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Panthers vs Steelers NFL Odds

The beauty of NFL betting is that a game like the Carolina Panthers versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is a clear blowout matchup on paper, still poses a unique challenge at sportsbooks.

A bet for the Pittsburgh Steelers isn’t always just a bet on their NFL odds to beat Carolina; it’s a bet against a huge, tricky spread.

Books like Bovada and many others have gone the aggressive route with the Steelers’ NFL odds, favoring them by a whopping 15 points at home over the Panthers. Anticipating a one-sided affair, most books, including Bovada, have the over/under at 37 points.

The Steelers suffered a tough loss at home to the Jets last week but, for the most part, they’ve played solid football of late, winning four of their last five games and beating the spread in three of those four victories. And the score prediction model here at Odds Shark points to a 25-7 victory for Pitt.

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Offensively, the Steelers have been a bit underwhelming, posting the league’s 19th-ranked unit on paper, but they’ve been a more dangerous scoring team since Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension. Big Ben has at least 246 passing yards in six straight games; he has eight touchdown passes versus six interceptions over that span.

His rapport with wideout Mike Wallace continues to grow; Wallace’s 19.8 yards per catch are second in the NFL only to DeSean Jackson’s 22.8. [ Matchup Stats ]

The Steelers are a prolific defensive team, third overall and amazing against the run (first with 63.4 yards allowed per game). But are they a bit soft against the pass? Pittsburgh is just 24th in the league with 228.4 passing yards allowed per contest. The Steelers also won't have their best defensive back, Troy Polamalu, back from his Achilles injury in time to face Carolina.

Luckily for the Steelers, the Panthers aren’t any threat to score through the air. Rookie pivot Jimmy Clausen is no Ben Roethlisberger; he has just two touchdown passes all season and hasn’t even hit 200 yards in a game.

Running back Jonathan Stewart has been on a tear for the Carolina Panthers, topping 130 rushing yards in back to back games, but he has a totally different challenge against Pittsburgh’s devastating front seven. [ Bet the Steelers to cover - 5Dimes ]

The NFL betting spread is pretty astronomical at 15 points, especially since Carolina is eighth in the NFL against the pass, but the Panthers are bad enough overall that Pittsburgh can cover. Carolina is 2-6 against the spread over its last eight games.

With the Panthers also fielding the league’s lowest-ranked offense, averaging a pathetic 266.1 total yards per game, they’ll be hard-pressed to move the ball on the road. For that reason, picking the UNDER on the over/under along with Pittsburgh’s NFL odds at -15 to win seems like a smart wagering strategy for Thursday night.