If you love shootouts and betting overs, you may want to hold your nose before wagering on Thursday night’s divisional clash between the Browns and Steelers, whose matchup features the lowest betting total on the NFL Week 3 slate.
Here are three of our favorite plays at BetMGM ahead of this prime-time contest:
Steelers vs. Browns predictions, player prop picks
Jacoby Brissett over 0.5 interceptions thrown (+105)
This is a bit of a tricky bet since Brissett is a quintessential game manager who doesn’t tend to turn the ball over. But I love getting plus-money on him making a mistake against this opportunistic Steelers defense.
Pittsburgh picked off 13 passes a year ago and is already tied for the league lead this year with five interceptions — four off Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in Week 1 and one interception from Patriots passer Mac Jones in Week 2. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (two interceptions) has been a key part of that as he re-establishes himself as one of the best safeties in the league in the first year of a lucrative contract extension.
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Can he be the one to thwart Brissett on Thursday? The Browns’ fill-in starter completed 21 of his first 26 passes on Sunday, but a bone-headed interception in the final seconds sealed the deal in Cleveland’s stunning loss to the Jets. He’ll have just a few days to prepare for this daunting Steelers defense while also dealing with a nagging ankle injury that he suffered late last week. All of the indicators are there for at least one costly mistake in this one.
Najee Harris under 53.5 rushing yards (-110)
Harris was one of the NFL’s most productive rushers in his rookie season. We simply haven’t seen the same showing this year from the sophomore back, who hasn’t been able to get anything going behind this decrepit Steelers offensive line.
Through two games, Harris has tallied a combined 72 yards on 2.9 yards per carry, and he’s yet to break off a run of longer than 11 yards. His 15-carry, 49-yard effort last week against the Patriots was the high-water mark for the former Alabama star, who is also fighting through a foot injury that’s lingered since early in training camp — one that he inflamed in that Week 1 win over the Bengals.
This Browns defense has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards (73.5) through Week 2, and while it’ll be missing some firepower along the defensive line, that’ll likely hinder the pass rush and could even mean fewer chances for Harris and more opportunities for quarterback Mitch Trubisky. This line is simply too high for the talented but hindered rusher.
Nick Chubb longest rush over 19.5 yards (-125)
The only player worth betting over on either side of this matchup — for a positive stat, at least — is Chubb, who continues to show why he’s among the very best backs in the league.
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The Browns star ranks second in the league in rushing yards (228) and ninth in yards per carry (5.8), and he’s already ripped off three rushes of at least 20 yards — most in the NFL. In fact, he’s posted at least one run of 20-plus yards in both games this season and each of his last six contests dating back to last season.
It’s puzzling why oddsmakers would price Chubb’s longest rush so low when he’s hit this mark in 21 of his last 30 games. Even in last year’s loss to the Steelers, when he managed just 58 yards overall, he still broke off a 32-yard run. He should be able to bust open another long gain against a Pittsburgh defense that fell apart late in last week’s loss to the Patriots. With just a few days to prepare for Cleveland’s bruising back, I’m skeptical of the Steelers’ ability to keep him fully bottled up for 60 minutes.