The Daily Sweat: Steelers-Browns could be an ugly Thursday night game

·4 min read

The first two Thursday nights of the NFL season, we saw Matthew Stafford, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes.

This week, we get Mitchell Trubisky vs. Jacoby Brissett.

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers have a good rivalry and there are worse teams in the NFL. But there's a reason the total for this game is just 38.5. This one could be a slog.

The Browns have moved from -3.5 favorites through most of the offseason to a 4.5-point favorite this week at BetMGM. The line did reach -5 earlier this week. That line move comes after the Browns had an absolute collapse and blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes at home to the New York Jets last week.

The line move has to be because the Steelers offense looks even worse than the Browns. Even though the Steelers don't want to play rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky isn't doing enough to keep his job. The Steelers had just 243 yards in a Week 2 home loss to the New England Patriots. Pittsburgh's defense has been good this season, but it also doesn't have injured star T.J. Watt.

The Browns haven't been great either. They barely beat a bad Carolina Panthers team in Week 1 and lost to a bad New York Jets team in Week 2. The Week 2 loss was a little fluky, but they did allow 307 yards to Joe Flacco. It was a brutal loss.

The line move clinched my pick for the Steelers. I don't see this game being decided by more than three or four points and I think the Steelers could win. What you saw in last week's 17-14 Patriots-Steelers game is about what I expect Thursday night, with neither team moving it much and a big play or two deciding who wins it. It won't be pretty, but at least it's an NFL game.

Jacoby Brissett and the Browns take on the Steelers in a Thursday night game. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Jacoby Brissett and the Browns take on the Steelers in a Thursday night game. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:

Any props for Thursday night?

It will be hard to bet on any overs on a game that could be pretty rough for both offenses. I wouldn't want the over on the game, which is 38.5, or many player prop overs either. The oddsmakers know what kind of game this will be so it's not like there's a lot of value in the unders either. I'll go with under 32.5 passing attempts for Mitchell Trubisky, because I assume the Steelers will want to take the game out of his hands, and I do figure on it being a close game. I'll also take under 28.5 for George Pickens' receiving yards, considering he has 26 yards in two games. It's not like the Steelers are prioritizing him. It's not a great game to load up on prop bets.

Return of Thursday night college games

If you're not moved by the NFL game on Thursday night, maybe you can find a college one you like. There are three of them on Thursday night. Coastal Carolina is at Georgia State and is a 2.5-point road favorite, West Virginia is at Virginia Tech and Illinois hosts Chattanooga. Most books don't have a line on the last game.

West Virginia-Virginia Tech is the headliner of the night. If you have bought into the angle of taking home underdogs in prime-time spots, then Virginia Tech is a pretty easy pick for you on Thursday night. The line moved from Virginia Tech +3 to +1.5 this week. It moved back to +2.5, which is where it stands now.

MLB has 13 games

It's close to a full Thursday in MLB, with the regular season having just a couple weeks remaining. There are a handful of afternoon games. The most interesting is the St. Louis Cardinals, who are going to win the NL Central, taking on the wild-card hopeful San Diego Padres. The Padres are -150 favorites.

The best game of the day is probably the Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves are hoping to take the NL East title from the New York Mets, and the Phillies are trying to hold onto their wild-card spot. The Braves are -155 favorites.

What's the best bet?

While I do like the Steelers because the line seems too high, I'll take Virginia Tech as the best bet tonight. Throw that on a second screen and it's a pretty good Thursday night.