We will get Week 11 of the NFL underway with a AFC North showdown on Thursday Night Football, as the Cleveland Browns get ready to host the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is set for 8:20 EST at FirstEnergy Stadium and will be televised on both FOX and the NFL Network.
Oddsmakers opened up this line at Cleveland -3, but early money on the Steelers has the Browns sitting at -2.5. The total opened at 41 and is down to 40.
It will be a cold night in Ohio, as the wind chill is expected to be below freezing with winds at 10 mph.
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Steelers vs Browns Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4 SU, 5-3-1 ATS)
Those who were doubting the Steelers 3-game winning streak going into last week’s game against the Rams are eating their words. Pittsburgh let everyone know they aren’t going anywhere with a 17-12 win at home over LA as a 4-point dog. Those that put their trust in the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger are getting rewarded, as Pittsburgh is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
The Steelers are 2-games back of Baltimore in the AFC North and have quite the uphill climb to catch the Ravens, as they already lost at home to Lamar Jackson’s squad. On the bright side, Pittsburgh is right in the thick of the Wild Card race, but don’t have a lot of wiggle room, as they are tied for the final spot with both the Raiders and Colts, just a 1/2-game ahead of the Titans and 1-game in front of both the Chargers and Jaguars.
Cleveland Browns (3-6 SU, 2-6-1 ATS)
The Browns may have saved Freddie Kitchen’s job for at least another week with a 19-16 win at home against the Bills. After surrendering the lead to Buffalo with less than 6 minutes to play. Cleveland needed a TD and got it, as they went 82 yards on 10 plays for the game-winning score.
The victory snapped the Browns 4-game losing streak and kept their very slim playoff hopes alive. Despite their 3-6 record, Cleveland is just 2-games out of a Wild Card spot. However, they’ve got more than a handful of teams they got to leapfrog over. You almost have to think the Browns have to go at least 6-1 over their next 7 to have a shot at 9-7 overall.
This will be the first meeting of 2019 between these two teams (play again in Week 13). The Browns haven’t beat the Steelers since they pulled out a 31-10 win at home back in 20014. Cleveland did tie Pittsburgh at home in Week 1 last year, but would lose 33-18 at Pittsburgh in Week 8. While wins have been tough to come by in the series, the Browns are 3-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: OVER 40
My early lean here would be to take the OVER 40. I almost always lean to the OVER in these Thursday night games, as I just don’t think defenses can play up to their potential on just 3 days of rest. On top of that, I think we are getting a pretty decent number here with both of these teams coming off games in Week 10 where neither side scored 20 points.
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Not only do I think both defenses will struggle with getting their bodies up to speed on just 3 days of rest, but I could see both defenses being a bit emotionally drained from really big games at home last week. No one was giving the Steelers a shot at beating the Rams at home and few believed in the Browns being able to beat the Bills. Both defenses had to give everything they had in those wins, which I think only adds to the likelihood that they struggle a bit on Thursday.
Also, history is on our side. Only once in the last 5 meetings have these two teams failed to reach 40 points. Last year they combined for 42 in Cleveland and 51 at Pittsburgh.
I think we could see Cleveland’s offense see an uptick in production now that Kareem Hunt is finally eligible. Hunt made his debut last week and rushed for 30 yards on just 4 attempts (7.5 yards/carry). He also had 7 receptions for 44 yards. Hunt was a difference maker with the Chiefs in his brief time in the league.
As for the Steelers offense, they are expected to get back running back James Conner, who has missed the last two weeks with a shoulder injury. Conner is a big upgrade over what the Steelers had to use without him. Give me the OVER 40!