Even though the 2022 NFL season doesn’t get underway for about two more months, it’s never too early for betting odds. Thankfully, the majority of West Virginia sportsbooks are already providing lots of NFL markets, including odds for this year’s Week 1 matchups.
Many in the Mountain State have their eyes on the Pittsburgh Steelers. This season should prove to be an interesting one, as the team features a quality roster but is in a transition period.
This is the first year since 2003 in which Ben Roethlisberger will not start. The Steelers legend retired following the 2021 season after falling short early in the postseason.
Pittsburgh drafted his potential replacement in Pitt QB Kenny Pickett, in addition to signing another option in Mitchell Trubisky.
Despite the change, the Steelers are projected to be relevant and around the AFC’s playoff picture. Odds vary, but WV books show their win total at seven, with the team’s odds to qualify for the playoffs around +330.
The journey to another postseason begins on Sunday, Sept. 11, with a difficult road contest at the defending conference champion Cincinnati Bengals.
Pittsburgh Steelers Week 1 odds vs. Bengals
Pittsburgh will get an immediate test in the opener, but that’s typically what happens when you’re in a talented division. Cincinnati came up just short in the Super Bowl against the Rams, but the other AFC North teams are also among the better franchises.
Cleveland looks like it can make a deep run depending on its quarterback situation, while Baltimore might be the best of the group. Like so many others, their seasons depend on the availability of their signal callers.
In Week 1, the Steelers defense will face Joe Burrow and a Bengals offense that was flat-out scary a year ago. They finished the campaign ranked seventh in points per game, scoring slightly over 27 every week.
Pittsburgh ended 2021 near the opposite end of the spectrum, in 21st, with just over 20 points per game. Since both defenses appear solid again, this is the glaring difference between Cincinnati and the Steelers.
At DraftKings Sportsbook WV, Cincinnati is the home favorite, laying -6.5 in the point spread at the moment. The online sportsbook shows the Bengals’ moneyline at -275, compared to the Steelers at +230.
To no surprise, this game total is one of the lowest on the board for the NFL’s first week. WV bettors aim at 44.5 points, with both the over and under available at -110.
Pittsburgh didn’t fare particularly well in either of these contests a year ago. It lost both games, getting outscored by a combined total of 65-20.
Burrow and the offense managed fewer than 270 overall yards in the first game but still won by two touchdowns. Then, in late November, the Bengals offense didn’t falter, taking a 31-3 lead into halftime and cruising the rest of the way.
Steelers-Bengals betting trends
Several betting trends from recent results might give Steelers fans a little more hope. Before its 41-10 trouncing at Paul Brown Stadium, Pittsburgh won its previous four games against Cincinnati as an underdog.
The Steelers also have a good record against the spread when facing divisional opponents. They earned a cover in four of their last five games in the AFC North.
That includes the final two regular-season tilts from 2021, when Pittsburgh beat both Cleveland and Baltimore as a slight underdog.
To have a chance at pulling this off again in Week 1, head coach Mike Tomlin’s defense will need to come up big. The Bengals showcase a wide variety of ways to produce points.
Their top threat, Ja’Marr Chase, is one of the best receivers in football and is entering only his second season. The LSU grad caught 81 passes during his rookie year, totaling more than 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for defensive coordinators, he’s not the only big-play threat for the Bengals on the outside. The combination of Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd went for over 1,900 yards through the air on 141 receptions.
There’s no question that the Steelers’ defense will be tested in the back end early and often. The defensive front’s performance is crucial, as the team needs consistent pressure from players like T.J. Watt.
Luckily, the offense should be in better shape to score more often this season. As of now, it’s unclear whether Trubisky or Pickett will get the starting nod, but either is likely to provide more life to the unit. The two appear to be set for an interesting battle during training camp.
WV sportsbooks are displaying just the standard odds for most NFL games right now, but that’s sure to change as the start of the season approaches. Once the preseason games begin, the majority of operators should debut an abundance of game, team, and player props for every individual matchup.