The Steelers put up a huge number on Green Bay last week but they’ve been poor play ATS following such a performance since 2001 (6-20-1 ATS). It still hasn’t stopped NFL odds makers from hanging a -7 on this divisional matchup vs. Cleveland and this football preview covers side and total betting with our best bet for Week 17
Week 17 can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different teams in the NFL but without getting psychoanalytical about this, one thing we know for sure when it comes to divisional games is that long-time rivals are going to bring some toughness to the table. There are scores to be settled among these combatants and when a team is looking down the barrel of a long off-season with no hope of playoffs, sometimes the thought of laying a hurt on the team who beat them earlier in the year is the best incentive.
[quote_text color=”#000000″ text_color=”#ffffff”]The Cleveland Browns are 19-12-1 ATS in divisional revenge games since 2007 including a 7-3-1 ATS record the 11 most recent (includes ‘revenge’ games from previous season)[/quote_text]
Cleveland (4-11 SU) is playing for pride Sunday and despite Pittsburgh’s (7-8 SU) long mathematical odds, the Steelers hope of making the playoffs was pretty much wasted on losses this year to Miami, Baltimore and Oakland. Despite winning just two of the past 20 games in this series straight-up, the Browns have actually been a better side play in more recent years, going 7-5 ATS. Cleveland is coming off a 24-13 loss to the Jets but before that the team had scored 26-plus points in three-straight games with Jason Campbell running the offense.
While trying to make a playoff push down the back-half of the schedule, the Steelers have scored an average of 29.2 points per game (PPG) but they’ve also allowed 26.2 PPG with six of eight games going over. Pittsburgh has played six-straight overs vs. teams who they beat in the first meeting as underdogs and although Pittsburgh may be hard pressed to once again come up with +4 turnovers, the running game and pass protection have turned a corner since beating Cleveland 27-11 in Week 12.
League-wide, big chalk teams of more than -7 points have gone over the total 12-straight times after a dog win in the first meeting and the average margin was 10.6 points above the posted total. We have also been developing a new profile since the league went to its mandatory, Week 17 divisional format that focuses on down and out teams who are coming off a dud performance in Week 16. It was 4-1 O/U last season and if you add the ‘divisional’ parameter, SDQL allows a further look back that shows a nice 10-3 O/U record (77-percent) with games going over by more than a touchdown.
The total on this AFC North contest opened at O/U 44 and a few books have tested the waters at 43.5 so be sure to shop for the best possible line and look for these two rivals to finish the season on a ‘high’ note.
Pick: Take the Browns-Steelers OVER