For the third time this season, a pair of AFC North rivals will face off in the final game of NFL Wild Card Weekend. After splitting their regular season series, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will be vying for more than just a grudge match victory on Sunday night. The right to advance in the NFL Playoffs will also be on the line. The NFL odds and NFL betting experts offer the edge to the home team ahead of this postseason showdown.
This betting preview contains the NFL odds, key betting trends, prop bets, and predictions for the Browns vs Steelers NFL Playoffs game on Sunday night.
NFL Odds, NFL Picks, and NFL Props | Browns vs Steelers
Browns vs Steelers Game Info
Cleveland Browns (11-5, 5-3 Away) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4, 7-1 Home)
Date: Sunday, Jan. 10, 2020
Time: 8:15 p.m. EST
Venue: Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, PA
Browns vs Steelers NFL Odds + NFL Picks
All odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
Opening Lines: Steelers -3.5; O/U 46.5
Moneyline: CLE: (+225) | PIT: (-275)
Spread: CLE: +6 (-105) | PIT: -6 (-115)
Total: 47 — Over: (-115) | Under: (-105)
Browns vs Steelers NFL Playoffs Overview
Just over 135 miles separate the Browns’ home at FirstEnergy Stadium from the Steelers’ at Heinz Field. The latter is set to host Sunday night’s AFC Wild Card battle between the teams just one week after they faced off in Cleveland. The Browns won that game to secure their playoff berth, albeit against a Steelers squad that was flying at half-mast with an AFC North title already secured. Now, the Browns will have to compete without their head coach, Kevin Stefanski, after he tested positive for the virus. Needless to say, Mike Tomlin will have the coaching edge over acting Browns head man Mike Priefer.
Despite their virus issues, the Browns won six of their final eight regular season games. After a slew of positive tests left them shorthanded in what was ultimately an upset loss to the New York Jets, the Browns once again had to close their team facility down this week. Joining Coach Stefanski on the updated positives list at the time of writing are seven players, headlined by tight end Harrison Bryant and cornerback Denzel Ward. With a pair of safeties also on the list, an already weak Cleveland secondary may be grasping at straws in trying to cover the bevy of Pittsburgh pass-catchers on Sunday night. Baker Mayfield and the offense could have their work cut out for them trying to keep pace.
After locking up the division title in Week 16, the Steelers were able to get some of their stars some added rest last week. The most notable player to sit out of the Week 17 game entirely was Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran QB was coming off of one of his best games of the season, throwing for 341 yards and three scores against Indianapolis. With the Steelers struggling to run the football in a big way throughout the second half of the season, one has to believe the offense will ride on the arm of Roethlisberger in Sunday’s NFL Playoffs matchup and beyond. Good luck to the Browns in trying to contain all three of Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool. Defensively, Pittsburgh ranked third in the NFL in both scoring defense and yards allowed per game (305.8).
Browns vs Steelers Betting Trends
- Browns 2020-21 Betting Trends: 6-10 ATS; 9-7 to the Over
- Steelers 2020-21 Betting Trends: 10-6 ATS; 7-7-2 to the Over
- The Browns are 5-2 straight up in their last seven games.
- The Browns are 3-7 ATS in their last ten games.
- The Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
- The total has gone Under in four of the Steelers’ last six games.
- The Steelers are 4-1 ATS in their last five head-to-head games against the Browns.
- Dating back to 2012, the Steelers are 13-3-1 in their last 17 head-to-head games against the Browns.
- Home teams are 6-0-1 in the last seven head-to-head games between the Browns and Steelers.
Browns vs Steelers Stats
- Cleveland is averaging 25.5 points per game (PPG) this season (No. 14 in the NFL).
- Cleveland is surrendering 26.2 PPG this season (No. 21 in the NFL).
- Pittsburgh is averaging 26.0 PPG this season (No. 12 in the NFL).
- Pittsburgh is surrendering 19.5 PPG this season (No. 3 in the NFL).
Monkey Knife Fight NFL Playoffs Props | Browns vs Steelers
Monkey Knife Fight is a DFS site unlike DraftKings or FanDuel. Instead, the contests feature props to play, with varying multipliers for each contest. Unlike the aforementioned sites, you are only competing with yourself when making NFL picks on MKF, and you do not need to worry about annoying salary caps.
Monkey Knife Fight has several great NFL props for the entire NFL Playoffs Wild Card Weekend slate. Here is one in particular that I like for the Browns vs Steelers game.
With the Browns secondary decimated by the virus and the Steelers’ inability to run the ball, one would think Ben Roethlisberger and the aerial attack will be the focal point offensively. With that said, Roethlisberger could go out and have a solid 270-yard game and still fall short of the NFL props threshold. Furthermore, he actually had his lowest yardage output of the entire season against Cleveland back in Week 6. The Steelers won that game with stout defense and, believe it or not, a big day on the ground from James Conner. The line is just too high to do anything but play the Under.
On the Browns side, I am of the opinion that Baker Mayfield will be throwing the ball early and often in this NFL Playoffs matchup. If that is the case, Jarvis Landry could be in line for a good amount of targets. Targets and receptions haven’t always translated into chunk yardage for Landry this season, and perhaps predictably so given that he operates out of the slot. But serving as Mayfield’s top target in a game where the NFL odds suggest Cleveland will be trailing bodes well for him to eclipse 61 receiving yards.
Correctly predicting both yardage totals would net you 3x your buy-in amount.
Browns vs Steelers NFL Playoffs Prediction
This matchup has seen a greater range in terms of line movement than any of the other NFL Wild Card Weekend games. The Steelers have seen the point spread run upwards in their favor, from an opening line of -3.5 to a current positioning of -6. The total has also ticked up a full point from the opening 46.5. 68.8% of the public NFL betting tickets are on Pittsburgh according to oddsFire.
Unfortunately for Browns fans, I’m not convinced that their long-awaited return to the postseason will last long. There are the obvious virus-related concerns, particularly as they relate to what is an already weak defensive secondary. In addition, I’m just not convinced that the Browns are as good as their record suggests.
The Browns had a top-10 adjusted offensive efficiency rating this season but ranked in the bottom eight in both defense and special teams, according to Football Outsiders DVOA. The Steelers were the top defense, giving them the numerical edge over Cleveland’s best unit. I don’t love laying nearly a full touchdown in the postseason, but Pittsburgh is the superior team here.
Browns vs Steelers Prediction
Final Score Prediction: Steelers 34, Browns 24
Betting Picks: Steelers -6 and Over 47 (-115 at Bovada Sportsbook)