Can the “Just When Kids” get over the hump?
As they get ready to invade the AFC’s No. 1-seeded Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the 7-6-1 Pittsburgh Steelers team is confounding Mountain State bettors.
Just when you view them as a big dog in this game, here’s another handicapping angle:
The Steelers have beaten top-seeded AFC rivals like the Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.
Just when it looks like their season is getting long in the tooth, they are, incredibly, just a half game out of first place in the AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens lead the pack at 8-6 and play one another this week.
Somebody will leave with seven losses.
The Steelers are right behind them. And right behind the Steelers are the Cleveland Browns, now 7-7. They went from a looming first place to last place on the final-play field goal that enabled the Las Vegas Raiders to beat them 16-14 on Monday night.
The race is there for the taking. Now, can Pittsburgh win a big road game in December? That’s a lot to ask, but the Steelers are still hanging around.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds At WV Sportsbooks
“I don’t understand how Pittsburgh comes back from the dead in a lot of their games, but that team is doing it,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayWV. “Ben Roethlisberger is kind of done; he’s just a guy out there who has experience and who can’t do the things he once did,” he said of the Pittsburgh quarterback, “but this team is still in it.”
Avello’s sentiment is rooted in major Steelers comebacks.
Not only did Pittsburgh rally from a 13-3 halftime deficit to beat the Titans last week, but it surged from a 29-0 third-quarter deficit to nearly beat the Minnesota Vikings one week earlier.
The Steelers rallied past the Ravens one week before that and can even trace their season-opening triumph over the Bills to a comeback from a 10-0 halftime hole.
Pittsburgh has seen the other side of some of these types of games as well.
Just when the Steelers had a four-game winning streak and looked ready to make a move last month, they tied the then-winless Detroit Lions.
Just when Pittsburgh rallied to take the lead against the Los Angeles Chargers on the road one week later, it gave up a late touchdown and lost.
And now it’s over .500 again.
Did Pittsburgh hit a high-water mark last week? Or can it make the big step through?
Betting On Steelers-Chiefs
As with all sports recently, bettors must take into account COVID-19 considerations prior to making a wager.
Late Tuesday, Kansas City Chiefs stars Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were placed on the COVID-19 list. Their status is uncertain, and their absence would be significant.
Monitor tight end Pat Freiermuth when looking at individual players. Perhaps Pittsburgh’s most clutch player, Freiermuth suffered a concussion last week. He’s been a significant safety valve for Roethlisberger and the recipient of big third-down catches. If he can’t go, that’s a downgrade for the offense.
Running back Najee Harris will be fed the rock, both on the ground and through the air. Pittsburgh ideally wants 20 touches from him.
Combining Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Steelers’ Roethlisberger is a prop. DraftKings Sportsbook WV has a prop for Mahomes and Roethlisberger to combine for 600 yards or more. It pays +130.
The teams combine for 520 yards per game now, so backers would be expecting a shootout.
The Steelers have one of the league’s worst rush defenses.
Expect Kansas City to test this formula with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams. Bettors beware, however: This is a backfield by committee.
Mahomes is a yardage and touchdown-pass total threat at quarterback. He has 30 touchdown passes.
If they play: Kelce is a potent tight end and has eight scores. Hill is not only a deep-ball threat but a good first-score consideration for many bettors. Hill has hit paydirt nine times this season.
But if they are out, that’s a monumental change.
Steelers-Chiefs Props At WV Sportsbooks
If Pittsburgh can score two or more touchdowns, the DraftKings return is +130.
Can both teams score over 20 points? That’s +170.
Can Pittsburgh score more than 17.5 points? That’s -110.
Pittsburgh is almost never the first team to reach 10 points in a game. But if it happens here, the payoff is +195.
Watt Leading Sack Pack
The value of a 1.5-sack lead may be the relative size of a big soccer advantage.
T.J. Watt, leading the NFL with 17.5 sacks, is -200 at DraftKings to obtain the most in the league. Robert Quinn of the Chicago Bears has 16 and is +300. Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns is +400 and trails Watt by 2.5 sacks.
Watt’s backers would wait to see if the gap becomes one or even. That would help Watt’s numbers.
Watt is so prominent that he’s a game prop for Sunday.
A Watt full sack and a touchdown by Kelce of Kansas City is +165. It’s an interesting offer and shows a healthy respect for Watt. Many individual props involving a defensive player will have much higher betting odds.