The numbers are staggering. The Steelers have won 20 straight home games on “Monday Night Football,” and the Browns have lost 19 consecutive regular-season games in Pittsburgh.
But a sharp sports betting syndicate has wagered on Cleveland to end those losing streaks in the nightcap of a Monday night doubleheader.
According to Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons, the syndicate — which he said is “probably the sharpest group going” — bet on the Browns at pick’em and -1.
The line climbed to Cleveland -2½ before settling at -2. Top Browns wideout Amari Cooper is questionable with a groin injury.
“The line is a product of how good the Browns’ defense looked in their first game against Cincinnati (in a 24-3 win),” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “It looks like they’ll be playing without Amari Cooper, which is why the number has come down a little bit.”
Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward was placed on the injured reserve with a groin injury, and Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson also has been ruled out.
The Steelers were manhandled by the 49ers in a season-opening 30-7 loss at home.
“You expect Pittsburgh to come to play this week,” Salmons said. “But the Browns certainly look like a team that can contend this year. Cleveland’s got a really good defensive front, and they run the ball well.
“If they can get anything from (quarterback Deshaun) Watson, they should be a playoff team.”
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is 15-5-3 against the spread as a home underdog and is 25-6-1 straight-up against the Browns. Also, the Steelers are 10-2 under Tomlin following losses of 20 points or more.
Pittsburgh is trying to avoid an 0-2 start at home.
“This is a huge game for Pittsburgh. AFC teams with two straight home games, if they lose both games, they only have six home games left with nine road games,” Esposito said. “That’s a tough spot to be in. We’re going to be Steelers fans when we kick off. But I think the value is with the Steelers.”
The Saints are 3-point road favorites over the Panthers in the first game of the twinbill. New Orleans beat Tennessee 16-15 in its opener but didn’t cover as a 3-point favorite. Carolina lost 24-10 at Atlanta and failed to cover as a 3½-point underdog.
Overs are 12-2 in Week 2 after unders went 12-4 in Week 1. The consensus total is 39½ for Saints-Panthers and 38 for Steelers-Browns.
The last five meetings between the Saints and Panthers have gone under, and New Orleans is on a 7-1 under run.
The Browns are on a 7-1 under streak, while the Steelers are on a 10-3 under run at home.
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