Cleveland at Pittsburgh Odds, Free Pick & TV Info
Don’t expect to see many Pittsburgh Steelers starters on Sunday in their regular-season finale as the Steelers are locked into the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and will host a game on wild-card weekend. So they have no reason to care this week against Cleveland. The Browns need to lose to ensure they keep the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. The Steelers are solid NFL betting favorites.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh Odds, Free Pick & TV Info
When: Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 PM ET
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Radio: Cleveland / Pittsburgh
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Steelers -7 (44)
Why Bet on Cleveland?
The Browns (1-14) avoided the second 0-16 season in NFL history with a 20-17 upset last week of San Diego. When San Diego’s Josh Lambo missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, the Browns had their first win in 377 days. The Browns avoided becoming the second team to go 0-15, and no longer have to worry about joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to lose all 16 games.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter, forcing Coach Hue Jackson to bring in rookie Cody Kessler for the final 10 minutes. Isaiah Crowell had two touchdown runs for the Browns. Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, who was already playing with two groin injuries, hurt his neck in the third quarter and did not return.
Duke Johnson caught two passes for 21 yards, giving him 514 receiving yards. He became the first Browns running back to total 500 receiving yards in his first two seasons and the third in team history to do it in back-to- back seasons, joining Dub Jones (1951-52) and Earnest Byner (1987-88). Terrelle Pryor pushed his reception total to 70, fourth-most by a Browns receiver in a single season. He trails Josh Gordon (87 in 2013), Kevin Johnson (84 in 2001) and Braylon Edwards (80 in 2007).
In a bit of a surprise, the Browns have waived OL Jonathan Cooper. Cooper is a former first-round pick who joined the Browns this season. He played in five games and started the last three. Alvin Bailey returns from suspension to take Cooper’s roster spot.
The Browns have to win in Pittsburgh to avoid a 1-15 finish, which would be the worst in the team’s 66-year history. Not since 2009 has an NFL team finished 1-15, with the St. Louis Rams having that dubious honor. And not since 2003 have the Browns won in Pittsburgh, a streak of 12 games in a row. In seven of the past eight, the Browns have not scored more than 14 points.
The Browns aren’t sure if Griffin III will play but he likely won’t and it will be Kessler. It would be an unfortunate ending for Griffin, who missed 11 games this season with a fractured left shoulder he suffered Sept. 11 in the regular-season opener and returned to start the past three games.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
There have been 70 games won by teams that trailed in the fourth quarter through Week 16, tied for the most such games in a single season in NFL history. Four teams – Houston, Miami, Pittsburgh and San Francisco – were victorious in Week 16 after trailing in the fourth quarter. The Texans and Steelers both overcame fourth quarter deficits for the second consecutive week.
The Steelers defeated Baltimore 31-27 on Sunday, clinching the AFC North division title. The victory marked the 600th regular-season victory in franchise history, joining Chicago (744), Green Bay (729) and the New York Giants (683) as the only teams in NFL history to reach 600 regular-season wins.
QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 279 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning four- yard score to wide receiver Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger and Brown have combined for 50 touchdown passes, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann (49) for the most touchdown passes from a quarterback to receiver in team history. Roethlisberger has 301 career touchdown passes and surpassed Hall of Famer John Elway (300) for the ninth-most touchdown passes in NFL history. Roethlisberger is the 10th player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 career touchdowns.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he may sit Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Brown and center Maurkice Pouncey Week 17 against the Browns.
“They are guys I’ll look hard at protecting and preserving,” Tomlin said. Landry Jones, DeAngelo Williams, and Eli Rogers should serve as the top three offensive options against Cleveland, although Williams could be rested as well as he has played just one snap since Week 8 because of a knee injury. Fitzgerald Toussaint would be the likely starter at running back in that case.
Pittsburgh does have the third seed locked down and cannot get a higher seed either. The Steelers will host an AFC wild card game regardless of results. It’s just a matter of if they will host the Miami Dolphins or the Kansas City Chiefs in their first playoff game. Big Ben said there’s no need to risk players ahead of their playoff run: “I think a lot of guys should get healthy.”
Cleveland at Pittsburgh Free Pick:
Go Pittsburgh and under in NFL betting.
Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings.
Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.