Free Daily Lock Pick: NFL: Saints vs Panthers- September 18th - Max Confidence CompClick to see the pick now
The Cleveland Browns (1-0, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U) meet with the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 O/U) in a divisional showdown on Monday night. The Browns stunned the Bengals with a home win to kick off their season. The Steelers dropped a home decision to the 49ers in their opener. Each squad recorded a home win in last year’s two meetings.
Browns Earn Dominating Victory in Opener
The Cleveland Browns enter their first road game with confidence. They were a one-point favorite in a dominating 24-3 home win against Joe Burrow and the Bengals to begin the season. The squad is looking to rebound from a disappointing 2022 season that resulted in a 7-10 record.
Deshaun Watson played in six games after his suspension expired last season and wasn’t particularly sharp, recording 1101 passing yards and a 7:5 TD to INT-ratio. He was able to generate 154 passing yards against a strong Bengals defense last week, throwing one INT and one pick. The 27-year-old had dominating seasons as a member of the Texans.
The Browns have one of the best running backs in the game, Nick Chubb. The 27-year-old RB accrued a remarkable 1525 rushing yards last season and was a beast in the opener, collecting 106 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per rush. He posted 190 rushing yards against the Steelers last season. The Browns' #1 WR Amari Cooper had a great 2022 season in his first year as a member of the Browns, recording 1160 yards. Cooper brought in 37 yards last week. The Cleveland offense was slightly below average last season but if Watson can return to the level he was at with the Texans, this offense could be difficult to contain.
The Browns defense wasn’t as strong as past seasons in 2022. They have many defensive studs led by Myles Garrett. The 28-year-old DE had 16 sacks last year and one in the opener. The unit also has a stellar corner in Denzel Ward who has a $100M contract. Cleveland ranked 5th against the pass but 25th against the run last year. They were dominant against the Bengals, conceding only 142 total yards.
Last season, Cleveland averaged 21.2 points, ranking them 18th. They allowed an average of 22.4 points, placing them 20th.
Free Daily Lock Pick: NFL: Saints vs Panthers- September 18th - Max Confidence Comp Click to see the pick now
Steelers Eye Rebound After Disastrous Opener
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to be improved this season after going 9-8 last year but the opener was not an encouraging sign. They were just a small one-point dog in an ugly 30-7 home loss to a very good 49ers squad. Pittsburgh is still a young team, especially on offense. One game is no cause for concern. They were 1-4 after five games last year and almost made the postseason.
Kenny Pickett enters his second year. The 25-year-old QB definitely showed his potential in his rookie season but has many analysts questioning if he has the skill to lead this squad to the playoffs. Pickett struggled against a vaunted 49ers defense in the opener, recording 232 passing yards with one TD against two picks.
Pittsburgh barely ran last week. They only had 10 carries. Najee Harris managed 31 rushing yards. The 25-year-old posted 1034 rushing yards on 3.8 yards per carry last season. Steelers top receiver Diontae Johnson injured his hamstring in the opener and did not return for the fourth quarter. The 27-year-old led the squad with 1160 yards last season and finished with 48 before his injury. He is not expected to play in this game. The Steelers' offense will only go as far as Pickett can take them. The running game is decent but can be contained.
The Steelers' defense had all kinds of problems containing the 49ers last Sunday, especially on the ground, squandering 188 rushing yards. They allowed 391 total yards. The unit was competitive last season, ranking 19th against the pass and 9th against the run. T.J. Watt had three sacks in the opener, and their new corner, Patrick Peterson, broke up two passes. Cameron Heyward was injured and has been placed on the IR.
Last season, Pittsburgh averaged 18.1 points, pegging them 26th. They conceded an average of 20.4 points, good for 10th in the NFL.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Cleveland Browns were able to make the Bengals look like a last-place squad last week. They demolished Burrow and the Bengals 24-3 in a game that was never in doubt. The Steelers were overmatched by the 49ers on offense and defense in their opener.
Furthermore, offensively the Browns are better than the Steelers. Deshaun Watson is a proven QB who had some incredible seasons with the Texans and Nick Chubb is possibly the best RB in the NFL. I mention Chubb because the Steelers allowed 188 rushing yards against the 49ers. I expect Chubb to have a big game after recording 106 yards last week. He also registered 190 rushing yards in the two bouts against the Steelers last season. Pickett struggled against the Browns last year, connecting on 45% of his passes for only 195 yards.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect scoring to be at a premium. The Browns opted for the run 40 times last week and I expect more of the same. Running plays will eat more off the clock, plus the Steelers' defense could not contain the run last week, so I see no reason why the Browns won't attempt several running plays. The Steelers are playing without Cameron Heyward which doesn't help.
In addition, the Steelers managed only seven points on 239 total yards against the 49ers strong defense. The Browns are another solid defensive squad that made Burrow look horrible. Despite attempting 47 passes, Pickett still only managed 232 passing yards in the opener. They are also playing without Diontae Johnson. The under is 4-1 in the Steelers' last five home games.