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Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball as we look at our best Browns-Steelers predictions
Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball before a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on August 11, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images via AFP

The second game of a double dose of Monday Night Football to conclude Week 2 pits the rival Cleveland Browns against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an all-AFC North battle as we assess the best available MNF odds.

The Cleveland Browns were one of the biggest stories of the NFL's Week 1 with an emphatic 24-3 upset of the rival Cincinnati Bengals which had many Bengals starters pulled from the game well before the end of regulation. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers made headlines for all the wrong reasons in a 30-7 loss at home against the San Francisco 49ers.

Be sure to check out our Browns vs. Steelers player props for a closer look at this game!

Head to our Saints vs. Panthers predictions and Saints vs. Panthers player props for our analysis of the other Monday Night Football contest.

To help round out your NFL best bets for Week 2, here is our best Browns vs. Steelers prediction for Monday Night Football (odds via our best NFL betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Browns vs. Steelers prediction: Monday Night Football

Steelers +2.5 (-118 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Week 2 is a great time to capitalize on bettors' overreactions and the subsequent inflated lines from oddsmakers as a result of first-week performances. That's a big reason for the trend cited by Evan Abrams, where teams coming off a 10-plus points loss in Week 1 when facing an opponent that didn't lose by double-digits in the opening week are 32-16-2 ATS since 2014. Not only does that apply to Pittsburgh this week, but general overreactions will be even greater, considering Cleveland won by 21 points last week.

The Steelers' defense must show up Monday night, as Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett has one or fewer touchdown passes in all 14 career games. In addition, two of his top wideouts, Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, are sidelined with hamstring injuries. Johnson is out for several weeks while Pickens was limited in practice Saturday.

That's bad news for the Steelers, because Pickett has a special connection with Pickens, as the two produced the best QBR to a single target (min. 50 targets). Pickett totaled a 98 QBR on 58 targets to Pickens, beating the Tua Tagovailoa-Jaylen Waddle combination (96 QBR on 88 targets), Geno Smith-Tyler Lockett (94 QBR on 116 targets), and Dak Prescott-Ceedee Lamb (93 QBR on 104 targets).

If Pickens is definitely out Monday night, look for the hosts' defense to try to bail out the home team. However, we have confidence in Pittsburgh’s D playing well. Last season, with linebacker T.J. Watt active, the Steelers allowed the lowest QBR (35), had the second-highest sack percentage (8.8%), and ranked second in yards per play allowed (4.8).

There's no denying Cleveland’s impressive defensive performance last week, allowing six first downs (Cincinnati’s fewest since 2009) and holding Cincy quarterback Joe Burrow under 100 passing yards, a career first. Even so, the Steelers finished .500 or better every year since 2003, and we can't see them burying themselves with an 0-2 start with both losses at home when making our NFL Week 2 predictions.

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Browns vs. Steelers best odds

FanDuel (-118)

DraftKingsFanDuelBetMGMCaesarsbet365
+2+2.5+2+2+2.5
-108-118-110-110-110

There's no difference in the point spread across our five best sports betting apps, as all agree with the Browns -2.5. However, FanDuel’s -105 odds are enticing for Steelers' backers, as it's the only shop charging less than standard -110 odds. With the points spread less than the key number of 3, plenty of Steelers' supporters will opt for their more lucrative moneyline odds  for their NFL upset picks instead, especially since Cleveland won just once in Pittsburgh since 2004.

Browns vs. Steelers odds for Monday Night Football

Browns vs. Steelers odds analysis

All of our best sports betting sites had a look-ahead line of Pittsburgh -1.5, but each team's performance caused the line to jump the fence. While 57% of the early wagers on Cleveland were enough to move the spread up a whole point to -2.5, the number never got to -3 anywhere. The Steelers are 8-5 ATS on Monday Night Football since 2014, winning 12 of those games outright.

While the point spread is the same across the board, there's slightly more variability on the Over/Under. DraftKings has the total at 39, while it's 38.5 everywhere else. The look-ahead total for this game ranged from 42.5 at BetMGM to 43.5 at Caesars. However, the combination of Cleveland holding Cincinnati to three points and Pittsburgh scoring seven drove the number down by a field goal at our best sportsbooks by Monday afternoon. Early O/U wagers were 2/1 (68/32) on the Under.

Monday Night Football game info

  • When: Monday, Sept. 18 at 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Where: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
  • How to watch: ABC
  • Weather: 52 degrees, 0% chance of precipitation, 6-mph NW wind

Browns-Steelers prediction made 9/15/23 at 9:17 p.m. ET

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