The Browns and Steelers will get Week 3 started when these AFC North rivals square up for Thursday Night Football. Both teams are coming off losses in Week 2 that were each winnable in their own right. Pittsburgh muffed a punt in the second half, which allowed New England to pull away with a win. Meanwhile, the Browns are reeling from an utter collapse against the Jets where they gave up a 30-17 lead with under two minutes left in regulation. Needless to say, both of these clubs are probably happy to get to Week 3 and leave last week in the dust as soon as possible.
Here, we'll specifically be looking at the different betting angles that this game has to offer. Along with the spread and total, we'll also take a look at several player props and hand in our picks for how we see this prime-time matchup unfolding.
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Sept. 22 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Browns -4.5, O/U 38.5
Back in the spring when this line was first rolled out, the Browns were a 3.5-point favorite, and that held throughout the summer but did dip down to -3 following Week 1. In the aftermath of Week 2, this has shifted heavily and the Browns are now considered to be a 4.5-point favorite and even stood as high as a 5-point favorite at times throughout the week leading into this Thursday matchup.
The pick: Browns -4.5 (+100). Cleveland is expected to have star pass rusher Myles Garrett for this game, which is bad news for Mitch Trubisky as he tries to cling onto his starting job in Pittsburgh. The stage is set nicely for the Browns to get an early lead at home on a short week against a traveling Steelers team and then lean heavily on the run to grind out a win. That opportunity for success on the ground enhances as right tackle Jack Conklin is also expected to make his season debut after missing the first two weeks. Pittsburgh currently ranks 18th in the NFL in DVOA against the run, which plays right into the Browns' strength offensively. If they can get up and force the Steelers into a more pass-heavy game script, they can allow Garrett to tee off against Trubisky, which will likely force him into at least one turnover.
Key trend: Browns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games.
This total opened at 40.5 before Week 2 and was quickly dragged down throughout this week after briefly bumping up to 41 on Monday. It fell as low as 37.5 and currently sits at 38.5 on the eve of this divisional head-to-head.
The pick: Under 19 total 1H points (-110). If forced to pick a total on this game as a whole, I'd lean under but I'd much rather go with the Under 19 1H points here. The Browns preference will be to control the clock and keep the ground game churning, which plays in our favor and the Steelers have shown a reluctance to throw the ball down the field with Trubisky. The game may force them to make those attempts in the second half, so this is a good way to avoid that scenario by zeroing in on the first two quarters.
Key trend: Under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings between these teams in Cleveland.
Mitch Trubisky props
- Passing touchdowns: 0.5 (Over -274, Under +190)
- Passing yards: 199.5 (Over +102, Under -139)
- Rushing yards: 12.5 (Over +100, Under -137)
- Passing attempts: 31.5 (Over -131, Under -104)
- Longest pass completion: 31.5 (Over -123, Under -111)
- Completions: 20.5 (Over +118, Under -163)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -129, Under -106)
The Over 0.5 interceptions at -129 is good value here on Trubisky, who tossed a pick last week against New England. He'll be facing a pass rush headlined by DPOY candidate Myles Garrett, which could force him to rush a number of his throw and tread into risky windows. I also believe the Browns are set up to gain an early lead in this divisional matchup that will force Pittsburgh into a game script that forces Trubisky to push the ball down the field, which is something he hasn't been comfortable with thus far with the Steelers. With rookie Kenny Pickett breathing down his neck, Trubisky may also force some of those he otherwise wouldn't in hopes of clinging onto his job for at least another week.
In a similar vein, Trubisky going over his 31.5 pass attempts prop is a lean as well, especially if we believe they'll be trailing and forced to throw the ball more. He also went over this number in both of his games this season, including a matchup against the Patriots last week that produced just 31 points.
Jacoby Brissett props
- Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +190, Under -274)
- Passing yards: 187.5 (Over -104, Under -131)
- Rushing yards: 12.5 (Over -111, Under -123)
- Passing attempts: 31.5 (Over -131, Under -104)
- Longest pass completion: 31.5 (Over +100, Under -137)
- Completions: 16.5 (Over -139, Under +102)
- Interceptions: 0.5 (Over +108, Under -148)
Brissett has seen 10 rushing attempts over the first two games of the season and has gone over his 12.5-yard rushing prop once, which came last week in a 43-yard rushing performance against New York. If he's averaging a handful of carries per game, going over this 12.5-yard total isn't a bad roll of the dice. The Under 31.5 pass attempts is the top play, however, at -104. Cleveland's offense is centered around running the football and they should be able to do that against a so-so Pittsburgh run defense. If they gain an early lead, they'll be able to lean on that running game to glide to a victory without placing the ball in Brissett's hands too much.
Player props to consider
Kareem Hunt total rushing attempts: Over 9.5 (-157). Hunt has seen double-digit carries in both games this season and is the 1B in this offense to Nick Chubb, so he'll still see plenty of work out of the backfield against a mediocre Steelers run defense. Since joining the Browns in 2019, Hunt has played in 34 regular season games. He's received double-digit carries in 20 of those games. If you go back to just 2020, he's rushed more than 9.5 times 77% of the time.
Nick Chubb total rushing yards: Over 84.5 (-129). As we noted with Hunt, the ground game is the focal point of Cleveland's offense and Chubb is the main attraction. He's gone over this total in each of his previous two games and went over it in half of his games played in 2021. The Steelers defense is traveling on a short week and just faced a Patriots backfield that averaged 4.9 yards per carry with their backs.