The Cleveland Browns take one last crack at winning their first game of the season when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17. The game is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 31 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The game can be seen on CBS in local markets.
The Steelers enter the game as 13.5-point favorites over the Browns. The over/under is set at 39.5 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 17 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Steelers vs Browns Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds
After going 1-15 last season, the Browns are staring down the barrel of a 0-16 season this year. In the long run, a win in this game wouldn’t mean much. but the entire Browns organization definitely wants to avoid the humiliation of going winless on the season. Cleveland has had many close calls this season, but not lately. In the last two weeks, the Browns have lost by 17 points to the Ravens and Bears, two teams that one would think they’d have a fighting chance to beat.
Meanwhile, the Steelers have already locked up a division title and a first-round playoff bye. At 12-3, Pittsburgh can earn home-field advantage in the playoffs, but only if they win and the Patriots lose in Week 17. With that being unlikely, head coach Mike Tomlin has left the door open for the Steelers to rest some of their starters. However, Tomlin has also said he’s not going to feel bad for the Browns or take it easy on them.
Back in Week 1, these two teams actually played a competitive game. The Steelers left Cleveland with a 21-18 win. Of course, that game was played a long time ago. Also, the Browns have just one win over the Steelers since 2007, so history is not on Cleveland’s side.
Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: Steelers -13.5
Early betting has slightly favored Cleveland being able to cover the spread. But I’m going to swallow the points and lean toward the Steelers to win by at least two touchdowns. Most of Pittsburgh’s wins the past couple months have been close games. However, they took care of business against the Texans last week, winning 34-6, and they can win by a similar scoreline this week.
At times this season, the Browns have been able to stay close with good teams. They even have four games that were lost by just a field goal, including Week 1 against the Steelers. However, that has not been the case recently. Cleveland’s last eight losses have come by an average of 13 points, and most of those games have been against teams far inferior to the Steelers.
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Offensively, the Browns have managed to score more than 10 just twice in their last six games. DeShone Kizer has thrown two interceptions in each of his last three games, and on the season, he has more than twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. The fact of the matter is that the Browns aren’t getting any better, and so I can’t buy them staying competitive against a team like Pittsburgh.
I’m also not that concerned about the Steelers resting some starters, which I imagine is part of the reason early betting has been in Cleveland’s direction. Many of Pittsburgh’s backups at skill positions are actually better than Cleveland’s starters. The same can be said of Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback Landry Jones, who will likely see at least some playing time on Sunday. Even if the Steelers end up playing their backups for most of the game, which I’m not convinced will be the case, the Steelers still match up favorably to the Browns.
Any way you slice it, I think the Steelers will win this game comfortably and cover the spread. If the Browns couldn’t stay within two touchdowns home against the Ravens or against the Bears the past couple of weeks, I don’t see them doing it in Pittsburgh. I’ll take my chances on the Steelers winning in blowout fashion.