Browns-Steelers best bets: Can Big Ben win his Heinz Field finale?
Instead of a meaningful football game with postseason implications, this matchup has become a testimonial to Ben Roethlisberger for his probable final game at Heinz Field. Here's how we're betting Browns-Steelers:
C Jackson Cowart: Under 42
I've been betting against each of these offenses for weeks, and I see little reason to stop doing so here.
The biggest appeal is fading the Steelers in what'll likely be Ben Roethlisberger's final game at Heinz Field. It couldn't come at a better time: The Pittsburgh passer has thrown for 307 yards combined in his last two games and has paired seven touchdowns with six turnovers in his last five starts, leading his team to a mere 17.4 points per contest in those games.
The Browns have mustered 17 or fewer points in eight of their last 12 games and own a bottom-10 scoring offense (19 ppg) in that stretch, with perhaps their worst effort coming in a 16-10 loss to the Steelers in Week 8. Even if this one isn't that low scoring, it'll fall well short of this number.
Alex Moretto: Pat Freiermuth anytime TD (+280)
Do I have to?
This is a game I want no part of betting or watching. The narratives write themselves, with the Browns officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday and this likely being Roethlisberger's final game in Pittsburgh. That's hardly enough to warrant a bet, and I just can't get there on the Steelers at this price.
Instead, I'll take another narrative-y approach that at least has some value. I believe Pittsburgh will do its best to give Roethlisberger every chance to go out with a bang, which means plenty of passing attempts in close. Pat Freiermuth has become a favorite red-zone target for Big Ben, recording six touchdowns in the past eight games. He'll get a lot of looks here against a Browns team that's surrendered four tight end scores in its last five contests.
Matt Russell: Steelers -1
If you want to put your betting faith on Baker Mayfield to win in Pittsburgh on Monday night, more power to you. But the Steelers are the one NFL team in which I'm willing to buy in on the narrative.
A Mike Tomlin squad with its back against the wall, the Steelers' 19-game MNF home winning streak, and, most recently, Roethlisberger's probable last home contest, are all things that I'd normally scoff at. However, in this case, I just can't imagine the Steelers not playing their best game. In fact, I'll be very impressed if the Browns, after just being eliminated from playoff contention, win in this spot.
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