Best Monday Night Football bets: Steelers-Browns

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

January 3, 2022 09:40 AM
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Monday Night Football features the Cleveland Browns on the road to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers to complete an exciting Week 17 in the NFL.

Our team of experts at VSiN has the game covered from all angles, with a market report from South Point oddsmaker Chris Andrews, along with a pick on the game from VSiN's Adam Burke.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 42)

Market Report from Chris Andrews: I opened Cleveland -3 and sharps bet the favorite up to -3.5 fairly quickly. I was getting pretty good play on Pittsburgh + 3.5 over the weekend. Other sportsbooks had shaded their money line vig at either 3 or 3.5. You could bet Pittsburgh + 3.5 at 11/10 with me at the South Point -- nobody had a better price on the Steelers. So, bettors wanting Pittsburgh in Ben Roethlisberger’s home finale played with us. It was tricky to bet this one early (beyond line value around 3), as there’s always a chance for more Covid-19 news to break with either roster, and playoff hopes for both teams would be influenced by Sunday results involving other contenders. Good to know who’s playing and what’s at stake when you bet! Market moves Monday will have factored in updated playoff need and personnel news. Be sure you’re monitoring spread adjustments on game day.

Burke: This line has been all over the place and took a roundabout route to get right back to where it started. The lookahead line from the Westgate was Steelers -1. The Browns were (rightfully) pushed out to -3.5, but with their playoff hopes now dashed, and Big Ben playing at home for the last time, you can get Cleveland as an underdog now in certain spots.

I’m all for a good narrative. Roethlisberger is 25-2-1 against the Browns in his career. Up until October 2020, he was the winningest active QB at Browns Stadium, despite playing on the shores of Lake Erie once per season. Certainly it seems only fitting that his final home game ends up a triumph over the Browns.

Let’s look at this a little deeper. First, the Browns don’t have the postseason to play for, but there should be some incentive to finish what has devolved into a dumpster fire on a high note, especially if that includes beating Roethlisberger in his last Heinz Field appearance. Second, the Browns are simply the better team.

Say what you will about the standings and the first meeting, but the Browns are + 0.3 in yards per play differential and the Steelers are -0.7. Cleveland is -15 in point differential and Pittsburgh is -70. The Browns are 14th in offensive DVOA and second in rush offense DVOA. The Steelers are 23rd in overall offensive DVOA. Cleveland’s passing offense even ranks higher than Pittsburgh’s.

The Browns are also better defensively and the Steelers are 30th in rush defense DVOA, which seems bad when squaring off against Nick Chubb. I can’t foresee Cleveland just rolling over here. This is a team that is better than its record and a team that should show up against a hated rival and especially under the circumstances.

Now that you can get Cleveland as an underdog, when they should not be, there’s only one choice to make in this game.

Pick: Browns + 1 

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