Wild Card Weekend is almost over, let’s wrap it up with a Browns at Steelers betting preview.
For a full breakdown of offensive matchup breakdowns, check out the math over here: NFL Wild Card Weekend Bets: Matchup Breakdowns.
Additional game previews, props and picks will be shared throughout the week on Twitter, so make sure you’re following, @griffybets. Let’s get to it!
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 8:15, NBC
Line: Steelers -5.5
#6 Cleveland (11-5 overall), (6-10 ATS)
#3 Pittsburgh (12-4 overall), (10-6 ATS)
Cleveland Passing Offense
Receiving grade (10) vs. Steelers Pass Coverage grade (3)
Passing DVOA (10) vs. Steelers Pass Defense DVOA (1)
Net difference: -16
Cleveland Rushing Offense
Running grade (7) vs. Steelers Rush Defense grade (7)
Rushing DVOA (7) vs. Steelers Rush Defense DVOA (5)
Net difference: -2
Pittsburgh Passing Offense
Receiving grade (29) vs. Browns Pass coverage grade (20)
Passing DVOA (21) vs. Browns Pass Defense DVOA (25)
Net difference: -5
Pittsburgh Rushing Offense
Running grade (31) vs. Browns Rush defense grade (18)
Rushing DVOA (30) vs. Browns Rush Defense DVOA (19)
Net difference: -24
Browns at Steelers Betting Preview: Thoughts on the Game
This is the third leg of my 10-point teaser on unders – thanks to the above breakdown showing neither offense holding an advantage. To hit the teaser, I need this game to go under 57, which I feel good about.
I was upset to hear about the covid cases out of Cleveland – I really wanted to take them to cover the 5.5-points.
The Browns will be without two corners, including Denzel Ward, their starting guard and maybe most importantly – their head coach.
It’s tough to trust them in this one – but man, the Steelers have looked so mediocre since their 11-0 start, winning just one of their last five games.
While the Browns won against Pittsburgh just last week 24-22, Big Ben didn’t play.
The uncertainty that the covid absences brings to the table gives me enough pause to avoid a game pick in this one. There are a few opportunities for prop value, so let’s get on to it.
Player Props to Target: Browns
The Steelers rushing defense has let up over 100 yards rushing in three straight weeks – and Nick Chubb finished with 108 in Week 17.
Prop pick: Nick Chubb OVER 69.5 rushing yards
It’s no secret that the Browns will establish the run in this one – Cleveland calls run plays 4th most in the NFL.
Chubb is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and as the 1A option out of this backfield, he’s going to have his chances to break one and hit this over.
Kareem Hunt’s line has some solid value as well, currently at 29.5 yards. I’ll stick with the top dog for Cleveland in this one.
Player Props to Target: Steelers
With the multiple absences in the Cleveland secondary, I think there’s some value to be found in Pittsburgh wide receivers.
If you look above, the Steelers offensive grades may surprise you – it’s most definitely the reason they’ve cooled off of late.
While both rankings are low, this team severely struggles to run the ball. Expect to see passing early and often.
It’s a three-man show out of the receiver room between Smith-Schuster, Claypool and Diontae Johnson.
Johnson leads the team in targets, JuJu leads the team in snaps played, while Claypool just has that explosive factor about him (14.1 yards per catch).
Prop pick: Chase Claypool OVER 51.5 receiving yards
Claypool has been the leading receiver in both games against Cleveland this year – and as the lowest line of the three receivers (who I find to be pretty even), I’m rolling with it.
That will do it for this Wild Card preview. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets, for my latest. Thanks for reading, and good luck this weekend!Breakdowns for every game can be found here: NFL Playoffs Primer: Wild Card Weekend