NFL Wild Card Betting Picks: Best Prop Bets Browns at Steelers
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers: Heinz Field, 8:15 p.m. EST. Jan 10, 2021.
When the Cleveland Browns travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, this will be the third meeting of the season and one of two Wild-Card matchups that feature division rivals (Seattle/LA is the other one). By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about how the Browns snapped their 17-year playoff drought by beating the Steelers in Week 17. That game should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the Steelers had already clinched a spot in the playoffs and were playing for very little while starting their backup quarterback. From a historic perspective, the Browns are 0-2 all-time vs the Steelers in the postseason, losing in the 1994 Divisional Round and 2002 Wild-Card game.
As of writing this, the Steelers are six-point favorites with the total set at 47.5. These two teams may have an almost identical record (12-4 compared to 11-5), but both teams got here in completely different fashions. The Steelers were 11-0 at one point before losing four of their last five games heading into this one. The Browns needed a big flurry to finish the season as they won seven of their final 10 games to get to 11-5 and sneak into the playoffs. Since this game is a divisional matchup, and these two teams know each other very well, I’m not going to worry about picking a side or total, and I’ve keyed a few props that I believe give us the best shot of turning a profit.
Team Total Points
Cleveland Browns – “Over 20.5” +100, “Under 20.5”, -138
For as brutal as the Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been, the defense has been the bright spot of the season. They are ranked fifth in total yards allowed, third in passing yards allowed, 10th in rushing yards, third in points per game allowed and fifth in third-down conversion percentage. They have held the Steelers in more games than not, and you can almost guarantee that they are going to show up in a big way on Sunday in a prime-time home playoff game. As I mentioned off the top, the fact that this is a divisional game and both teams know each other extremely well bodes well for this game to be a lower-scoring affair. The Browns offense isn’t anything to be wowed by. They run the ball effectively (third best) but they sit mid-pack in points per game and 18th in total yards per game. Not to mention, they are dealing with more COVID issues surrounding the coaches and key personnel, so it wouldn’t shock me to see them play as they did against the Jets – a 23-16 loss. The Steelers defense is legit. And because of the fact that we just don’t trust the Browns offense to consistently move the ball and not turn it over, we’ll take our shot at plus-money on the under.
Pick: Under 20.5 +138
Player Passing Yards
Baker Mayfield “Over” 235.5 -120, “Under” 235.5 -120
It’s important when betting props to find a good group of props that correlate well with each other. I mean, use your vision on how the game is going to play out and bet accordingly. I don’t see the Browns putting up many points in this contest. Thus, I don’t believe Mayfield will have a good day throwing the football. I think this is a Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt game where the Browns run the ball every chance they get and avoid the costly turnovers and get to the fourth quarter tied or at least within striking distance. In two games against Pittsburgh this year, Mayfield has thrown for 119 in Week 7 and just 196 in Week 17 when the Steelers were playing for absolutely nothing. The Steelers passing defense ranks third in the league, and they give up just 195 yards per contest. I can’t see Mayfield going nuts for 250+ through the air, especially when they’ll be without their coach and a few key players on offense.
Pick: Under 235.5 passing yards
Player Total Rushing Yards
James Conner “Over” 46.5 -115, “Under” 46.5 -115
James Conner is another fantasy bust that I can’t get over this year. He was a high draft pick, often going in the first round, but he’s disappointed in a big way. He missed some time through injury and COVID issues. However, even when he was in and healthy, the Steelers still couldn’t run the ball worth a damn. They rank dead last in the league in rushing yards per game at 84.4. So, what makes you think they’ll be able to move the ball effectively on the ground vs a Cleveland defense that ranks ninth in rushing yards? I expect to see Benny Snell way more than Conner if the Steelers decided to utilize their backs out of the backfield. I’ve followed the Steelers for far too long to know how stubborn they are. And with Big Ben getting a rest in Week 17, he’ll be throwing it 40+ times this week against a susceptible Browns secondary.
Pick: Under 46.5 rushing yards.
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