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Browns vs. Steelers odds, line, spread: Monday Night Football picks, prediction from model on 134-96 roll

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A heated AFC North rivalry is set to renew on Monday Night Football when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. The Steelers can keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over their bitter rivals on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Browns have officially been eliminated from playoff contention after Sunday’s results. Will the Browns come out fighting, or will the Steelers continue their home dominance against Cleveland? 

Kickoff from Pittsburgh is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. The Steelers are 2.5-point favorites in the latest Browns vs. Steelers odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 43. Before making any Steelers vs. Browns picks and NFL predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,100 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception six-plus years ago. The model enters Week 17 of the 2021 season on an incredible 134-96 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season.

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The model also ranked in the top 10 on NFLPickWatch four of the past five years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 94 percent of CBS Sports Football Pick’em players four times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now, the model has set its sights on Browns vs. Steelers and revealed its picks and predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are the NFL odds and betting lines for Browns vs. Steelers:

  • Browns vs. Steelers spread: Steelers -2.5
  • Browns vs. Steelers over-under: 43 points
  • Browns vs. Steelers money line: Browns +130, Steelers -150
  • CLE: The total has gone under in four of the Browns’ previous five games
  • PIT: The Steelers are 5-0-1 straight-up in their last six home games

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

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Why the Browns can cover

The Browns have lost their last two games but covered the spread in both contests. Cleveland is 7-8 against the spread this season and the Browns have covered four times on the road. Cleveland’s passing attack isn’t always reliable, but its well-rounded defense makes it a threat to cover most weeks. The Browns feature a top-10 defense against the run and pass. 

The Browns will need to put points on the scoreboard to cover, and few matchups favor their running backs more. The Browns rank third in team rushing yards with 2,173 yards despite dealing with multiple injuries and COVID-19 outbreaks. The Steelers, meanwhile, have given up a league-high 2,141 rushing yards in 2021. Cleveland can cover if Nick Chubb, who’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry this season, helps the offense move the chains consistently and challenge Pittsburgh’s front seven. 

Why the Steelers can cover

The Steelers have been a let-down overall in 2021 but have handled business at home. Cleveland, on the other hand, has struggled on the road. The Browns have lost five of their seven road games this season and lost to Pittsburgh as home favorites earlier this year.

The Steelers have the NFL’s worst run defense ahead of Week 17 but contained the Browns’ backfield earlier this season. Pittsburgh held Chubb to 61 yards and no scores on 16 carries. Heinz Field is a tough place to play and the Steelers’ record as home underdogs shows that. The Steelers are 2-0 straight-up and against the spread as home underdogs. Baker Mayfield has thrown eight touchdowns and six interceptions on the road this year, and Pittsburgh can stay close to cover if his struggles persist.

How to make Browns vs. Steelers picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the total, projecting 42 combined points. It also says one side of the spread cashes in over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the model’s Monday Night Football picks at SportsLine.

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So who wins Steelers vs. Browns on Monday Night Football? And which side of the spread hits over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Steelers vs. Browns spread to back, all from the advanced model that is up more than $7,100 on its top-rated NFL picks.



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Equipped with revamped slider, Mitch White brings versatility to Blue Jays

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MINNEAPOLIS — The moment Mitch White knew he needed to do something about his slider was right about here:


That was last May, when White — making only his sixth big-league appearance after winding a half-decade path up the Los Angeles Dodgers system — was trying to earn a save in the second game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.

White’s not a closer and has zero reservations about that fact. But it was extras (remember, doubleheaders were seven-inning games last season) and the bullpen was in a real bad way. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was out of options. So, with a two-run lead and a baserunner starting the inning at second, out to the mound White went.

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It was going well until it wasn’t. White got a quick out on a groundball before winning a long battle with Tony Wolters, earning a strikeout with an inside curveball. But after falling behind Javy Baez, 1-0, White tried to dot his slider on the outside edge but missed, leaving it up and over for the Cubs second baseman, whose eyes lit up. Tie game.

“He got me pretty good,” White remembers. “And after that I was like, ‘my slider sucks. I need to figure this out.’”

At the time, White was throwing what’s called a bullet slider. Think of the one Michael Fulmer’s flummoxed hitters with this season. Tight, vertical, and firm, the pitch is thrown anywhere from the high-80’s to low-90’s, sacrificing movement for velocity. As a pitcher, you’re thinking not so much about manipulating the pitch, but moreso about throwing the hell out of it. As hard as you can. It worked for White over a lot of years at a lot of levels. But the hitters at the highest one are pretty good.

So, White went back to the lab with Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness to revisit a grip change they’d discussed in spring training. The inspiration came from Blake Treinen, the all-star Dodgers reliever who, in 2021, halted an odd, two-year slide in his results when he started throwing his slider with a spike grip like one would a curveball. The adjustment juiced the pitch’s horizontal movement, helped Treinen rediscover his elite form, and was so effective that the Dodgers started implementing it developmentally throughout their system.

White was one of the guys they thought it could work for. But it wasn’t until Baez’s bomb that he finally took the plunge and started throwing it. Suddenly, White’s slider was sweeping five inches further across the zone. He was getting more swings with it and missing more barrels. He finished 2021 with a 35.7 per cent whiff rate on the pitch, allowing a strong .204 wOBA against it (and a .170 xwOBA that suggests White deserved even better).

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That’s just one of the things that the Toronto Blue Jays have liked about White for some time, and one of the reasons why they sought to acquire him at last week’s trade deadline when the Dodgers, motivated to move White in his final option year ahead of an impending roster crunch next spring, made him available.

Another would be the 94-mph fastball with above-average spin that plays up off the rest of his repertoire and has gotten him outs consistently since his MLB debut. And then there’s the curveball, changeup, and two-seamer, rounding out a deep, still-developing repertoire that gives Toronto’s pitching department plenty to work with.

“We’re excited to have him. We’ve had discussions about him in the past — he’s someone that’s been on our radar for a while,” says Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker. “He has a very comfortable, easy delivery. The ball jumps out of his hand. I like the way he spins the ball a couple different ways. He spins it very well. And he’s still developing. The changeup’s effective, but it’s something I think we can continue to develop here. I think that’s a pitch that could be better for him in the future.

“He’s someone that we’ll continue to get to know. But just from seeing him on video, talking with him, watching him throw a side — he seems to have a good feel for what he’s doing. And that’s nice. To be successful at this level, you’ve got to know who you are and what makes you good.”

Part of that is White’s comfort in a variety of roles, something the Dodgers used to their advantage over the last two seasons. Los Angeles utilized him for one-inning relief, had him pitch bulk outings behind openers, and used him as a rotation fill-in for two-and-a-half months this season. And you can expect White to do something similar in Toronto, both pitching out of the club’s bullpen and covering a spot in its rotation when needed, assuming the role Ross Stripling held with the club out of spring training.

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And, look, you’re going to hear White compared to Stripling a lot. It’s almost too easy. A couple right-handed, control-and-command, kitchen-sink-throwing swingmen acquired at the trade deadline from the Los Angeles Dodgers. A pair of guys who could easily hold down back-end starting jobs on plenty of teams but, because the Dodgers are the Dodgers, often found themselves on the outside of a stacked rotation looking in. White assumed Stripling’s role in Toronto’s rotation, for crying out loud, when the incumbent ended up on the injured list this week. And he might just inherit it long-term if Stripling departs in free agency this winter.

But as far as comparisons go, Stripling’s not an undesirable one. We’ve all seen how valuable his versatility’s been to the Blue Jays this season and last. It’s not so easy oscillating between starting and relief throughout a major-league season, repeatedly reverting routines and amplifying demands on body and mind. It’s like asking a track athlete to compete in the 100m sprint one week and the 1,500m run the next, while excelling at both.

For his part, White has three different conditioning and arm care routines — one for when he’s pitching out of the bullpen, one for when he’s starting, and another for when he’s transitioning between the two. And he takes different approaches to attacking hitters depending on his role, as well.

“It’s about managing that arm health and taking care of everything — making sure you’re physically ready to go. And then beyond that, there’s the mental challenge of flipping a lineup over a couple times, understanding that you can’t always go with your plan A. You’ve got to mix it up,” White says. “And just through the experience of throwing more, you get comfortable feeling those things out. Feeling hitters a little more. Versus in the pen, where it’s like, ‘All right, I’m going to come at them with my best stuff. I don’t really need to get too cute. Just attack.’”

That’s why White’s continual work on his repertoire has been so key. He has to be two pitchers at once. And while he’s found what works as a reliever, leaning on a fastball that plays up in shorter stints and that sweeping slider, he’s still a work in progress at a starter. And the Blue Jays feel there’s more upside he can tap into as he continues making adjustments.

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While White’s fastball and slider are an effective combination against right-handers, he offers lefties a completely different look, utilizing curveballs and changeups to help neutralize the platoon advantage. The Blue Jays see some opportunities for White to improve those two pitches, his changeup in particular. And they believe his slider can be deployed against left-handed hitting, as well, provided he’s able to locate it in advantageous areas of the strike zone.

White’s obviously open to ideas. He’s already decided to experiment with some glove-side two-seamers — a new pitch White began implementing earlier this season — in his next bullpen after watching Alek Manoah and Jose Berrios using it to great effect against right-handed hitters. Stripling added a sinker himself this year and has used it effectively as a soft-contact generating weapon against right-handers. Don’t be surprised to see White start doing the same.

Advancing White’s approach will be an ongoing process, of course. The Blue Jays haven’t thrown too much at him yet, encouraging the 27-year-old to continue doing what he was doing to produce the 3.47 ERA he held over 10 starts with the Dodgers this season. But White’s open-minded and unafraid of trying new things, like with the slider he overhauled thanks to Treinen’s spike grip. And with the benefit of a full camp in Dunedin, Fla. next spring, a little tweak here, a little adjustment there, the evolution of Mitch While will continue.

“It’s interesting — a lot of pitchers are very different in the way that they approach the game. And you can learn something from everyone,” White says. “I learned a lot from Clayton [Kershaw.] He’s old school. He doesn’t love all the numbers and the Edgertronic and the Rapsodo and the technical side. So, I’d talk to him about approach and reading hitters and what his game plan is.

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“Then there’s a Tyler Anderson or a Tony Gonsolin — they’re more involved in pitch design, figuring out how to make my slider move a little bit more in this direction, that kind of stuff. Everyone’s a little different. And you can pick up little pieces from everyone.”

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Several NBA Analysts Share A Bold Clippers Prediction

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Going into the 2022-23 NBA season, the Los Angeles Clippers have plenty of reason for hope.

Coming off a dismal season during which they fell apart in the play-in tournament versus the New Orleans Pelicans, they’re expected to get superstar Kawhi Leonard and key scoring guard Norman Powell back from injury.

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As usual these days, they are expected to be in the running for a spot in the NBA Finals next summer.

As was the case three years ago when Leonard and Paul George first teamed up, some prominent members of the media are starting to drool all over the Clippers.

Tim Bontemps of ESPN said they’re “clearly the best team in the West,” while his colleague Bobby Marks piggybacked on his comment and said the Clippers are going to win 60 games.

The Clippers are certainly a force and could win it all, but let’s not get carried away.

In fact, more than any other title contender outside of the Brooklyn Nets, they have some real question marks.

 

Health

Leonard is coming off a partially torn ACL in his right knee, which is the type of injury that can rob an athlete of some of his viability.

Prior to the injury, which he sustained during the 2021 playoffs, he wasn’t exactly a picture of good health to begin with.

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Leonard missed 22 games in the 2018-19 season, 15 the year after and 20 in the 2020-21 campaign due to “load management” for multiple ailments, including what is believed to be quad tendinopathy.

During the 2019 playoffs, many commented that by the NBA Finals, it looked like he was playing on one good leg, due to what was believed to be a related tendon ailment.

Leonard has had such issues going back five years, and it drove a wedge between him and the management of the San Antonio Spurs during the 2017-18 season, which led to him being traded to the Toronto Raptors at the end of the year.

At age 31, Leonard seems to have more wear and tear than most NBA stars his age, and how good he will be this coming season is a fair question to ask.

How he will hold up through a long NBA season is another fair question to ask.

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In addition, George has also been injury-prone, as he has appeared in only 133 of a possible 226 contests during his three seasons in L.A.

 

The Clippers Have A Sizable Hole In Their Roster

Throughout the Leonard-George era, the Clippers have lacked a top-flight point guard who can dictate the tempo, set up his teammates and be a legitimate scoring threat.

After getting bought out by the Houston Rockets, John Wall signed with the Clippers, leading their fans to declare that they have their own version of a superteam.

In reality, Wall isn’t who he used to be when he made five straight All-Star teams not too long ago.

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Following a torn Achilles, he shot just 40.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from 3-point range in the 2020-21 season, and he didn’t play at all this past season after wanting out.

Such an injury all but ends the viability of most basketball players, and it seems unlikely Wall will regain anything close to his old form.

If he doesn’t, teams can sag off him defensively and watch him throw up brick after brick.

Without that top-flight point guard, the Clippers, more likely than not, will suffer another heart-wrenching playoff loss sometime in May or June of 2023.

The post Several NBA Analysts Share A Bold Clippers Prediction appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Falcons vs. Lions odds, spread, line: 2022 NFL preseason Week 1 picks, predictions from expert on 45-26 run

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Second-year head coaches Dan Campbell and Arthur Smith will kick off their 2022 campaigns when the Atlanta Falcons head to Ford Field and face the Detroit Lions in the 2022 NFL preseason opener for both teams on Friday. Detroit is hoping this season will be different after finishing last in the NFC North and going 3-13-1. Marcus Mariota will be the new starting quarterback under center and will make his debut for the Falcons.

Kickoff from Ford Field in Detroit is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. Atlanta is a 1-point favorite in the latest Falcons vs. Lions odds at Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 35. Before locking in any Lions vs. Falcons picks or 2022 NFL preseason predictions, make sure you check out what SportsLine NFL expert R.J. White has to say.

Over the past seven years, White, a CBS Sports fantasy and gambling editor, has gone 329-250-21 in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest. He also is SportsLine’s No. 1 NFL expert, going 445-378-24 on his against-the-spread NFL picks from 2017-21, returning $2,542 to $100 players.

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In addition, White has gone 45-26-2 on his last 73 picks involving the Lions, returning $1,580. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, White has zoned in on Falcons vs. Lions and just locked in his NFL picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks and analysis. Here are the NFL odds and betting lines for Lions vs. Falcons

  • Falcons vs. Lions spread: Falcons -1
  • Falcons vs. Lions over-under: 35 points
  • Falcons vs. Lions money line: Atlanta -115, Detroit -105
  • ATL: Falcons are 5-2-1 against the spread in their last eight road games
  • DET: Lions have covered in four straight home games
  • Falcons vs. Lions picks: See picks here

Featured Game | Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons

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Why the Falcons can cover

Atlanta will have a few new quarterbacks on the field for the first time in 14 years after it traded Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in March. Mariota is expected to play series or two to gain rhythm and continuity with his new teammates. His versatility provides Atlanta’s offense with a new dynamic.

Rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder will be making his first appearance for the Falcons after being selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Ridder plays with confidence and solid command and will look to make a good first impression. He’s played well in training camp thus far and should make plays against the basic coverages he will see.

Why the Lions can cover 

Despite finishing with a 3-13-1 record last season, the Lions showed plenty of effort. Campbell seems to have won over the locker room as he tries to change the culture in Detroit. Campbell said starters will play around a quarter before they are pulled.

Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is making his debut as a Lion. Hutchinson is an explosive athlete who has an amazing bend off the edge. Backup quarterback Tim Boyle is expected to see plenty of the snaps in this matchup. Boyle knows the system and should be able to move the ball. He tossed 562 yards with three passing touchdowns last year.

How to make Lions vs. Falcons picks

White has analyzed this matchup and he’s leaning Under on the point total. He has also discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and which side to back, at SportsLine.

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Who wins Falcons vs. Lions on Friday? And which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see R.J. White’s Falcons vs. Lions picks, all from the NFL expert who’s 45-26-2 on his last 73 picks involving Detroit, and find out.



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