49ers in their season opener.

Ahead of kickoff, oddsmakers have priced the Browns as 1.5-point favorites on the spread in this matchup. The total for this contest is set at over/under 38.5 points.

Let’s take a deeper look at the matchup to see where NFL bettors can find value at sportsbooks in this contest.

Cleveland Browns

Can the offensive line protect Watson?

In Week 1, Deshaun Watson was pressured on only 13 of his 35 dropbacks. However, the offensive line had a much easier matchup against the Bengals than they do tonight against the Steelers. Pittsburgh generated 19 pressures, three sacks, and 12 hurries against San Francisco in Week 1.

Watson had extremely stark splits last season from a clean pocket compared to dropbacks when he was under duress. From a clean pocket, he had five touchdowns and a 76.3% adjusted completion rate, but had a 2-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio when pressured and his adjusted completion rate fell to 60.0%, per PFF.

Tonight, rookie right tackle Dawand Jones will have his hands full against TJ Watt on the outside. Jedrick Wills Jr., who is an underwhelming left tackle, figures to have a tough time tonight as well against Alex Highsmith, who is one of better edge defenders in the NFL.

Juan Thornhill expected to play

According to a report this morning from Mary Kay Cabot, prized safety acquisition Juan Thornill is expected to make his Cleveland debut this evening on Monday Night Football. Thornhill was one of the better safeties in the entire NFL in 2022, finishing 20th out of 88 qualified players at his position, per PFF. Thornhill’s availability only further bolsters an already stout Cleveland secondary unit that has two strong cornerbacks with Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II, and Grant Delpit as the team’s other safety.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickett problems in Pittsburgh

Though Pittsburgh received an abundance of preseason hype for their alleged improvements offensively, the offense looked very much the same as 2022 when they took the field in Week 1 against the 49ers. In total, the offense produced only seven points in a blowout loss. Kenny Pickett threw two interceptions – both of which came from a clean pocket, according to PFF. The offensive line played extremely poorly, allowing pressure on 24 of Pickett’s 52 dropbacks, despite being blitzed only 10 times. Facing a much-improved Cleveland front-seven, points might be hard to come by once again for this group.

Can the Pittsburgh defense keep this contest competitive?

The Steelers defense allowed 30 points in Week 1, but it is difficult to put too much blame on them, considering that they were on the field for 37 minutes and 23 seconds. Pittsburgh’s offense had only 15 first downs on the afternoon, which also left the Steelers defense in poor field position for much of the day.

Tonight, this unit should be more effective. The Browns have significant concerns at both tackle positions on the offensive line, which should allow TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith to make their way into the backfield on a regular basis. The secondary unit could also catch a break if Amari Cooper is unable to go for Cleveland.

Browns vs. Steelers – Picks & Predictions

It may be difficult psychologically to bet the under on a total that is south of 40, but it is warranted in this situation. The Browns are likely to be without their top pass-catcher and will for sure be without their All-Pro right tackle. “(player-popup #deshaun-watson)Deshaun Watson”:/players/deshaun-watson-36923’s continued struggles under pressure should keep Cleveland’s offense from truly exploding tonight.

On Pittsburgh’s side of things, they are also missing a top pass-catcher with Diontae Johnson ruled out. The offensive line played poorly in Week 1 and is unlikely to be much better tonight against Myles Garrett and an improved Cleveland defense.

Expect points to be at a premium tonight in the Steel City.

PICK: Under 38.5 (-110, Fanatics Sportsbook)

Image Credit: Getty Images

About the Author

Nick Galaida (nickgalaida)

A failed high school pitcher, Nick Galaida discovered that he has a higher aptitude for analyzing and writing about sports than he does playing them. To his friends, he is better known as “The Commish.” When he’s not organizing a fantasy league, placing a bet, or writing an article, he’s probably nose-deep in a book—further illustrating the point that his niche in this world is as a nerd rather than an athlete. Follow Nick on Twitter – @CommishFilmRoom