Thursday Night Football Sharp Report: Steelers at Browns

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Wake up with VSiN Daily Morning Bets, a quick 10-15 minute podcast posted at 6:30 a.m. ET highlighting the top games and biggest line moves each day. For a full breakdown of Thursday's betting action, be sure to catch the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3 p.m. ET. I'll also be joining Big Bets at 2:45 p.m. ET this afternoon.

In the meantime, let's examine where smart money is leaning for tonight's Thursday Night Football showdown...

 

8:15 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)

Both of these AFC North rivals won their season openers but then suffered losses in Week 2. The Steelers just fell to the Patriots 17-14 at home, pushing as 3-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Browns just suffered a late collapse to the Jets 31-30, losing outright as 6.5-point home favorites. 

This line opened with Cleveland listed as a 3-point home favorite. Early money laid the points with the Browns, driving Cleveland up from -3 to -5.5. But over the past 48-hours we've seen significant buyback on the Steelers, dropping the line back down to 4.5. Some books are even inching down to 4. Essentially, all late movement leading up to kickoff is grabbing the points with Pittsburgh. Currently 68% of bets and 63% of money are taking the Steelers at DraftKings. 

Pittsburgh matches several profitable betting systems. Dogs are 18-13-1 ATS (58%) so far this NFL season. Primetime dogs are 62-46 ATS (57%) since 2019. Short road dogs +6 or less are 132-81 ATS (62%) since 2019. Dogs who made the playoffs the previous season, like the Steelers here, are 124-94 ATS (57%) since 2019. Pittsburgh also has value as a divisional dog. Historically, dogs within in the division perform far better against the spread than dogs outside of the division due to the familiarity between both teams leveling the playing field and benefiting the team getting points. Road divisional dogs are 91-74 ATS (55%) since 2019. The Steelers also have correlative betting value as a dog in a low total game (38.5). Low totals benefit dogs as the fewer amount of expected points scored makes it harder for the favorite to cover the number.

Mike Tomlin has also been one of the best coaches in the NFL when getting points. Tomlin is 46-23 ATS (67%) as a dog with the Steelers. He's even better as a dog in divisional games, going 20-6 ATS (77%). 

Pros have also leaned under here. The total opened at 40.5 and sharp under money has dropped the line to 38.5. Some shops are even down to 38. The under is receiving 47% bets but 60% money, signaling a +13% smart money discrepancy. Unders are 22-10 (69%) this season. Primetime unders are a perfect 6-0 and divisional unders are 10-1. Weather could also be a factor here, as the forecast calls for low 60s with 15-20 MPH winds. When the wind blows 10 MPH or more the under is roughly 55% over the past decade. Clay Martin, the lead referee, has historically favored unders (57%). 

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