Pick Details

(151) Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh (152) 8:15 PM | Sun, Jan 10 2021
Sport: NFL | Star Rating: 8.0 Evaluation: Win (800) - Final Score CLE 48 at PIT 37
4.5 CLE (-105) @ pinnacle

8* Take Cleveland (#151)

IMPORTANT NOTE: I understand that the Browns are dealing with COVID issues this week.  At the current line of +6 (or higher), I still think Cleveland is worthy of a wager….

Since losing in the Super Bowl vs the Packers back in 2010, Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger have been consistent ‘bet- againsts’ in a playoff setting.  The results do not lie.  In 2011, they were -7.5 vs Denver and lost SU to Tim Tebow and company.  In 2014, they were -3 and lost by two TD’s to Baltimore.  In 2015, they won by two at Cincinnati, then lost by seven at Denver, 0-1-1 ATS.  In 2016, they had a playoff win and cover as a favorite (their only one) beating Miami.  They won the next week at KC by two, then got blown out in New England.  In 2017, the Steelers lost SU to Jacksonville as -7 favorites.  And they haven’t been in the postseason since.  Yes, that’s a grand total of ONE win and cover as a favorite in the playoffs over the last nine years, and ONE win in any role by a field goal or more.

And the Steelers weren’t any good down the stretch.  They lost to Washington.  They lost to Buffalo.  They lost to Cincinnati!  With their season on the line, they played one good half of football, rallying from three scores down to beat the Colts, but even that win wasn’t 60 minutes of good football, and Indy has looked rather vulnerable of late.  Each of the Steelers last five opponents has scored more than three touchdowns against a defense that looked great earlier in the season.  And the Steelers season-long inability to run the football makes it that much more difficult to build or maintain leads.

Cleveland doesn’t have that problem; #3 in the NFL in rushing yards per game and #5 in rushing yards per carry.  That stands in sharp contrast to Pittsburgh’s #32 ranking in both categories.  The Browns running acumen opens things up for the downfield passing game; hence Baker Mayfield averaging a full yard per attempt more than Big Ben this season.  And Cleveland’s ability to run the football has them scoring TD’s in the red zone; ranked #3 in the NFL.  Pittsburgh settles for red zone field goals more than 10% more than Cleveland.

The wiseguys don’t love the Browns because Cleveland has a negative point differential for the season; a rarity among playoff teams and an ‘advanced metric’ stat that supposedly has some future predictability aspects to it.  I’m not buying that argument, especially for a team who’s two early season blowouts doesn’t matter much here in January.  The public doesn’t love the Browns, because they haven’t covered spreads down the stretch (1-3 ATS in their last four games), and they’re going against the ‘mighty’ Steelers.  Without much sharp or square support, this line is a good notch or two higher than it should be, creating an overlay for us in a game that has all the makings of a ‘last second field goal’ type of contest.  Take the Browns.


What does ‘Star Rating’ mean?
Star Rating is the number of units the handicapper is risking on the bet. Therefore, if the Star Rating is 7.0, it is a 7-unit pick. On plus odds picks, the handicapper is risking their Star Rating unit amount. On negative odds picks, the handicapper is betting enough to win their Star Rating unit amount.
We are constantly evaluating online sportsbooks and line feeds to ensure accuracy with our Expert picks. We typically have between 5-10 legal and reputable sportsbooks for our handicappers to select lines from. They are required to select the current line from these featured books so authenticity can always be confirmed – no stale lines!
All of your purchased picks will appear under My Experts >
Get the best sports betting information delivered straight to your inbox for free.
By signing up for the Covers newsletter, you agree to receive electronic communications from Covers about our products and services, as well as other content that may be of interest to you
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo