This is a great week for Mountain State bettors to love their Pittsburgh Steelers even more.
First, the underdog Steelers jumped out of the box with a 23-16 triumph over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 on Sunday, easing the bitter memory of their first-round 2020 playoff exit.
Next up is the home opener at Heinz Field, with a full house for the first time since 2019. And to make it more compelling, it’s against the Raiders.
These two storied franchises still own an NFL record of meeting for five straight years (1972-76) in the playoffs. That’s when Las Vegas was the Oakland Raiders.
Pittsburgh opened as a solid five-point chalk and held 71% early spread action. Bettors don’t believe that Las Vegas’ productive offense, which scored 33 points in an overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, can repeat the feat.
A full 82% of the gamblers took under 49, indicating they think the Steelers defense will take care of business.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings WV Sportsbook, told PlayWV that the Steelers have been unpredictable. From an overachieving 11-0 start last year to a 1-5 slide that prematurely bumped them from the playoffs, the Steelers have been difficult to handicap.
“From a betting perspective, we got hit on the Steelers moneyline pretty hard,” Avello noted. “It was a good game for the bettors (who took the Steelers at +250 to win the game outright).
“The Steelers are one of those teams that are very tough to gauge,” Avello added. “We have had high expectations from the Steelers throughout the years. People like the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns in that division now, but with it perhaps being Ben Roethlisberger’s last year, you just don’t know.”
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds At WV Sportsbooks
Steelers Betting Angles
There are still good prices available for them. Here are FanDuel WV’s updated AFC North Division odds:
- Cleveland Browns +135
- Baltimore Ravens +165
- Pittsburgh Steelers +340
- Cincinnati Bengals +1600
The Steelers have an over-under of 8.5 wins at a price of -110.
Will their offensive numbers improve?
The Steelers had a meager 252 yards of offense against Buffalo, but 198 in the second half. Remember those ugly first-half numbers of 54 total yards, five punts and no plays started in Buffalo territory? Maybe the Steelers found something at halftime.
Pittsburgh needs to provide holes for top pick Najee Harris, who tabbed only 45 yards on the ground. And that led the team.
Whose turn is it in regard to anytime scorers?
We told you last week that Diontae Johnson is Roethlisberger‘s favorite target. And despite a couple of drops, Johnson secured the only Steelers offensive touchdown. He catches the ones that count most, and he runs the best routes.
As always, look for wide receiver Chase Claypool to be a threat, especially on a deep ball. He averaged 15 yards per catch last week and nearly reached pay dirt twice. Juju Smith-Schuster is another anytime threat.
Some interesting props went up early at DraftKings.
Will the game be tied again after 0-0? Yes is -115, while no is -105.
Will the largest lead be more than 14.5? The over is -105; the under is -130.
BetMGM WV Sportsbook unfurled its first set of props on Tuesday. There are some inducements to encourage bettors to take a stronger position on what they like.
The Steelers to win by 14 points is +260.
The book also produced an interesting moneyline and points combo. The Steelers to win and the game to finish under 38.5 is +360.
This may be played and could be interesting if the public that thinks this game will go under 49 takes hold of this prop. There are several other point levels at which to apply this formula.
Betting On Steelers’ Intangibles
How did they win, coming from 10-0 down at halftime against a very good Bills team? It happened in stages.
Despite the wealth of Pittsburgh wide receivers, the two most pivotal catches of the game came from tight ends. Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth made big receptions to jump-start drives that led to field goals.
The next surge came from the Pittsburgh defense, which stuffed the Bills on two fourth-down conversions, including a 4th-and-8.
Finally, they notched the game-winning score on a blocked punt that became a special-teams touchdown.
Pittsburgh’s history with the Raiders is a great one.
This is the rivalry that contains Franco Harris’ famed Immaculate Reception and legendary names like Chuck Noll, Mean Joe Green, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.
It was the Raiders whom the Steelers had to get through en route to three of their four Super Bowl titles from the 1970s. Yet the Raiders are one of only four AFC teams with a winning overall record against the Steelers, joining the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars.