Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds & Free Pick

by | Jan 5, 2023 | nfl

Cleveland Browns (7-9 SU, 8-8 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8 SU, 9-6-1 ATS)
Week 18 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, January 8, 2023 at 1PM EST
Where: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: CBS

Point Spread: CLE +3/PIT -3 (Bovada – The best sportsbook on the web! 50% bonus up to $250! Cash rebate on ALL your bets; wini or lose! Fast payouts! Best live betting platform! Check’em out!)
Over/Under Total: 40.5

The Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in an AFC North week 18 battle. Both teams are coming off wins, with the Browns beating Washington on the road, 24-10, in one of the more surprising results of the week. It shows that even though they don’t have a ton to play for in terms of the standings, they are still pushing it and trying to show something at the season’s end. The Steelers scored a big 16-13 win over Baltimore, their third straight win to send them into the final week at 8-8. Who can close the season strongly and get us the cover in the Steel City on Sunday?

Playoff Ramifications

For Cleveland, there is no hope, as they have been eliminated from the playoffs. But amazingly, Pittsburgh is still in it, though they will not control their own destiny. In order for the Steelers to get in, they’re going to need to beat the Browns at home on Sunday while needing both Miami and New England to lose. These games will all be early games on Sunday, so all information will be in real-time. Miami plays the Jets and is some peril at the QB position, so that offers hope to the Steelers. The Patriots will be playing the Bills, and as of press-time, we’re unclear on how that’s going to unfold after the sad events on MNF, so that remains more of a mystery-part of the equation. I think it shakes out in a way where one can expect the Steelers to play this to win. Granted, they could look up at the scoreboard and see something that means the season is over, but for a team playing this well, I wouldn’t expect them to tank the game late if that were to happen.

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Two Overachieving Teams

Cleveland can’t be undersold. It seems that working Deshaun Watson into this offense so that he’s ready to hit the ground running next season has given the Browns a reason to forge on that they otherwise wouldn’t have had with the season having been lost for a while. Still, to be nudging toward the .500 mark with Jacoby Brissett starting the majority of games at quarterback, a mediocre aerial offense, and a “D” that has been picked apart at times by opposing quarterbacks and running backs isn’t so shabby. Late in the season, we see Watson getting at least some results, as evidenced by his big connection with Amari Cooper last week. Nick Chubb is always a threat to break open a game. I think their results at least slightly surpass their overall reputation.

When the Steelers started the season at 2-6 and appeared to be nosediving, there were rumblings that they were the worst team in the conference or at least in the running. A strong second half of the season really defied all odds. With three straight wins and five wins in their last six games, they’re in great form. It’s all the stranger when their starting QB Kenny Pickett has 6 TD passes, and nine picks, their RB in Najee Harris is averaging 3.8 yards a carry and seldom having big plays, and their “D” that suffers against the run. Their three main targets in Diontae Johnson, Pat Freiermuth, and George Pickens, have close to 2500 yards receiving, with a mere five receiving TDs amongst the three. And yet, here they are with a chance. It says a lot about their strength as a team, as well as their coaching.

More Picks: Get Jay’s Baltimore at Cincinnati Week 18 Total Pick >>>

Angles for Success for Both Teams

While the Steelers lost to the Browns earlier in the season, 29-17, they did get some minor aerial success, despite the scoring coming on the ground, with a Harris run and a QB sneak being their only scores on the day. And how prolific Pickett is aerially is iffy, but they should be able to make some connections. Harris has hardly had a good season, and we’re seeing him getting spelled on occasion, but he has been a touch better lately, and the Steelers might have a little balance to wield on a Cleveland “D” that is far from outstanding. Mistakes will need to be kept low, as Cleveland is capable of exploiting miscues. But that goes both ways, and with the Steelers’ defense having allowed 68 combined points in their last six games, it’s clear that the “D” has been a huge irreplaceable element of this latest surge in their last six games.

Say what you will about Watson personally or how ragged he looked in his first handful of games, the rust might be coming off. Granted, he only completed nine throws last week, three of them being TDs, so let’s not get carried away. But if he starts stumbling upon his previous form, they can do damage against a Steelers team that really doesn’t hit the scoreboard with much regularity. They still have Chubb, who had a big game against the Steelers the first time around. But a lot has changed since the Browns put up 29 against the Steelers early in the season.

Take the Home Favorite

A major concern for potential Pittsburgh backers this week could be the notion that this game will be a slog where points are precious in a close game. If that’s the case, the 3-point spread won’t seem so small. There are all kinds of results that could come down where you maybe had it right in spirit, but the texture of the game didn’t cooperate with a Steelers win that ends up 20-19, 19-17, or along those lines. I just see the Steelers home defense going above and beyond this week, allowing their struggling offense to get what they can, create some separation, and cross the wire ahead by a nose. I’ll take the Steelers on Sunday.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers minus 3 points. Bet your Week 18 NFL predictons for FREE by scoring a 100% real cash bonus up to $300 when you use bonus code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook!