The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns renew their rivalry Sunday (1 p.m. ET).
Pittsburgh opened as 4.5-point underdogs but has cut the spread to +1 (-110) following an injury to Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns are now -1 (-110) on the NFL betting line while the projected total is down to 33 (-110 Over, -110 Under), lowest on the slate for Week 11.
Who has the edge? Read on as we break down both NFL teams and assess the Steelers vs Browns betting lines.
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium; Cleveland
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-3 against the spread, including 4-1 over their last five NFL games. The Steelers have gone Under the projected total in seven of their nine games, the second-highest rate (22.2%) in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are 5-3-1 ATS, including 4-1 at home. The total has gone Under in seven of Cleveland’s last eight home games dating to 2022-23. That’s important to remember when assessing the Steelers vs Browns betting lines.
Watson Injury Big Blow to Browns
Deshaun Watson is out for the season, and oddsmakers have all but written off the Cleveland Browns. Following the news of Watson’s season-ending shoulder injury, the Browns chances of winning Super Bowl LVIII plummeted from +3000 to +4500, while their odds of winning the AFC title dropped from +1300 to +2000.
To replace Watson, the Browns are passing on veteran backup P.J. Walker, who struggled in his absence last month. In three appearances, Walker completed only 49.4% of his passes with five interceptions and a touchdown. Instead, according to NFL news, the Browns plan to turn back to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-rounder from UCLA, hasn’t fared any better. He threw for 121 yards and was intercepted three times in his first NFL start, a 28-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 1.
With Watson out, the Browns will likely lean heavily on their running game. In spite of losing Nick Chubb (knee), the Browns have maintained the NFL’s second-ranked rushing attack (147.9 per game). Jerome Ford leads the team with 532 yards on 124 carries (4.3 yards per carry).
Following last week’s 33-31 upset of Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland is now 6-3. A 6-point underdog, the Browns overcame a 14-0 deficit and won on a 40-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins as time expired. The Browns’ odds of winning the AFC North have also dipped despite the win, going from +230 to +450.
Notably, Cleveland still ranks first in the NFL in total defense. It’s limited opponents to 242.7 yards per game, fewest in the league. Keep that in mind when analyzing the Steelers vs Browns betting lines.
Pittsburgh Hanging Tough in AFC North
The Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Green Bay Packers 23-19 last week, maintaining their push atop the AFC North standings following an inauspicious start. Winners of four of their last five, the Steelers are now 6-3.
A 3-point favorite against Green Bay, Pittsburgh jumped to a 17-7 first-half lead and held on to cover the spread for the second straight week. In wake of that win, the Steelers are now one of three teams at +450 to win the AFC North. They’re also now +2500 for the AFC championship and +5000 to win Super Bowl LVIII.
Whether the Steelers cash in will largely depend on the development of Kenny Pickett. The former first-rounder has yet to find consistency over his two years as a starter. He’s averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt (26th in NFL), lacking the big plays needed to boost Pittsburgh’s offense. The Steelers rank 28th in total offense (283.6 yards per game).
Fortunately, Pittsburgh’s defense has been up to task. The Steelers are holding opponents to an average of 20.2 points despite giving up the fifth-most yards per game (379.7). T.J. Watt is third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, trailing only Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett. Accordingly, Watt, a three-time NFL All-Pro, is among the leading contenders for NFL Defensive Player of the Year at +200.
Handicapping the Game
Cleveland has already lost to Pittsburgh once, 26-22 in Week 2. Now the Steelers get their AFC rivals without Watson. His injury is undoubtedly a huge blow, with Cleveland lacking a suitable replacement at quarterback.
The Browns should stay competitive on the strength of their defense and run game. But their offense is now largely handcuffed. Thompson-Robinson struggled mightily in his cameo earlier this NFL season.
This is now essentially a pick ’em, and many bettors should find themselves taking the healthier team in Pittsburgh.