Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds Preview
The changing of the guard in Pittsburgh continued during the offseason as the Steelers try to get back to the postseason. After finishing 8-8 last season the Steelers missed the playoffs for the second straight year for the first time in more than a decade.
There was some reason for optimism late in the year though; Pittsburgh got off to a miserable 0-4 start, but won six of their final eight games. And Ben Roethlisberger will once again lead the offense this season, but his supporting cast could look quite different.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds to Win AFC North: +190 at Bovada
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds to Win Super Bowl: 28/1 at Bovada
Pittsburgh Steelers Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 at Bovada
Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Props: Ben Roethlisberger to Win NFL MVP 50/1 at Bovada
Antonio Brown, who was second in the NFL with 1499 receiving yards last season, will be his go-to guy once again. Roethlisberger’s other options are new after Pittsburgh brought in Lance Moore and Darius Heyward-Bey to replace the departed Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.
Le’Veon Bell’s NFL career got off to a slow start last season after an injury forced him to miss the first three games of the season. He eventually found his stride though and rushed for a respectable 860 yards and eight touchdowns. He should carry the main load again this season, but could lose some touches to new acquisition LeGarrette Blount, who saved his career in New England last season.
For the longest time Pittsburgh’s calling card was their powerhouse defense. That wasn’t the case last year as the defense ranked a disappointing 13th overall after fielding the No. 1 defense the year before. That fall led to some turnover with Larry Foote, Ziggy Hood, Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley all sent packing.
The Steelers hope some of their young defenders can fill the void, with linebacker Jason Worilds topping the list. Pittsburgh surprised many by not addressing their aging secondary during the offseason. Troy Polamalu surprisingly stayed healthy enough to play in all 16 games last season for only the third time in the last eight years. He still can make plays, but at 33 years of age is entering the downside of his career.
AFC North Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +210
Baltimore Ravens +275
Cleveland Browns +500
The Pittsburgh Steelers were sensational on defense in 2012, and looked to be on their way to an AFC North title after getting off to a 6-3 SU start. But an injury to Ben Roethlisberger threw a wrench in those plans as the Steelers faded down the stretch.
The Pittsburgh Steelers brand is synonymous with great defense, and 2012 was no exception. The Steelers allowed just 90.6 rushing yards per game (second best in the NFL) and 185.2 passing yards per game (best in the NFL), adding up to an NFL-best 275.8 yards against per game. With Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau at the helm, there is no reason to expect that the Steelers won’t be elite on defense again in 2013. First round draft pick Jarvis Jones adds another weapon to the unit as well.
Will Roethlisberger stay healthy? Pittsburgh was 6-3 SU over its first nine games, but finished the season on a 2-5 SU and 2-4-1 ATS skid. Roethlisberger missed three games with a rib injury, and wasn’t the same when he did return. QB Landry Jones was drafted in the fourth round as insurance if Roethlisberger goes down again this season.
Pittsburgh’s rushing game was a major disappointment last season, averaging just 96.1 yards per game with a shockingly low eight rushing touchdowns on the season. Running back Leveon Bell was drafted in the second round to help remedy this situation, and will be called upon to make an immediate impact as a rookie. Fellow rookie WR Markus Wheaton will also be a big part of the offense this season with Mike Wallace departed to the Miami Dolphins.
When it comes to the Steelers, you know what you are going to get on defense. The question marks come on offense, where a rookie will be asked to rejuvenate the running game and Roethlisberger must stay healthy. Defense wins championships, so the offense doesn’t need to be great, it just needs to be solid.
AFC North Odds at Bovada as of July 26
Baltimore Ravens +190
Pittsburgh Steelers +190
Cincinnati Bengals +200
Cleveland Browns +700