Don’t expect a shootout and other great races between the Steelers and Browns on Thursday

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Hi, it’s me, Tom Fornelli, and it’s great to be back in your inbox after being gone for the past week. Walking the dog this morning was great because not only is today the first official day of fall, but where I live, the weather cooperated. After weeks of humid, 80 degree days, this morning when I got outside with the dog, it was overcast with temperatures in the mid-50s. There was a strong wind and it looked like it was going to fall.

It was proud. Fall is my best season. You’ve got all the best sports and the best weather. I’ll ask Vasanthi for an argument, but that’s it. If you’re out to argue whether it’s summer or winter, you’re either still in school (summer) or antisocial (winter).

Give me fall 365 days a year. Oh, give me these stories too. Honestly, I’ve missed a lot in the gaming world over the past week.

Well, let’s make some money

All times Eastern, and all odds by Caesars Sportsbook


Hot ticket

Steelers at Browns, 8:15 p.m. | TV: Amazon

Recent Contradictions:

Below 38 years

  • Main trend: Under is 5-2 in last seven meetings.
  • Selection: Under 38 (-115)

Keeping things simple worked well for us last Thursday, and I haven’t changed the formula this week. Both these teams didn’t show us much attack. The Steelers were particularly anemic, ranking 28th in the league in offensive success rate and 26th in points per drive. I don’t expect Mitch Trubisky and company to figure things out tonight against a Cleveland defense that has been great to start the year. Especially with a miserable offensive line.

The Browns’ offense is better than Pittsburgh’s and ranks sixth in the league in points per drive, but is likely to fall short. Their offensive success rate ranks 16th at 42.4%, and they score touchdowns on 55.6% of their red zone possessions.

Another factor is how the clock runs when the Browns have the ball. They put together long drives while running 54.7% of the time, the third-highest rate in the league. In other words, Pittsburgh’s offense can’t score, and Cleveland’s offense won’t let the clock run out. Throw in those two powers against a stout defense (both top 10 in win percentage), and we’re unlikely to see a shootout tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine had to say about the game: SportsLine’s Emory Hunt is 11-3 in his last 14 picks involving the Cleveland Browns and has one play in tonight’s game.,


Examinations

USATSI

One more for the Steelers on the Browns

Pick: Nick Chubb Anytime TD (-145) — It’s a big price to pay, but as I mentioned, Cleveland’s offense is one of the run-heavy in the league. With Jacoby Brissett and the Browns option at quarterback, I don’t expect too many changes tonight. This increases the odds that Nick Chubb will get some red-zone and goal-line carries. While he hasn’t had much success against Pittsburgh in his career (he’s averaged just 4.37 yards per attempt and scored one touchdown in seven career games), I like his odds of hitting paydirt tonight.

The Browns have already scored three rushing touchdowns and broken six tackles in the red zone this season. His 3.57 yards per carry in the red zone is the fourth-best mark in the league. We could be victimized by Kareem Hunt, but I think this price is friendly for the sub.

Key trend: Cleveland has already scored three red-zone rushing TDs this season.

College football

West Virginia at Virginia Tech, 7:30 pm | TV: ESPN
Test: Under 50.5 (-110) —
West Virginia scores 46 points per game, but trust me when I say that’s misleading. First, the Mountaineers scored 65 points against Towson. In two games against Pitt and Kansas, the Mountaineers are averaging 36.5 points per game. That’s still good, but Kansas’ defense is awful, and Pitt’s defense isn’t great either. This Virginia Tech defense will be one of the best West Virginia has seen. It ranks 9th in the nation in passing percentage, 13th in points allowed per run and 10th in EPA per play. It’s good.

The Virginia Tech offense isn’t nearly as good. If I had to use adjectives to describe it, I’d say “depressing” or “disgusting.” It ranks 100th in hit rate, 116th in success rate, and 95th in EPA. The listed totals for tonight’s game give West Virginia’s offensive performance against a poor defense a bit too much credit. We take this until the total is more than 49.

Key trend: The under is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings.

Sportsline Pick of the Day: There’s more college football tonight and SportsLine’s Micah Roberts plays the game between Illinois and Chattanooga.,

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