When the Browns (8-7) travel to face the Steelers (7-7-1) in the final game of NFL Week 17 on “Monday Night Football” (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN2), two disappointing AFC North teams will be trying to save what’s left of their 2021 regular seasons.
Cleveland has battled injuries and COVID-19 concerns to curb the momentum of making the playoffs last season. Pittsburgh hasn’t been as ravaged, but the concerns there have been a struggling run defense and not enough offense. That’s led to both teams teetering around .500, despite high levels of young and veteran talent.
The Browns want to finish with another winning record at the least. The Steelers, who won the division in 2020, are starting at going first to worst.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Browns vs. Steelers in Week 17, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Monday Night Football.”
Browns vs. Steelers odds for Monday Night Football
The line has been around a field goal in the Browns’ favor all week despite the Steelers being at home in Heinz Field. The Steelers have seen it grow by a half-point toward the visitors, too.
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Browns vs. Steelers all-time series
The Steelers lead the series 78-61-1. They won at Cleveland in Week 8, 15-10. But the Browns had won two straight before, including 48-37 in last year’s wild-card playoffs. Before then, the Steelers had won two in a row and 9 of 11. With Ben Roethlisberger starting at quarterback, the Steelers are 25-3-1 against the Browns.
Three trends to know
—55 percent of spread bettors are going with the Browns despite the Steelers’ status as classic road night small underdogs.
—57 percent of over/under bettors think the total is too low given the offensive potential of both teams fueled by the running games.
—The Browns are 4-6 against the spread and 4-6 straight up in the past 10 games with only four going over. The Steelers are also 4-6 ATS but 5-4-1 SU in their past 10 games. Half of them have gone over.
Three things to watch
Ben Roethlisberger’s last game in Pittsburgh?
Roethlisberger has strongly suggested he will retire after the season. He has owned the Browns over the years. He will be motivated to deliver for the fans and keep up the work against the Browns on what should be an emotional, heated night.
Nick Chubb”s big game in Pittsburgh?
The Steelers’ run defense stinks. It has fundamental issues up front and in the middle of the linebacker corps. Chubb has been smashing solo for the Browns and might get Kareem Hunt (ankle-questionable) back to help him in a run-heavy attack. The Browns can ride Chubb to big things here so Pittsburgh must sell out to contain him at all costs.
Baker Mayfield’s last stand in Cleveland?
Mayfield doesn’t want this to be his last game as the Browns’ starter in Pittsburgh. He is in line for a new contract but injuries and continued ineffectiveness hasn’t made it a lock for him to be locked up long-term. A big winning performance would help his case for 2022.
Stat that matters
38.8 percent. That’s how often teams are converting third downs against the Steelers’ defense. That’s good for No. 12 in the league. So despite the Steelers struggling against the run, they have gotten off the field often defensively. The Browns’ offense is converting third downs on only 39.3 percent.
Browns vs. Steelers prediction
The Browns and Steelers are evenly matched teams with strong defenses in some cases (pass rush) but weaker defenses in other spots. They want to win with grinding in the running game with the occasional big pass play. The Steelers are built to win another low-scoring game to sweep the season series, buoyed by Big Ben’s big night.
Steelers 20, Browns 17
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