Thursday Night Football Best Bets: Steelers @ Browns

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After a winning week last Thursday, our NFL Expert Luka is back to give out more winnings picks!

On Thursday Night Football, Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers will play Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns. FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland will host the first match of Week 3’s NFL schedule, the first of two matchups between these teams this year. After a devastating meltdown in a defeat to the New York Jets in Week 2, Cleveland is now 1-1. Pittsburgh is likewise 1-1, having lost to the New England Patriots by a score of 17–14.

Betting Statistics on This Matchup:

  • 76% of the bets are on the Steelers spread
  • 74% of the money is also on the Steelers spread
  • 55% of the bets and 86% of the money are on the under
  • The spread opened at -3.5 and currently sits at -4.5
  • The over under opened at 40.5 and sits at 38.5

My Picks

Given that T.J. Watt is among the top defensive players in the NFL, Pittsburgh will undoubtedly miss him. The defense of Mike Tomlin’s team is still strong, allowing only 18.5 points per game and 17 points in the first game without Watt. The Steelers have the second-most interceptions in the NFL this season with five, and they rank in the top five in the league by forcing turnovers on 25% of defensive possessions.

Through two games, opponents are only averaging 4.0 yards per rush against Pittsburgh, and Minkah Fitzpatrick remains a top-tier game-changer for the Steelers. Fitzpatrick had 124 tackles in 2021, and this season the two-time All-Pro defensive back has two interceptions, including one returned for a score, and 20 combined stops. In Deshaun Watson’s absence, Cleveland’s attack is also not very spectacular. With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, Cleveland’s passing offense is expected to be subpar because the Browns’ passing yards and yards per attempt are below NFL average.

One of the NFL’s most effective running back tandems is Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, and Chubb is a star player. The three-time Pro Bowler is coming off three consecutive 1,000-yard running seasons and is extremely efficient. In his career, he has averaged 5.3 yards per rush, and since the 2020 season has begun, 5.6 yards per carry. Chubb is third among active NFL players in terms of running yards per game average with 84.1, and through two games this season, he has gained 228 yards on 39 runs.

Last week, Chubb tied a career-high with three running touchdowns, and the Browns have added Amari Cooper as an outside receiver. Cooper, a four-time member of the Pro Bowl, had five seasons in which he accumulated 1,000 yards, and he is in the top 15 players still in the league for career catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. Week 2 saw Cooper’s 26th career 100-yard game as he caught nine catches for 101 yards and a score.

  • Steelers +4.5 -120 (2 Units)
  • Over 38.5 points +100 (1 Unit)
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones over 2.5 receptions +116 (1 Unit)