Browns vs. Steelers Free NFL Picks: With Roethlisberger Out, Back Cleveland +4.5

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 9:10 PM UTC

Ben Roethlisberger is highly unlikely to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. Is that reason enough to put the Cleveland Browns in our Week 10 NFL picks?

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 10: 30-30-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 21-27 Total

Ben, you're always breaking here and there (here and there). The Pittsburgh Steelers look like they'll have to play yet another game without QB Ben Roethlisberger; he suffered a sprained foot in last week's 38-35 win over the Oakland Raiders (+6 away), and isn't expected to play this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh has the bye after this game, so Roethlisberger could be ready for Week 12.

The prospect of Landry Jones starting another game for Pittsburgh has early bettors leaning toward the Browns this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS). Cleveland opened as 4.5-point road dog on the Week 10 NFL odds board, and our consensus reports at press time show 54 percent of bettors preferring the Browns. However, our expanded surveys have 62 percent of the action landing on the Steelers, including the only $1000+ bet thus far.


Today's Special: Ribs
It's not going to be easy to bet on the Browns (2-7 SU, 4-5 ATS). They were our BeeVee choice as the Best Value on the Board in Week 4, back when they faced a San Diego Chargers team that was struggling with injuries on the offensive line. But that was also when QB Josh McCown was relatively healthy. McCown (ribs) has been flattened like a pancake since then, and sat out last week's 31-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (–13 at home).

At least the Browns are coming into this game on a long week after playing the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. But McCown didn't practice Tuesday, and Cleveland isn't going anywhere this year, so it seems more likely that Johnny Manziel will play against the Steelers. Manziel is showing signs of improvement – he finished slightly above replacement level (+5 Total DYAR) against Cleveland, according to the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders. That's still well below what McCown was providing (+167 Total DYAR). Even if McCown does play, he's considerably less than 100 percent now.


Football Jones
Not that we're sold on Jones (+41 Total DYAR), either. He's played at a league-average level in limited action, which is a big improvement on Michael Vick (–177 Total DYAR), but also far better than Jones had performed since turning pro in 2013. The Steelers lost 23-13 to the Kansas City Chiefs (–3.5 at home) when Jones started in Week 7.

The Steelers (5-4 SU, 5-3-1 ATS) also have a problem with back-up RB DeAngelo Williams. He carried the ball 27 times for 170 yards against Oakland, and suffered an inflamed foot as a result. Williams should be able to play Sunday, but it's one more knock against a Steelers team that happens to have injury concerns of its own on the offensive line. Christmas Day, do we have to put either of these guys in our NFL picks? Fine, give us the underdogs on the long week, but make it a very small wager.

NFL Picks: Take the Browns +4.5 (–105) at Pinnacle

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