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Browns Visit Steelers in Pivotal AFC North Clash

Chase Claypool (11) of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a catch against Darius Slay (24) of the Philadelphia Eagles on October 11, 2020, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Cleveland (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) is off to its best start since 1994, but it’s been nearly that long since the Browns were able to secure a victory in Pittsburgh. The Steelers (4-0, 3-1) have won 16 straight home games vs Cleveland by an average of 12.5 points.

Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Date/Time: October 18, 1 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Heinz Field
  • TV Coverage: CBS
  • Opening Odds: Steelers -4.5 | O/U 50.5 (Line History)
  • Browns vs Steelers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Early bettors were buying in on Cleveland, moving this line down to +3.5 as of Monday night. Pittsburgh’s been a dicey bet when favored in this low point spread range at home, going just 7-6 SU in its last 13 as chalk of 3.5 points or less.

Cleveland News & Notes

The Browns’ depth paid off last week in a 32-23 win over Indianapolis, and they may have to rely on their reserves once again on Sunday. After losing offensive guard Wyatt Teller and safety Ronnie Harrison to injury against the Colts, Cleveland got strong efforts from backups Chris Hubbard and Sheldrick Redwine. Hubbard drew rave reviews from the coaching staff in his debut at guard, while Redwine had a fourth-quarter interception in place of Harrison.

Cleveland also overcame the absence of Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb as Kareem Hunt contributed 93 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Hunt could be a strong fantasy play again this week in the absence of Chubb, especially if quarterback Baker Mayfield is hampered by a rib injury suffered in the fourth quarter against Indy. X-rays on Mayfield’s ribs were negative and he is expected to play vs the Steelers.

Cleveland has scored at least 30 points in each of its last four games following a season-opening 38-6 loss at Baltimore. However, only one of those four victories came on the road, where the Browns are 1-7 SU and ATS in their last eight.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

What will Chase Claypool do for an encore? That’s the big question this week in Pittsburgh after the Steelers wideout became the first rookie in NFL history to record three touchdown catches and run for a score in the same game. Claypool’s seven-catch, 110-yard performance against Philadelphia also saw him become the first rookie in Steelers franchise history to score four majors in a game.

Claypool’s breakout performance got the Pittsburgh defense off the hook after the Steelers saw a 17-point lead trimmed to just two points midway through the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh surrendered a 74-yard touchdown run, extended a Philadelphia drive with a roughing-the-passer penalty on third down and allowed the Eagles to convert 10 of 14 third-down attempts.

“Some of it was self-inflicted by us in penalties and missed tackles and so forth,” coach Mike Tomlin told ESPN after Pittsburgh’s wild 38-29 win.

If history is any guide, we should expect a bounce-back effort from the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers have gone UNDER the total in eight of their last 11 games overall, six of their last eight games vs division opponents and 15 of their last 21 games in conference play.

Betting Pick: Steelers -3.5

This is the best Cleveland team to visit Pittsburgh in a long time, but I’ll still believe a Browns win at Heinz Field when I see it. Until then, I’ll back the Steelers at this low number and hope for a bounce-back defensive effort by the black and gold.

Shark Bites
  • Cleveland is 1-7 SU and ATS in its last 8 road games.
  • Pittsburgh is 11-2 SU in its last 13 division games at home.
  • Cleveland has lost 16 straight games at Pittsburgh (avg margin: 12.5).