Cleveland Browns (1-14 SU, 3-12 ATS) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5 SU, 9-6 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday, January 1, 2017 1:00PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
by WILSON, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLE +6/PITT -6
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Cleveland Browns to open the New Year on Sunday morning at Heinz Field. Cleveland finally got their first win of the season on Christmas Eve over the San Diego Chargers 20-17. The Browns have absolutely nothing to lose when they take the field this Sunday against their division rival Pittsburgh. The previous meeting between these two teams was won by Pittsburgh (24-9) in a relatively easy fashion—it wasn’t a work of beauty but the Steelers managed to pull away from the then winless Browns. Sunday’s point spread ranges from 5.5 to 7 depending on your choice of sports books (online or in Vegas). The first matchup between these teams was in November where the line was -8 Pittsburgh, and the Steelers covered that plus some. This should be a playoff tune-up game for the Steelers but you never know what can happen when rivals go head to head especially late in the season with playoffs lingering, injuries, and one team (Cleveland) that desperately wants another win to prove they are not the “JV” team of the NFL. Pittsburgh will show up ready to play but they probably will not have the usual suspects starting in key positions. Will Cleveland go all out and steal one more win, their first on the road, in Steel Town? The Browns might just have a chance against Pitt’s 2nd teamers!
Cleveland is 0-7 ATS on the road, and Pittsburgh is 5-2 ATS at home this season. The under is 6-0 in the Brown’s last 6 games after allowing more than 350 yards in their previous game. Browns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. Browns are also 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win. Under is 4-0 in Pittsburgh’s last 4 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. Under is 5-0 in Steeler’s last 5 games in week 17. Steelers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in week 17. Head to head, favorite is 4-0 in their last 4 meetings. In addition, the Under is 4-0 in their last 4 meetings.
Injury report for Cleveland: DB J. Haden left the game last week with a neck injury and it is unclear if he will play on Sunday. QB RG3 left the game last week with a concussion and is currently going through the league’s protocol and it is unknown if he will play Sunday against the Steelers. RB D. Johnson Jr. is suffering from an ankle injury and he is also questionable to play Sunday. QB J. McCown has missed the last three games with a finger injury and he is listed as unclear to play on Sunday. Cleveland is banged up badly. Pittsburgh’s injury report as of this writing: WR S. Coates missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury and he is questionable to play this week. S R. Golden injured ankle last game and it is unclear if he will play this week. DE S. Tuitt missed last game due to a right knee injury and he is listed as questionable this week. CB J. Gilbert missed last game due to an illness and it unclear if he will play on Sunday. TE L. Green is still in the league’s concussion protocol and is not expected to play in Sunday’s game. Also, it will be very unlikely that RB L. Bell, WR Antonio Brown, C M. Pouncey, or QB Ben Roethlisberger play at all in this Sunday’s game—they will probably take the day off to rest up for the playoffs.
This game is unfortunately not a showdown nor does it carry any playoff implications due to the weak record of the Browns and the already clinched Steelers. It is a bummer for Steeler’s fans who want to see their star players play, but it is common sense and much needed to rest these guys and not take any risks of further injuries. However, this will make the betting aspect of this game more interesting. Cleveland will have a much better chance to cover given the lack of starters and offensive and defensive performance from the Steelers at home.
I’m taking the Browns plus the points. Luck to ya.
WILSON’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Browns plus the points.
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