Browns-Steelers Bet Tips for Wild-Card Playoffs

Cleveland Browns (11-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

The Cleveland Browns visit the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday at 8:15 p.m ET. Here’s our complete guide to Browns-Steelers Bet Tips. Big Ben, starters return for rematch lines for Browns-Steelers picks are from PointsBet, current as of Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET.

Browns-Steelers Bet Tips

Picks in this article


Odds & Betting Lines for Browns-Steelers Picks


  • Against The Spread: Steelers -6 (-110)/Browns +6 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Steelers (-281)/Browns(+220)
  • Total: 47.5 — Over 47.5 (-115)/Under 47.5 (-105)
  • Implied Team Totals: Steelers 26.25, Browns 20.25

The Steelers and Browns split their regular-season series but the former could have easily swept their AFC North foes. While the Browns got the best of the Steelers in the regular-season finale, the Steelers were missing several key players including Ben Roethlisberger and T.J. Watt.

Now, it will be the Browns entering the rubber match shorthanded. The Browns lost HC Kevin Stefanski and OG Joel Bitonio, amongst others, to the reserve/ COVID list, causing a swing in the spread going in Pittsburgh’s favor. The Steelers lost four of their past five games following an undefeated start to the year while the Browns ended the regular season 2-2 in the final four games. Both clubs enter the postseason cold.


Browns-Steelers Key Injuries


Browns

Earlier this week, the Browns placed HC Kevin Stefanski, WR KhaDarel Hodge, OG Joel Bitonio, and two position coaches on the reserve/ COVID list. They are all not available for Sunday’s Wild Card tilt with the Steelers.

The Browns are expected to employ special teams coordinator Mike Prieferย as acting head-coach while offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will call offensive plays. Stefanski is in the Coach of the Year conversation and is a tremendous loss for the Browns.

They also got it on the player personnel end. While Hodge is a rotational player, Bitonio is an all-world talent and was expected to manage DL Cam Heyward. To make matters worse, OL Chris Hubbard, Bitonio’s primary backup, is on IR. The Browns are expected to start Michael Dunn in Bitonio’s place.

For more on the Browns’ COVID outbreak and the line-shift, check out my instant reaction here.

Steelers

The Browns are not the only team dealing with the coronavirus. Preceding Pittsburgh’s season finale tilt with the Browns, they placed TE Eric Ebron, CB Joe Haden, and LB Cassius Marsh on the COVID list. While they can be activated ahead of Sunday’s Wild Card battle with the Browns, it is not certain if they will be.

Vance McDonald is the next man up at the tight end position while Cameron Sutton would likely see more reps at cornerback if both Ebron and Haden are sidelined.

Steelers K Chris Boswell is also on the injury report with a groin issue. He’s missed the past two games as a result of the ailment. If Boswell is again ruled out, practice squad standout Matt Wright will continue to kick in the regular starter’s absence.

In three appearances for the Steelers this season, Wright made all four of his field goal attempt and all seven of his extra-point tries.


Browns-Steelers Picks: Players to Watch


Cleveland’s bread and butter is running the football. While Kareem Hunt is an excellent No. 2 back in the offense who can also catch the football out of the backfield — Hunt is a starter on most NFL teams — this offense operates behind Nick Chubb, one of the best pure backs in the NFL.

While Chubb missed four games this season, he still finished the year ranked seventh in rushing yards (1065ย ) and fourth in total touchdowns (12) by a running back.

Chubb is also as efficient as they come for primary in-between-the-tackles back, finishing the season third in true yards per carry (5.1), fourth in yards per touch (5.9), second in breakaway runs (14), and third in yards created (648).

Browns-Steelers Bet Tips and Browns-Steelers Picks: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the keys to Cleveland pulling an upset in the Wild-Card Playoffs.
Browns-Steelers Bet Tips and Browns-Steelers Picks: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the keys to Cleveland pulling an upset in the Wild-Card Playoffs. (USA TODAY Sports)

In his eight final games since Week 10, Chubb totaled 112 yards or scored a touchdown, finding the end zone in six consecutive games to close out the year while going for 103+ total yards in four of those six outings.

In the season finale against the Steelers, Chubb had his best outing of his career facing Pittsburgh, going for 108 yards with a score. It was the only time he had more than 92 yards against the Steelers and his first touchdown scored against them in five career games.

The Steelers offense popped early but began to struggle down the stretch. Their struggles likely have come from a lack of balance. When they fail to run the football with efficiency, the enemy defense can hang back and make Ben Roethlisberger’s life difficult defending the pass by dropping an additional man into coverage.

Amidst the Steelers’ three-game losing streak from Weeks 13-15, Roethlisberger threw for fewer than 187 yards twice with a 5:4 TD/INT ratio in those losses.

To avoid a setback, RB James Conner must find a way to get going. Conner has played in seven games since Week 8 and has totaled fewer than 99 yards in all of them, going for fewer than 65 yards in six of those seven outings. Conner has also only scored two times in that seven-game period with the latest coming in Week 16.

In three of his past five games against the Browns, Conner has totaled 102+ yards with at least one touchdown.


Browns-Steelers Bet Tips: Weather Report


The weather at Heinz Field calls for mostly cloudy nightly skies at the time of kickoff with a 2% chance of precipitation.

The temperature is set at 29 degrees Fahrenheit with 2 mph winds blowing Southwest.


Browns-Steelers Picks & Bet Tips


BEST BET: Steelers -6 (-110)

PIT -6(-110)

CLE @ PIT | 01/10, 8:15 PM

As I had mentioned above, the Browns will enter this game shorthanded, which undoubtedly fuels my Browns-Steelers picks.

Head coach and offensive play-caller Kevin Stefanski and all-world OG Joel Bitonio are both out for this game as they are on the reserve/ COVID list.

Both of those losses will prove to be significant for the Browns. While the Browns defeated the Steelers in the season finale, that was a Cleveland team with their coach and guard in the mix. That was also a Steelers team resting Ben Roethlisberger and T.J. Watt while starting TE Eric Ebron and CB Joe Haden were placed on the COVID list shortly before that Week 17 encounter.

While we are not sure about the ultimate playing status’ of Ebron and Haden, we do know that the quarterback and pass rusher will be out there.

In the first 2020 meeting between the Browns and Steelers when both clubs were more or less at full strength, Pittsburgh smashed Cleveland 38-7 back in Week 6.

Although the Browns can run the football — they are the third-best rushing offense on a per-game basis (148.4) — their passing attack needs help and some consistency to boot. The Browns’ offense averaged the ninth fewest passing yards per game (221.2).

Meanwhile, the Steelers have surrendered the third-fewest passing yards per game (194.4) with the 11th fewest rushing yards (111.4).

Even if Cleveland can run the football, they will be hard-pressed to pass against this secondary with or without Haden. Baker Mayfield has played in five career games against the Steelers, passing for fewer than 196 yards and two touchdowns in all of them. He is also 2-3 against the Steelers in his career.

Big Ben is 6-0-1 straight-up in his past seven games against the Browns. Mayfield’s two wins have come over backup Steelers signal-callers.

The Steelers are 4-1 against the spread in their past five meetings with the Browns, covering in three straight.

The Browns are 2-4 ATS in their past six games and 1-3 in their past four, failing to cover in two straight.

The Steelers are 2-4 ATS in their past six games, covering in each of their past two.

The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings between these two clubs.

CONSIDER: Under 47.5 (-105)

u47.5(-105)

CLE @ PIT | 01/10, 8:15 PM

The total of this game is difficult to project, but if I am wagering anything, I will go in the direction of the Under. While both the Steelers and Browns can score points, we have also seen both sides struggle, especially in the second half of the season. What’s more, the Steelers bring one of the best defenses in the NFL, surrendering the third-fewest points per game (19.5).

The Browns have scored fewer than 24 points in each of their past three games, one of which, managing 16 points against the Jets in Week 16.

The Steelers have scored fewer than 28 points in each of their past six games. In four of those games, they scored fewer than 19 points.

The Under is 5-3-1 in the Steelers’ past eight games, going Over in three straight to close out the year.

The Under is 5-4 in the Browns’ past nine games and 1-2 in their past three, going Over in the season finale against Pittsburgh.

The Total in Week 17’s meeting between these two teams was 44.5. The game went Over at 46.

The Under is 3-1 in the past four meetings between the Steelers and Browns, going Over in their last matchup in Week 17.

The Under is 3-0-1 in the Steelers’ past four games as a home favorite.

CONSIDER: Steelers (-281)

PIT(-281)

CLE @ PIT | 01/10, 8:15 PM

If you like the Steelers to win outright but don’t think they will cover the six points, then take their Moneyline. You are taking a hit on your return, but you are also protecting your investment.

The Steelers are 7-2-1 straight up in their past 10 games with the Browns. While the Browns have won two of their past four games against the Steelers, both of those wins came against backup quarterbacks. Neither of those wins came on the road.

Anthony Cervino is 69-54-2 on his NFL Best Bets in 2020.

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