By Jason Green
The Steelers open the 2017 season with a AFC North match up with the Cleveland Browns, who they have beaten in eight of the last nine meetings. Pittsburgh is the major betting favorite to win this Game, even on the road, and they also have solid odds to win the Super Bowl. Not surprising with the offense they have led by Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers are a -8 point road fav at 5 dimes.
The Browns head into this season with optimism and they have a lot of new faces. Rookie DeShone Kizer won the starting QB job and hopes to give the Browns solid play under center, which they have not had in a long time. #1 pick DE Myles GArrett was solid in the preseason and hopes to help turn around a defense that ranked 2nd to last in the league last season. He is dealing with an ankle injury, but should be able to go in this Game.
In the preseason the Steelers were 3-1 and the Browns were a perfect 4-0.
The Steelers do not lack any firepower on offense with the likes of Big Ben, RB Le’Veon Bell, who had nearly 1,900 all-purpose yards and 9 TD last season in only 12 Games, and WR Antonio Brown. WR Martivis Bryant is also back after being suspended all of last season and Pittsburgh’s offense ranked 7th in the league last season. GArrett and company have to pressure Big Ben and they cannot let Bell have a huge Game out of the backfield.
Last season at home the Browns lost badly to the Steelers, but in Pittsburgh they lost in OT.
Kizer has a lot of expectations as a rookie, but he did play well in the preseason, which is why he was named the starter. Cleveland does not have a great WR corps, but they did sign Kenny Britt in the off-season and he had 68 catches for 1,002 yards with 5 TD last season. RB Isaiah Crowell is the player that really has to help out Kizer, as if he struggles in this Game the rookie QB will have to do it all. Last season Crowell rushed for 952 yards with 7 TD.
The Browns have not won a season opener since the 2004 season.
The Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road Games, 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 Games overall, and in their last 27 road Games they have an Under record of 19-7.
The Browns are 5-20-1 ATS in their last 26 Games overall, 1-8 ATS in their last 9 home Games, and in their last 5 home Games they have an Under record of 5-0.
Jason’s Pick: The Steelers have legit Super Bowl potential this season and it will be the same old song and daNCe in the opener beating the Browns. Cleveland will not be as bad as last season, but they have failed to cover the spread in eight of their last nine home Games and that trend will continue. The Browns will not get crushed in the season opener, but they will not be able to stop Big Ben can company and the Steelers will win and cover the spread.
Bettorsworld Pick – Steelers -9