Take Browns -6.5 Over Steelers for Week 1 Pointspread Pick

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 4:26 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 4:26 PM GMT

One of the several divisional matchups to open the season is the Browns vs. Steelers. The NFL odds have the Steelers as -6 ½ favorites, with the second lowest total of Week 1, sitting at 40 ½ points. 

Steel City Revival
The Steelers have had a pretty good offseason, and if it wasn’t for the misfortune of their star second-year running back getting busted for marijuana and a driving under the influence, this would have been a much more optimistic year for the Steelers. However with a vitalized defense and an offense that should still produce as a top ten unit, this team is going to have some upside this week and beyond.

While the Browns’ defense, and more specifically their pass rush should have a solid showing against Ben Roethlisberger and company, the Pittsburgh defense might keep the Browns’ offense into single digits in this game. Brian Hoyer’s preseason was not pretty, and it might carry over into the regular season. Plus knowing that he has the hottest young quarterback since forever right behind you, Hoyer might find extra pressure to succeed against the Steelers.

Last year the Steelers dominated the Browns both times they played them, allowing 11 and seven points respectfully. Granted it was Brandon Weeden playing the role of starting quarterback, but the Browns are without their star, Josh Gordon, who routinely led the Browns in receiving yards. With no viable receiving targets to throw to this season, whoever is under center for the Browns is going to have some issues. I expect the Steelers to stack the box in Week 1 and not allow Ben Tate or Terrence West to have any room to run. With Jordan Cameron as the only real threat in the middle of the field, the Steelers should be able to put eight guys in the box and blitz the daylights out of Cleveland.

 

The Sharp Pick
While my first instinct for this game was to go 'over, the Browns’ offense isn’t trustworthy enough to engage in such a wager, The Steelers’ team total might not be a bad bet either, but if that line comes out above 28 points, it’s not worth the extra risk. The Steelers are 9-3 cashing the over in their last 12 Week 1 games, however the under is also 7-1 in their last eight games as a home favorite of 3 ½ to 10 points.

However the Steelers are still on a nice ATS roll if you continue from last season, something even I forgot until just a few weeks ago. Pittsburgh is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall dating back to 2013, and they have covered their last three games in a row against the Browns.

Look for the Steelers to run the ball a lot in this game, and eventually throwing it deep to their pair of young standout receivers. Antonio Brown had 15 receptions, 179 yards and a touchdown in two games against Joe Haden and the Browns last season, and he should once again lead the Steelers past Cleveland in this home opener.

My Free NFL Pick: Steelers -6 ½ 

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