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Healthy Steelers Set to Take Off in 2016

Year in and year out, the Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to be in the thick of things as NFL contenders. Expect more of the same in Pennsylvania in 2016.

When it comes to gauging the Steelers’ success, Bovada lists them as the third-most likely team to win the Super Bowl, tied with the NFC champion Carolina Panthers. The Steelers’ offense boasts arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the game in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger is as steady as they come under center.

With the rash of injuries this squad suffered through in 2015, it’s amazing they even made it as far as they did (losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in the divisional round). With a healthy roster hungry for another deep playoff run, the Steelers could be in line to have a huge campaign.

Here’s a look at their odds for this season:

Super Bowl +1000

When placing a Super Bowl futures bet, it’s generally good practice to back teams who have been there before. Pittsburgh hasn’t been in the big game since 2011, but this is the best team they’ve assembled since. The only thing standing in their way could be if the injury bug hits again, and you can never rule that out with this team. Regardless, I like the +1000 price an awful lot.

AFC Champion +500

Outside of Pittsburgh, the other top AFC contenders all have some warts. New England (Tom Brady’s suspension), Indianapolis (Did you see them in 2015?), Cincinnati (perennial first-round chokers) and Denver (quarterback uncertainty) are far from locks at this point. If you’re confident, take the +500 price and run with it.

AFC North +120

One of the tightest divisions in the NFL, the AFC North is going to once again be a dogfight in 2016. The Steelers have won the division just twice since 2010, but don’t let that fact deter you. The Bengals are a fantastic regular season team with a poor playoff record, while the Ravens have a lot of work to do to bounce back from a brutal season. Based on sheer talent alone, Pittsburgh shouldn’t have a problem, but you never know what’s going to happen in the AFC North.

Win Total 10.5

10.5 seems about right. Pittsburgh went 11-5 in 2014 and 10-6 in 2015, and if injuries weren’t a factor last year 12 wins wouldn’t have been out of the question. I don’t think this squad is going to regress in any facet of the game, so the OVER is appealing to me.

Roethlisberger (+900) for MVP

I really wanted to go Antonio Brown at +6600 here, but the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award hasn’t been kind to wide receivers. Jerry Rice, a three-time winner, is the only wideout to ever garner the hardware. Big Ben has never been crowned MVP, but he’s also never had the array of weapons he does now. Again, health is going to be key, but there’s a reason he has better odds than 2015 MVP Cam Newton. This guy can flat out play.

2016 Pittsburgh Steelers Futures Odds
MarketOdds
Super Bowl+1000
AFC Championship+500
AFC North+120
Win Totals10.5

Odds as of September 7 at Bovada

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