Don’t expect a clash between the Steelers and Browns and other best bets for Thursday

Hello, it’s me, Tom Fornelli, and it feels good to be back in your inbox after you passed away last week. It also felt good to walk the dog this morning because today is not only the first official day of autumn, but the weather has cooperated where I live. After weeks of humid, 80-degree days, it was mostly cloudy in the mid-50s when I went out with the dog this morning. A strong wind was blowing and it smelled like autumn.

It was amazing. Autumn is my best season. You have the best sports and the best weather. I’ll hear a discussion for spring, but that’s it. If you’re trying to argue here whether it’s summer or winter, you’re either still in school (summer) or antisocial (winter).

Give me autumn 365 days a year. Oh, and give me these stories too. To be honest, I missed so much in the sports world last week that I did a lot of reading to keep up with myself.

ok let’s make some money

All times East and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

๐Ÿ”ฅ Hot Ticket

Steelers at Browns, 20:15 | TV: Amazon

  • Key Trend: They are behind 5-2 in the last seven games.
  • Selection: Under 38 (-115)

Keeping things simple worked well for us last Thursday, and I won’t be changing the formula this week. None of these teams showed us much offensively. The Steelers were particularly lackluster, finishing 28th in the league in offensive success rate and 26th in points per drive. I don’t expect Mitch Trubisky and his team to come up with anything tonight against a Cleveland defense that is perfect to start the year. Especially on the offensive line.

The Browns’ offense was better than Pittsburgh’s and is sixth in the league in points per ride, but that number is likely to drop if it doesn’t improve from the bottom up. Their offensive success rate of 42.4% was only 16th place and they struggled to finish the races, scoring 55.6% of what they collected in the red zone.

Another factor is how the clock rotates when the ball is in the Browns. They combined long rides while running 54.7% of the time, the third-highest rate in the league. In other words, Pittsburgh’s offense fails to score and Cleveland’s offense never lets the clock stop. Throw these two forces against solid defenses (both are top 10 for success rate) and we’re unlikely to see a skirmish tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine has to say about the game: SportsLine’s Emory Hunt is 11-3 in the last 14 picks, including the Cleveland Browns, and has a shot at tonight’s game.



๐Ÿˆ Another one for the Steelers at Browns

Pick: Nick Chubb Anytime TD (-145) — That’s a heavy price to pay, but as I mentioned, the Cleveland offense is one of the heaviest offenses in the league. I don’t expect much change tonight as quarterback Jacoby Brissett is a favorite of the Browns. This only increases Nick Chubb’s chances of red zone and goal line. While he hasn’t had much success against Pittsburgh in his career (averaging just 4.37 yards per try and one touchdown in seven career games), I love the prospect of hitting the paydirt tonight.

The Browns have already recorded three offensive hits and six interceptions in the red zone this season. 3.57 yards per carry in the red zone, the fourth-best score in the league. We might get vulture by Kareem Hunt, but I think this price point in Chubb scoring is friendly.

Key Trend: Cleveland has already registered three red zone fast tank destroyers this season.

๐Ÿˆ College Football

West Virginia at Virginia Tech, 7:30 PM TV: ESPN
Selection: 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 averaged 36.5 points per game. That’s still pretty good, but Kansas’ defense was pretty bad and Pitt’s defense wasn’t looking good either. This Virginia Tech defense will be the best defense West Virginia has ever seen. It ranks 9th in the country in success rate, 13th in points allowed per ride, and 10th in the EPA per game. This is good.

What’s not nearly as good is Virginia Tech’s fault. If I used adjectives to describe it, I would be “depressing”, maybe even “disgusting.” It ranks 100th in achievement rate, 116th in achievement rate, and 95th in the EPA per game. The total listed for tonight’s game gives a little too much credit to West Virginia’s offensive performance against poor defenses. As long as the total is above 49, we take it under.

Key Trend: 5-1-1 in the last seven games in the bottom.

๐Ÿ”’ SportsLine Pick of the Day: There’s more college football tonight and SportsLine’s Micah Roberts will play in the game between Illinois and Chattanooga.

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