Browns vs Steelers Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Cleveland Makes the Hosts Grind It Out

Pittsburgh has a long shot at a playoff spot Sunday and is favored hosting Cleveland. With little separating these AFC North foes, our NFL picks like the Browns to make life hard on the Steelers.

Daniel Dobish
Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023 8:12 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers wrap up the regular season for a Week 18 matchup Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.

The Browns are no longer in the mix for a postseason spot, but Cleveland can force its rival to a seat on the couch with a road win in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Browns enter with four wins in the past six games, including a 24-10 road victory in Washington last week. The Steelers scored a third straight win with a come-from-behind win in Baltimore last week.

Can the Browns play spoiler again, or will the Steelers finish on a high note and receive some help in a must-win game? We’ll discuss in our NFL picks and predictions for Browns vs. Steelers on Sunday, January 8.

Browns vs Steelers best odds

Browns vs Steelers picks and predictions

Pittsburgh has plenty to play for this weekend and will be going all out, while Cleveland is ready to head to the golf course.

It’s been a grind for the Steelers during the team’s three-game win and cover streak, while going 5-1 SU/ATS across the past six games. All five of those wins have been one-score games, with the margin of victory exactly three points in the past two contests. Each of the last two victories has been come-from-behind wins orchestrated by rookie QB Kenny Pickett, too.

This seems like an easy game to pick, to be honest. One team is done for and has nothing to play for. While some feel the Browns might be disinterested, losing only hurts its draft position as they do not have a first-round pick in 2023 thanks to the Deshaun Watson trade. So, there isn’t any talk of tanking, because that doesn’t help them. 

After the lengthy Watson suspension, this team is just finally hitting its stride and getting him back up to speed. He had three touchdown passes last week, and the Browns are looking to build momentum to use this late-season run as a springboard into 2023.

The Steelers need this one, but the Browns will be a thorn in their side. Pittsburgh has survived by the skin of its teeth the past three games, coming out on the right side.

The sharps and wise guys are flooding money in on the Browns, driving the line down from +3 to +2.5, and the public likes the Steelers at nearly a 3-to-2 clip. We know how that usually ends.

My best bet: Browns +2.5 (-110 at bet365)

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Browns vs Steelers spread analysis

The Browns have slowly been showing some signs of life on offense, while the defense has been markedly better over the past six weeks.

Cleveland has even started to believe on the road, scoring wins at Houston in Week 13, and at Washington in Week 17, albeit against fellow non-playoff combatants.

The defensive progress has really aided in the turnaround, as the Browns have yielded just 17 or fewer points in five of the previous six games.

Cleveland is a robust 4-2 ATS across the past six games while going 4-1 ATS in the past five inside the division. 

For the Steelers, they have dominated this series against the number, going 5-2 ATS in the previous seven meetings. However, the favorite is just 1-4 ATS in the past five in this series.

While Cleveland did win the first meeting on Thursday Night Football back in late September, it did so with Jacoby Brissett under center, facing Mitchell Trubisky. Neither of those guys is starting on Sunday afternoon.

Browns vs Steelers Over/Under analysis

The Browns are on a 6-0 Under run, as the defense has really turned things around. The Under is 3-0-1 in the past four inside the division, too. The Under is also 8-3 in the previous 11 games on the road for the Browns, too.

Pittsburgh has cashed the Under in four of the past five games overall, while going 9-2 to the Under in the previous 11 games on its home turf. And inside the division, the Under is 6-2 in the past eight, including last week’s defensive grind on SNF in Baltimore.

The percentage of bets on the Under is staggering, at nearly a 90 percent clip to go low. This game peaked as high as 42 at one point before getting bet down significantly. The public loves the Under, so as a contrarian, I’d go high. 

Las Vegas doesn’t have palatial, billion-dollar properties because the books are in the market to set stupid lines and lose gobs of money. The public rarely ever gets one over on the books.

Browns vs Steelers betting trend to know

The underdog has cashed in four of the past five meetings in this series, and Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in the past five inside the division. Find more NFL betting trends for Browns vs. Steelers.

Browns vs Steelers game info

Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Sunday, January 8, 2023
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Steelers -2.5, 39

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