Steelers vs. Browns Total Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Pittsburgh is the clear favorite in this game, as the Steelers are getting odds of -9 points against the Browns. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 47 points. Pittsburgh has won four straight over Cleveland while the two have hit the under in four of their last five meetings. Sunday’s game takes place from FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio and will air live on CBS.
Pittsburgh is coming off an 11-5 record in 2016 in which it won another AFC North championship and reached the AFC Championship. Over a total of 19 games played, Pittsburgh was 12-7 with the under last season. Pittsburgh has a very capable offense that broke out often and averaged 24.9 points during the regular season. The defense held opponents to just 20.4 per game. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 3,819 yards and 29 touchdowns despite missing two games during the season. He contemplated retirement but is back to lead the team again this year. He has Antonio Brown back after catching 106 passes for 1,284 yards a year ago. Martavis Bryant returns as well after missing all of 2016 because of a suspension. He had 765 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Le’Veon Bell is also back, but coming off surgery last year for a groin injury. He had 1,268 yards rushing with seven touchdowns and 75 catches for 616 yards in 2016.
The Cleveland Browns didn’t have much to celebrate last season, going just 1-15. The team was 8-8 with the over/under total, likely due more to allowing points than scoring them. Cleveland gave up 28.25 points per game in 2016. The team tried to address that in the offseason by taking A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. However, an ankle injury during practice has him listed as doubtful for the opener. Offensively, Cleveland averaged just 16.5 points per game in 2016. After using six different quarterbacks last season, Cleveland is going with rookie DeShone Kizer for the opener. He was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame that has some mobility out of the pocket. He doesn’t have much in the way of established receivers as Terrelle Pryor, who caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards a year ago, is gone. Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman will be looked at to step up. Isaiah Crowell will also be a focal point after nearly rushing for 1,000 yards a year ago.
This is a tough call because I can see Pittsburgh lighting up the Cleveland defense for plenty of points, but I also see the Browns really struggling with a rookie QB making his first start and no established playmakers. Losing Garrett is a big blow for the Browns’ defense, but even with him gone, it’s hard to expect Pittsburgh to put up 35 points just because it looks capable on paper. Plenty can go wrong when you rely on that. These two have actually hit the under in their last four meetings in Cleveland, so I will stick with that trend.
NFL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: STEELERS/BROWNS UNDER 47