Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-10)
The Browns are in a tough spot here. They are 9 point home underdogs here against the Steelers and figure to be big home underdogs again next week when they host the 6-3 Giants. Teams are 38-90 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 4.5 or more, as huge upcoming home games tend to serve as a distraction for a team. On top of that, underdogs of 6 or more are 48-76 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6 or more. Normally, I go against teams in that spot, but the Browns are different because they are winless and desperate. Teams that are 0-8 or worse are actually 12-5 ATS before being 4.5+ point home underdogs. Believe it or not, betting on winless teams this late in the season has actually been a winning bet in the past, as teams that are 0-8 or worse are 34-17 ATS since 1989.
With that in mind, I’m actually picking the Browns this week. In addition to being hungry for their first win, the Browns are a little undervalued because of back-to-back blowout losses. Teams are 44-28 ATS since 2002 off of back-to-back losses by 21 or more, as teams tend to be undervalued in that spot. The Steelers’ have a strong offense, but their defense is a major problem, especially with arguably their best defensive player, defensive end Cameron Heyward, now out for the season. They shouldn’t be laying 9 points here. They also have to turn around and play another game in 4 days on Thanksgiving and favorites are 50-82 ATS before Thursday Night Football. The Browns are the pick here, though I’m not confident.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Cleveland Browns 20
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +9