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NFL Free Pick: Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh Betting Odds & Handicapping Preview

Week 1: Browns vs Steelers Expert Preview

NFL Week 1 betting action sees the Cleveland Browns taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 7 at Heinz Field. Cappers Picks provides free NFL handicapping tips all season long.

AFC North division rivals Cleveland and Pittsburgh will lock horns this weekend to get their NFL regular seasons under way.

Week 1 NFL Point Spreads

Who:  Cleveland vs Pittsburgh
When: Sunday, Sept. 7th 2014 at 1:00pm ET
Where: Heinz Field
TV: CBS
NFL Week 1 Gambling Line: -7 (Steelers)
NFL Week 1 Gambling O/U Line: 41.5
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Cleveland finished last season in the basement of the division at 4-12 while the Steelers were able to win their final three games to finish the season at 8-8, good enough for second in the division but not good enough for a spot in the post season.

A pair of teams that had seasons to forget a year ago will look to improve on their 2013-14 campaigns, and that all starts with a win in week one. Neither the Browns or Steelers had impressive preseasons, with both finishing up exhibition play at 1-3.

Steelers

The Steelers offense was stagnant throughout most of the preseason. In week three against the Eagles with most of their starters on the field they never really found much rhythm and 14 of their 21 points came in the fourth quarter with their backups on the field. The practice squad was shut out 10-0 against Carolina in week 4 of the preseason.

This is a team that won’t be putting up big numbers as QB Ben Roethlisberger has lost one of his key targets from a year ago in Emmanuel Sanders who will be catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver this year. Instead, receiver Antonio Brown will be charged with carrying the load in the passing game, along with veteran tight end Heath Miller. Running back Le’Veon Bell will have to play a big role in this offense if the Steelers want to move the football.

On defense this isn’t your father’s Steelers. At 33 years old, free safety  Troy Polomalu is no spring chicken. Corner backs Ike Taylor (34) and William Gay (29) are also far removed from being rookies. The Steelers will be prone to giving up points as the vaunted “steel curtain” is starting to show some rust.

Browns

Cleveland  is going to be looking to finally get out of the basement of the AFC North, but this likely won’t be the year they do it. On offense they are a team without an identity. Highly publicized rookie QB Johnny Manziel was unable to impress this preseason and the starting job was “won” by Brian Hoyer.

Wide out Miles Austin was added to the offense this year and while his name may have a bit of a ring to it, he was insulated by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in Dallas; Austin figures to be the number one target this year with star receiver Josh Gordon being suspended for the season. Tight end Jordan Cameron will have to put up career numbers for this team to have any shot at improving on their four wins from a year ago.

On defense the Browns are a bit overlooked. The acquisitions of  strong safety Donte Whitner from San Fran bolsters their secondary and adding Karlos Dansby from Arizona at line backer solidifies their run D. This team also boasts the likes of second year line backer Barkevious Mingo who amassed 42 tackles and five sacks in his rookie season.

Recent NFL Point Spread & O/U Trends

  • Under is 8-3 in CLE last 11 games in Week 1.
  • CLE are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games.
  • PIT are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
  • Over is 9-3 in PIT last 12 games in Week 1.
  • Under is 6-2 in PIT last 8 vs. AFC North.

Week 1 NFL Browns vs Steelers Free Pick

The spread of seven points just feels too large for me. Granted, the Steelers are at home and in the last four seasons hold a 7-1-0 advantage over the Browns, but the combination of Pittsburgh’s offense being pretty pedestrian and the Browns having a quietly stingy defense, I don’t see this one being a shootout but rather a game won by field goals in a scoreline of 17-13 or in that range.

4* Play On the Browns to cover +7 (-120)

Check out our Updated NFL Football Week 1 Odds.



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About Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.


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