Steelers vs. Browns 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, going 3-0-1 against the spread in those four contests. Today’s game takes place from FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio and will air live on CBS.
The Cleveland Browns had an abysmal 2016 season, going just 1-15 overall with a 4-12 record against the spread. Cleveland gave up 28.2 points per game in 2016. Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, was supposed to help but he suffered a high ankle sprain this week and will be out for a few weeks. 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 to start this season. He was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame that has some mobility out of the pocket. He will hope to develop chemistry with receivers Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman. Isaiah Crowell will also be a focal point after nearly rushing for 1,000 yards a year ago.
Pittsburgh is coming off an 11-5 record in 2016 in which it won another AFC North championship and reached the AFC Championship. The Steelers finished the year with an 11-8 record against the spread. Pittsburgh’s offense 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 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 back in the backfield, though he didn’t join the team until after the preseason concluded. He had 1,268 yards rushing with seven touchdowns and 75 catches for 616 yards in 2016.
Nine points is a lot to give up on the road, but Pittsburgh is at full strength and facing a Cleveland defense that is still without any real playmakers. The Browns’ offense has some skilled players, but Kizer is going to be making his first start against a defense that prides itself on rushing the passer. Turnovers are likely from the Browns and big plays are likely from the Pittsburgh offense. Cleveland is 0-10-1 against the spread in their last 11 division games for a reason.
NFL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: PITTSBURGH STEELERS -9