Jacoby Brissett may not be the most reliable QB, but his rushing yards total looks much too juicy to pass up. That’s why he leads the charge in our favorite NFL player props for the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Steelers and Browns.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns will meet on the quick turnaround Thursday night in Ohio with the Browns installed as a 3.5-point favorite in a game that features a sub-40 total.
The Pittsburgh offense isn’t looking any better this season with Mitch Trubisky under center while the defense will get a heavy dose of the Cleveland running game.
Here are my free NFL player prop picks for Thursday Night Football between the Steelers and Browns. Be sure to also check out Jason Logan’s full game betting analysis for Thursday night’s matchup.
Steelers vs Browns props
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Steelers vs Browns TNF props
Trouble with Trubisky
The change from Ben Roethlisberger to Mitch Trubisky has done next to nothing for this Pittsburgh offense. To open the season, Trubisky has recorded a negative EPA/play and CPOE in both games. He’s rated as one of the worst quarterbacks in football through two weeks and has to face the best defense he’s seen this season in Cleveland.
Trubisky currently ranks in the Justin Fields and Davis Mills territory while also being only one of four QBs to post a success rate of 38% or worse. Success rate measures the percentage of plays where EPA > zero, meaning Trubisky is taking expected points off the board every snap.
This is also a Pittsburgh offense that ranked 31st in success rate a season ago and with personnel changes, has not improved on those marks to start the season. Trubisky doesn’t even know if he can call audibles at the line.
Mitch Trubisky said he doesn’t have the freedom to call audibles on every play in Matt Canada’s offense. “We’re still figuring out when it’s a good time for me to be heard,” he said. Trubisky is a six-year veteran, right?
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 20, 2022
The former Chicago QB had a passing total of 217.5 last week vs. a bad New England secondary and although his total has fallen to 207.5 this week, I think it’s still an Under play on the short week.
The Browns came into the season as the No. 4 ranked secondary and have held opposing QBs to a negative CPOE in both games to open the season. Myles Garrett potentially missing the game hurts but this is still an awful Pittsburgh O-line.
Trubisky hasn’t topped 195 yards in either game and gets a tough matchup on a short week. Cleveland will rely on the running game and eat clock while a projected close game should also mean Pittsburgh doesn’t abandon the run. The Steelers are also one of the slowest teams in pace of play in neutral situations to begin the season.
Mitch Trubisky Prop: Under 207.5 passing yards (-115 at DraftKings)
Short week workload
The Browns come into the short week with a huge advantage in the running game. Through two games, Cleveland ranks fourth in the league in EPA/rush and has been doing so with an O-line that isn’t 100%. I doubt tackle Jack Conklin suits up Thursday, but the injuries to the O-line aren’t scaring me away from betting on the Browns’ rushing attack.
I’m projecting both backs to go Over their total rushing yards but on the short week, I’m liking Kareem Hunt more as he’s rushed well with Chubb in the lineup, and the quick turnaround could take away carries from the starter. Chubb has rushed for 228 yards out of the gates but I’m liking backup Hunt at Over 42.5 rushing yards Thursday night.
He’s hit the Over in both games this season, is playing 46% of the snaps, and is likely to get 11-14 carries in a game that should see the Browns run a ton vs. a Pittsburgh rush defense that allowed the most explosive rushes a season ago and finished 27th in rush EPA in 2021.
Hunt isn’t gaining yards like Chubb, but at 4.3 yards per carry, Hunt just needs double-digit carries to hit this Over. Pittsburgh allowed both New England running backs to hit their Over rushing yards last week.
Since Kevin Stefanski took over in Cleveland, when he has both Chubb and Hunt in the lineup, Hunt is averaging over 11 carries per game for 49 yards on 4.58 yards per carry. The short week also makes me think Stefanski will even out the workload. There is a reason his rushing total has jumped 10 points from Week 1.
Kareem Hunt Prop: Over 42.5 rushing yards (-114)
Covers NFL betting analysis
Jacoby Brissett ran for 43 yards last week with a length of 21, but books are still giving us the same Week 2 rushing total of 9.5 — a number he topped in both games this season.
here’s Jacoby Brissett showing off the spin and all the moves on the scramblepic.twitter.com/nBlqkNBpiy
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) September 18, 2022
Over his 39 NFL career starts, Brissett is averaging 22.4 rushing yards per game and with this expected to be a close divisional game, Brissett might have to extend plays and scramble from start to finish.
Brissett has scrambled seven times for 50 yards to start the season and has run the ball three times on designed runs. He is one of the slower QBs to throw the ball which means he has a higher chance to feel the pressure and take off.
With TJ Watt out and linebacker Devin Bush not 100%, this Pittsburgh defense is slower. Joe Burrow had 46 yards on the ground vs. the Steelers in Week 1 while Mac Jones also topped his rushing total last week.
Jacoby Brissett Prop: Over 9.5 rushing yards (-110 at bet365)