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Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 Odds

Between 2005 and 2009, we saw two Super Bowls for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also two Super Bowl hangovers. Their underrated passing attack, led by Ben Roethlisberger, teamed with their elite, star-studded defense to win it all in 2008.

But a few freak injuries and close losses derailed Pittsburgh’s 2009 season and disappointed many bettors who hoped for a repeat. 2010 shapes up to be even more complicated for the Steelers. Roethlisberger is suspended for at least the first four games of the season and his primary target, Santonio Holmes, is now a New York Jet. Can the Steelers avoid starting their season in a hole?

Steelers Odds to win Division: +210 Steelers Regular Season Win Total: 8.5 (OV -125, UN -105) Steelers Super Bowl Odds: 20 to 1

BetUS.com gives Pittsburgh the third best odds to win its own division, behind Baltimore and Cincinnati. That should come as no surprise considering that the Ravens are a top Super Bowl contender and the Bengals won the AFC North last season, going undefeated against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense doesn’t project to be a problem at all. It’s still loaded with elite playmakers, especially at linebacker with James Harrison and at safety with Troy Polamalu, who hopes to be healthier in 2010. His absence significantly affected the Steelers’ odds last year; Pittsburgh went 4-1 with him and 5-6 without him. But will the Steelers’ offense bury them in the standings to start 2010?

Big Ben will miss at least four games and Pittsburgh has chosen creaky vet Byron Leftwich, not athletic young Dennis Dixon, to be its temporary starting quarterback. The Steelers already planned to feature Rashard Mendenhall and the running game much more prominently this season, but defenses will stack the box early on unless Pittsburgh learns to pass the ball without Big Ben. Betting over 8.5 wins on Pittsburgh is a risky proposition. Roethlisberger had a banner 2009, throwing for a career-best 4,328 yards. Can the Steelers really match their nine wins of a year ago if he misses a quarter of the season?

The Steelers’ schedule is reasonably tough. They battle Baltimore and Cincy twice each, not to mention the Saints, Jets, and Falcons. Betting on them in 2010 is a leap of faith; if you believe that their running game and defense can pick up the slack and bail out the passing attack, go for it.