By: Michael Stiffler, @Stiffeezy_ on Twitter
If you followed my picks from Week 5, you would have gone 1-2 (8-4 YTD). Now not every week can be a winner for a gambler but luckily for the Pittsburgh Steelers it is! Week 6 is a huge matchup as division rival Cleveland Browns come to Heinz Field. As always, lines are brought to you via FanDuel Sportsbook. *Lines may change when and wherever you do your betting.
Let’s get started!
Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5 (Opened at Pittsburgh -4)
The Steelers on the season are 3-1 covering the spread compared to the Browns 3-2 covering the spread. Ben Roethlisberger is 23-2-1 all time versus the Browns. Roethlisberger has not lost a home game versus the Browns in his entire career. The last time the Browns won in Pittsburgh was October 5th, 2003 and Tommy Maddox was the quarterback. All the historical stats point to the Steelers being the winner.
The biggest thing playing in the favor of the Steelers is their strength in stopping the run matches the Browns strength of running the ball. I think the Steelers have the advantage in this aspect as it has become apparent that running the ball is crucial to the Browns success. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been serviceable at best this year, while performing his best off the play action pass. His accuracy is in question as some of his star receivers have had to bail him out when the ball has been interception worthy. As long as Cam Heyward and company can shut down the run game, it could be a long day for the Browns offense trying to find their footing.
Stiffler’s Pick: Pittsburgh -3.5 (Confident)
Total: Over/Under 50.5 (Opened at 50)
There should be lots of points in this matchup. The Steelers and the Browns each average 29+ points per game offensively. On the flip side of things, the Steelers defense is allowing 21.8 points per game versus the Browns 29.8 points per game. The Steelers offense seems to have found their rhythm last week putting up 39 points. I think they can do much of the same thing week as the Browns defense is very similar to the Philadelphia Eagles. They have a strong front four but are the third worst in the NFL defending the pass. Even though Diontae Johnson is out this week, the Steelers have plenty of fire power at their disposal with emerging rookie Chase Claypool stepping up in his absence.
While the Steelers defense has been stout most of the time, the Eagles showed last week that there are holes in the secondary that can be exposed. Travis Fulgham, an unknown second year player, was able to gash the Steelers for a 10 reception, 152 yard, 1 touchdown performance. This is very concerning since the Browns boast arguably the best receiver tandem in the NFL with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. It will be up to Mayfield to get his stars the ball and see if they can have similar success.
Stiffler’s Pick: Over 50.5 (Very Confident)
1st Half Spread: Pittsburgh -2.5
The Steelers need to have an opening drive that ends in points as they have failed to do so all year long. I think with the off week in Week 4 and the scoring fest they had last week, this is the week it happens. Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner seems to have found a rhythm with his play calling (outside of 2nd and long runs) so the Steelers offense should start fast this week. With the Browns putting an emphasis on this game that “this is for Myles” I expect things to be quite chippy early, as a result the Browns could end up shooting themselves in the foot.
Stiffler’s Pick: Pittsburgh -2.5 (Confident)
Feel free to follow, fade, or criticize all picks. I wish you good fortune on your bets to come.