Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers might be doing it with mirrors. And few believe they will catch the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
But Mountain State bettors have backed a team with four straight wins, looking at five with Sunday’s home matchup against the Detroit Lions. Imagine the Steelers at 6-3 after a 1-3 start.
The Steelers don’t put teams away, but they have rescued a season that was getting away from them.
Here are some important betting considerations moving forward:
Running back Najee Harris continues to be the darling of West Virginia sportsbooks regarding the Steelers. He paid +320 to be the first touchdown scorer at Caesars WV last week against the Chicago Bears.
Caesars bettors who took that bet before the game were given a free bet to use during the game.
That’s a good thing to keep in mind regarding the national games, which are isolated and have a larger betting audience than normal. The books have creative ways to entice business before and during the contest.
Cha-Ching. A prop bet we outlined here last week hit the target and paid +170.
It consisted of taking the Steelers-Bears and the Browns-Bengals totals down by a touchdown and then betting the Baltimore Ravens moneyline against the Minnesota Vikings.
Payouts in this range may not be glamorous, but with the name of the game being profit, there’s nothing wrong with +170.
That’s a good method to play around with and see if it fits you, week to week. The Steelers-Lions could be teased down to 36 as a starting point for bettors who might then link this game with a couple of others.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds At WV Sportsbooks
Where the Steelers stand:
Bettors who took their win total to exceed 8.5 are a little ahead. But it’s important for them that the Steelers hit number six this weekend, because they still have two tough games against the Ravens and one each versus the Bengals and the Browns down the stretch.
Want to lick your chops? Go ahead. The Lions gave up 44 points to the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago and then had a bye week. It looks like they had a bye week during the game, too.
Philadelphia had two touchdowns apiece from two different backs (Jordan Howard and Boston Scott), accomplishing a team feat for the first time since 1980.
This bodes well for Harris, and he will be highlighted in props. But also expect the Lions to try limiting him, perhaps by putting eight in the box defensively. If that happens, watch for Ben Roethlisberger to find Diontae Johnson for big yardage chunks.
And regardless of which defensive scheme Detroit brings, Roethlisberger loves his tight end.
We touted him early as another Heath Miller. And that’s the type of dependability Big Ben has received from Pat Freiermuth, who tallied twice against the Bears.
Freiermuth has caught numerous key third-down catches to keep drives alive. He has been the Steelers’ top clutch receiver.
On the other side of the ball, how will the Lions being winless affect in-game strategy?
The Lions have nothing to lose. Expect a few fourth-down gambles and potential trick plays. Expect them to be angry.
See where the props on a Steelers defensive or special-teams touchdown figure into your thinking.
The Lions gave up six sacks and a special-teams score to the Eagles.
Steelers Prop Bets Vs. Lions
Lions quarterback Jared Goff’s passing yardage over-under is 251.5 at DraftKings WV. Both sides are -115.
Can D’Andre Swift of the Lions and Harris of the Steelers combine for 174.5 rushing yards? That’s -110 at DraftKings in the Weekly Specials section.
On their best days, the backs combine to hit this. Variables on this bet include whether Swift will split time with Jamaal Williams, who sat out the Eagles game two weeks ago. The bye followed.
Williams may play, which would cut into Swift’s total. Check the injury reports.
Here’s one with a fair chance. The total touchdowns in the game at 4.5. That’s +100 for the over. The Lions usually give up a lot of scores. This may come down to whether they can score one.
A Caesars sample:
Bettors can obtain action on the first drive of the game for both teams.
Outcome of first drive:
- Punt +119
- Touchdown +215
- Field goal attempt +365
- Turnover +525
- Punt -145
- Touchdown +450
- Field goal attempt +420
- Turnover +440
It’s not surprising for a team that’s been embarrassed in the previous game to build on the smallest possibilities.
Sometimes that’s a field goal on the first possession, especially if they have the ball first. The Lions have been so bad that this price has been pumped up to +420.
Look for more Steelers props as the game approaches.