Week 2 will feature two great games on Monday Night Football. The more interesting one of the two features the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers as the two AFC North Division rivals go head-to-head on the national stage.
There is a lot to look at for this big game under the bright lights. We will examine all the information you could possibly need for this Monday Night Football matchup and help provide a few of the best bets on the board.
Bet on Browns vs. Steelers
Browns vs. Steelers odds
|Browns Moneyline Odds||-130|
|Steelers Moneyline Odds||+110|
|Spread odds||Browns -2 (-110), Steelers +2 (-110)|
|Over/Under||38 points (over -110, under -110)|
|Time/Date||Sept. 18, 8:15 p.m. ET|
About the Browns (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 o/u)
Browns fans were treated to a sloppy, rainy Sunday afternoon on the opening weekend of the NFL season. Despite the gloominess of the day, the game wound up being anything but for the Browns, as they dismantled the Super Bowl contender Cincinnati Bengals.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals never even got off the ground. The Browns’ defence was all over the vaunted offence all day, creating pressure across the line. They were led by Myles Garrett who was once again as dominant as could be as one of the premier defensive players in the league.
The offence looked okay, with Deshaun Watson finding the end zone once on the ground and another time through the air. The ground game looked very good, with Nick Chubb racking up 106 yards on 18 carries to pace the Browns throughout the day. Watson added 45 yards on five carries thanks to timely scrambles.
The most important thing for the Browns is that they may have found a kicker. Dustin Hopkins went 3-for-3 on his attempts on Sunday, giving Browns fans a confidence in the kicking game that has not been there in some time. It was the complete effort that Browns fans had been hoping for since the trade for Watson a year ago.
About the Steelers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 o/u)
For the Steelers, things did not go nearly as well in Week 1. They too faced a Super Bowl contender at home as the San Francisco 49ers came to town. The results were terrible for the Steelers and this wasn’t much of a competition from the very start.
The 49ers ran the score up to 20-0 before Pittsburgh could answer before halftime. Things kind of muddled along coming out of the half until a late Christian McCaffrey 65-yard touchdown run made the lead an insurmountable 27-7 for the 49ers.
For the Steelers, there were more than a few questions coming into the season and there seem to be even more after Week 1. The biggest question was about whether Kenny Pickett could lead this team back to the playoffs and help prevent the slide that many were expecting from the team. Going 31-for-46 for 232 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring from the young quarterback.
Even worse may have been the performance of the defence. T.J. Watt was again a pressure machine but 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was masterfully moving away from pressure all day. He picked apart a very questionable Steelers secondary all day. 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey was as dominant as can be, racking up 152 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Steelers have a lot to work on heading into Monday Night Football.
Given the success that McCaffrey had last week against this Steelers’ defence, it certainly seems like the mismatch will once again be the Steelers’ run defence versus the opposition’s ground game. The Browns running attack might not be on the same level as the 49ers and McCaffrey, but it isn’t a world of difference
Even without tackle Jack Conklin, the Browns still have a very good offensive line. Even discounting that, Chubb is one of the best and most consistent backs in the league. He is a magician at finding space and getting those extra yards when they don’t seem to be there. He is also incredibly strong and difficult to take down.
The Steelers may have to bring down one or both of the safeties to help keep the running attack at bay. That could open things up for Watson, who looked pretty solid even in bad weather a week ago. That could benefit guys like tight end David Njoku the most when all is said and done.
Browns team rushing yards over 135.5
As mentioned above, Conklin will be out. He was placed on the IR with a knee injury after leaving halfway through the Bengals game. The other injury that bears watching is Amari Cooper. The top receiver for the Browns seemed to tweak something on a routine play when he slipped. He’s questionable with a groin injury and it seems unlikely that he will play.
For the Steelers, receiver Diontae Johnson will be out until mid-October thanks to a hamstring injury but that’s been a known commodity. Defensive tackles Larry Ogunjobi and Cam Hayward are both questionable for the game, the former nursing a foot injury and the latter a groin. Both seem likely to play but how limited they will be remains to be seen.
After a sloshy Week 1 at home for the Browns against the Bengals, things should look a bit more tame when the Browns roll into Pittsburgh. The temperatures will be between around 17C with a mostly cloudy sky. Winds will be tame as well, so these are optimal conditions for a mid-September battle between two bitter rivals.
- The Browns were middling against the spread a year ago, covering just seven times. What is more interesting is that they were moneyline favourites seven times last year, winning just three times. Playing as a moneyline favourite with odds of -140 or shorter, the Browns were exactly 3-3 on the season. They are -140 in this one, the first time they have been favoured playing in Pittsburgh since 1989.
- The Steelers were quite good against the spread a year ago, going 10-6-1 and winning five of the 11 games in which they were an underdog. That said, when they were underdogs of +115 or more, they were 3-6 as outright winners. The Steelers are +120 heading into this matchup, in the unfamiliar territory of being home underdogs against the Browns.
Player prop trends
- Receiver George Pickens was considered one of the top options in the Steelers’ offence prior to this year. Last year, he averaged 42.7 yards per game, going over the mark five times in his 12 games. His over/under is set at 42.5 yards for this game and he had five catches for 36 yards in the loss to the 49ers a week ago.
- Nick Chubb’s rushing yards total for this game is set at 80.5 yards. A year ago, he averaged 79 yards per game, hitting his over in 60% of his games. He is, however, coming off of a 100-yard running game against one of the better defences in the league and the Steelers run defence was shredded by another very good running team last week.
Nick Chubb over 80.5 rushing yards
Wagers to consider
- Take the Browns to not only win (-140) but to cover the two-point spread as well (-110). The Steelers have historically dominated this rivalry, but the winds of change are in the air. With a great ground game going against a banged-up, questionable run defence, it sets the table for a big night on the ground for the Browns.
- Speaking of a big night in the ground game, take Chubb’s rushing yards over (80.5, -110) and add him as an anytime touchdown scorer (+115) as well. McCaffrey, another elite running back, dominated in Pittsburgh last week and Chubb has historically done quite well against the Steelers.
- Week 1 was not a sterling passing day for Deshaun Watson in rainy, mucky conditions. He threw for just 154 yards, though there were a few potential connections where the weather impacted receivers. Look for him to top his passing prop this week (205.5 yards, -110) as the Browns find a little more rhythm in the passing game under clearer skies.