NFL Week 1 Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:37 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 10:37 PM UTC

Dear Cleveland fans: At least MLB’s Indians and the NBA’s Cavaliers are championship contenders because it’s going to be another long football season for your Factory of Sadness Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+9, 47)

There’s no team that Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger enjoys beating more than the Cleveland Browns after they passed him up early in the 2004 draft. The Brownies are the biggest Week 1 underdogs on the board. Survivor Pick: Steelers.

Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer was the fourth quarterback chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft and the 52nd player overall off the board, but he’ll be the only rookie signal-caller starting Week 1 as the Browns are throwing Kizer to the wolves against Pittsburgh. He beat out Brock Osweiler (released) and Cody Kessler in the preseason, which isn’t saying much. Amazingly, Kizer will be the franchise’s 27th starting quarterback since it rejoined the NFL in 1999. Kizer will be the fifth different opening day starter in the past five seasons, following Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III. The Steelers didn’t have star running back Le’Veon Bell at all this preseason as he was holding out. Pittsburgh probably was fine with that as it didn’t have to worry about Bell potentially getting injured. He has since signed his franchise tender and could cash in big time in free agency next winter if not franchised again. Roethlisberger, who grew up a Browns fan, is 21-2 in his career against Cleveland. The Browns opted to take Miami (Fla.) tight end Kellen Winslow III at No. 6 overall in the 2004 draft. Big Ben, who went No. 11, has carried that chip around his entire career.

  • Steelers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
  • Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
  • Browns are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 home games.
  • Browns are 0-10-1 ATS in their last 11 vs. AFC North.
Free NFL Pick: Steelers -9Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Kizer is the Browns’ first opening day rookie quarterback since Weeden in 2012. Cleveland lost at home that day 17-16 to the Eagles with Weeden completing just 12 of 35 for 118 yards and four picks. That’s a rating of 5.1. I think you get a rating higher than that just for running onto the field. Kizer won’t be that but, but I doubt it’s pretty. The Browns were a terrible defensive team last year in allowing 392.4 yards and 28.3 points. Pittsburgh has some tremendous offensive talent led by Roethlisberger, Bell and Antonio Brown, but Big Ben has been much, much worse on the road than at home in recent years. Cleveland was swept yet again in the season series by the Steelers in 2016, losing 24-9 at home in Week 11. Pittsburgh had eight sacks and knocked out Kessler with a concussion. I expect a similar-type score here.

  • Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Cleveland.
  • Under is 5-0 in Browns last 5 home games.
  • Under is 11-3-1 in Steelers last 15 vs. AFC North.
Free NFL Pick: ‘Under’ 47Best Line Offered: BetDSI

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