How to make tight work right: that’s the mission of West Virginia bettors regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers before their NFL Week 4 matchup against the visiting New York Jets. Both teams are 1-2.
Bettors must work close games, a Steelers staple this year, into the equation. Two of their first three games were decided by three points.
As the Steelers lay -3.5 points to the Jets at DraftKings Sportsbook West Virginia, here are some options bettors will consider.
Steelers betting odds at West Virginia sportsbooks
Get rid of the hook
It’s not too expensive to reduce the -3.5 number to -3. It only costs a few basis points to abolish “the hook,” that half point following the -3 that makes gamblers hesitate to lay points.
A push at -3 looks more appealing than a gut-wrenching loss at -3.5. It’s even better if the line moves to 3 and the player can buy a half point to get to -2.5.
This is new territory for Steelers bettors in 2022 because this is the first time the Steelers have been favored.
A punt prop at DraftKings WV
Sad as it may seem, there is money to be made from offensive futility in this game. DraftKings has an over-under punts prop at 8.5. The over is +100; the under is -130.
The Jets and Steelers punted eight times in their games last week.
Bet with or against the Steelers to score
There is more reward for offensive stagnation at DraftKings. The Steelers have an over-under of 2.5 team touchdowns. The over is -125 and the under is -115. Gamblers who take the under have a consolation prize if the Steelers can’t score.
That’s an interesting number because the Steelers have scored exactly two touchdowns in each of their first three games. And the Jets have given up three or more in every game.
The Steelers’ over-under for points is 22.5. The over is -110. If there was a game they’d be heading over the number, isn’t this it?
The Steelers notched 23 against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, but it’s been 14 against the New England Patriots and 17 versus the Cleveland Browns after that.
Thinking about points bands? The Steelers are +180 at 11-20 points. They are +145 to hit between 21-30. They are +475 to finish between 31-40. The Jets average 27 points yielded per game.
Steelers could be due to break out
They just missed last week against the Cleveland Browns. Nick Chubb’s decisive touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal rush. Chris Boswell’s onside kick when the Steelers trailed 23-17 late was well struck.
It got past the initial defenders but simply could not be corralled by a Steeler before it reached the sideline.
This is a right-the-ship game for Pittsburgh. Most fans would have been happy with a 2-2 start that included games against the defending AFC champion Bengals, the 10-win Patriots, and the Browns.
The Steelers can reach 2-2 Sunday and arrive at what’s essentially the first-quarter mark of the season all square.
Should this go the other way, however, the locals will be restless. Who says you can’t have a must-win game in October?
Zach Wilson is set to return
In New York, the media hypes this as the start of a new era. The Jets’ second overall pick in the 2021 draft returns from a preseason injury.
Zach Wilson has playmakers, and the team around him is better than last year, but there could be a silver lining for Pittsburgh. Wilson hasn’t played in several weeks. He could be rusty, especially in the first half. That could affect his timing with receivers and the trajectory of his passes.
Teams who welcome quarterbacks back after injury don’t win as often as one might think. This game sets up well for Pittsburgh. Whether the Steelers will convert that idea is another story.
Kenny Pickett will start, eventually
Kenny Pickett’s hovering presence makes it hard to trust any props regarding Mitchell Trubisky.
Pickett is considered the future of the franchise and will take the reins when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin believes he’s ready.
Trubisky is doing just enough to retain the starting quarterback slot, but if the Steelers trail the Jets at halftime, who knows when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin could make the change?
Trubisky did direct two first-half touchdown drives and a late score that kept the Steelers in the game last week. But the Steelers have only one second-half TD in three games.
Bettors don’t know what they can trust there.
Touchdown prop odds at WV sportsbooks
Imagine you had the Browns’ defense/special teams score in Week 3. It’s the final play of the game, and the Steelers unfurl the desperation backward pass play, hoping to get someone free.
The ball bounces toward the Pittsburgh end zone. A Browns player dives on it but can’t secure it. The ball squirts into the end zone, and Cleveland recovers.
Gamblers bemoan being robbed, but this was one of those rare gifts with the backward pass, the recovery, and the score.
“That may be meaningful to some of you,” game announcer Al Michaels said, “and you know who I mean.”
The popular commentator has often unveiled a humorous tongue-in-cheek understanding of the betting line. Before networks displayed betting odds, as they do now, announcers had to pretend they knew nothing about the gambling culture that fed the NFL.
When a missed extra point or field goal determined a wager, Michaels said things like the kick was “under” the crossbar, or he “pushed” it left. The gamblers knew.