The Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football (9/18/23) Get the best Deshaun Watson player prop picks and odds for tonight’s game.
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Deshaun Watson Monday Night Football Player Prop Picks at Pittsburgh Steelers
Going up against a potentially tough Pittsburgh defense, but one that was just gouged by Christian McCaffrey and the San Francisco 49ers, we’ll see what Watson is able to accomplish in primetime on Monday Night Football.
Deshaun Watson over 200.5 Passing Yards (-115 BetMGM)
Watson struggled a lot after coming back from his suspension last season, and only averaged 183.7 passing yards per game across his first six outings with Cleveland. He followed that up with a 154 yard performance on opening day this year, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that he can improve on that number by a significant amount going forward.
First of all, it’s worth noting that the number being offered is very likely deflated by that low output in week one. It’s worth reiterating that the lukewarm passing performance was against a pretty solid Bengals defense, in rainy weather, and also in a game where the Browns held a significant lead and were largely content to run the football. Of course, this is a run-first team and they’ll run it against the Steelers too, but it’s unlikely that they run it 58% of the time after they did so on 47.7% of snaps last season, which was also among the highest figures in the league.
The Steelers have a decent pass rush, but the secondary is questionable and even Brock Purdy tossed for 220 yards on 29 attempts against them on opening day. Before we start questioning whether that’s just because Purdy is a genuinely great passer, he racked up just 206 yards against a very suspect Rams secondary in his week two performance on Sunday. Watson has been a bit of a slow starter with the Browns so far, but in his last full season of competition, he averaged over 300 yards per game, and over 250 in every full or nearly full season he’s played. Watson should be able to clear this outrageously low number even with relatively minimal pass attempts, as the Steelers will offer him plenty of openings.
Deshaun Watson under 0.5 Interceptions Thrown (-155 BetMGM)
Although I expect Watson to be opportunistic with his passing attempts, this is because I’m projecting some easy throws. This isn’t a game to be pushing it into tight windows, and as we discussed, probably not one where he throws it 40-50 times; fewer chances to get picked off. Watson threw a pretty inexplicable pick on a ball directly to Bengals safety Daxton Hill for the Michigan man’s first NFL interception, but that play was fluky enough that I’m willing to write it off. That wasn’t a coverage-based triumph, or a forced error, it was an uncharacteristic mistake which simply happens in this game, but we shouldn’t see again this week.
After concerns about his turnover tendencies in college, Watson has cut down in that area tremendously as an NFL player. He’s thrown over ten interceptions just once, and that was on a Texans team where he was absolutely asked to be superman, and was in a much more vertically-inclined passing scheme; with a strong Browns team around him, that won’t be the case anymore. This one is definitely about game script, Watson won’t be forced into any bad decisions, he’s behind an outstanding offensive line and with his team leading, he can just throw the ball away and live to fight another snap or possession. The odds for this prop are fairly juiced, so consider throwing it into your Monday Night Football same game parlay, if that’s available to you.
Deshaun Watson under 26.5 Rushing Yards (-115 BetMGM)
This is a number that, conversely to his passing number, might be unduly boosted after a week one in which Watson was pretty prolific on the ground as he carried five times for 45 yards. That number is way above his career per-game average, which has slipped downwards significantly and fairly consistently since the beginning of his career. This is pretty common of veterans, who learn to rely on the pass more than their athleticism, and Watson isn’t about to enter into a rushing renaissance after a sloppy, fluky week one that had him on the run more than usual.
Watson’s per-game career average is just around 31, and as I alluded to with the interception prop, much of his track record came with a Texans team that forced him to do just about everything for the offense. Even so, over his last two seasons in Houston that number was below 28, and it was 29.2 last season in that abbreviated stint with Cleveland. In a game where he won’t be forced to save the day, rather than putting his body on the line to pick up a couple of extra yards, he’s more likely to slide down, or where applicable, just toss it away.