Football picksJuly 8, 2021

Betting the Steelers: Is it Big Ben’s Last Season?

The Steelers started the 2020 campaign on an 11-0 winning streak, and looked like one of the teams to beat to get to the Super Bowl. After beating division rival Baltimore Ravens in Week 12, the Steelers had the playoff right at their doorstep. Due to an inability to run the ball and both receivers and tight-ends dropping passes, Pittsburg dropped four of their next five games including a loss to the Browns, who would knock them out of the playoffs in the first round. With essentially the same squad as last year, will this season’s Steelers make the postseason? 

Big-Ben-Steelers

In 2020 Big Ben threw for 3,808 yards for 33 TD’s on 65.6% passing

Betting the Steelers: Boom or Bust

It’s safe to say 2020 was a rollercoaster for Steeler fans, starting off 11-0 to finish with a playoff loss to division rival Browns. There are a lot of questions entering camp this year, from Big Ben’s health (a year older + only played nine out of the 15 games last season), a void at the running back spot, and the drama of the locker room that went down. 

The Steelers have a proud football franchise, hoisting six Lombardi Trophies in their 88-year history. With an aging quarterback and what could be a disastrous O-line, 2021 could be a rough year for Steeler fans. Pittsburg treated the 2021 draft like they just needed to fill a few spots to win a Super Bowl, but this could of take them closer to a total rebuild than the Lombardi.  

It’s not about what you’re capable of, It’s about what you’re willing to do.

Mike Tomlin

Odds for betting the Steelers to win Super Bowl 56 are now listed at +4500 with online sports books. The Steelers have the highest strength of schedule in the league, and end their season with four top-10 opponents. Their schedule will do them no favors, and the fallout from the end of last season could linger on. The sports books seem to be taking this factor into its odds.

Big Ben if healthy he can put up good numbers (2020 was his 3rd best season statistically) and keep the offense in rhythm. With Juju Smith-Schuster taking over the #1 wide-receiver role last season, it took him a few games to adjust to his new role. Additions of Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson helped add depth the the Steelers wideout room. The Steelers also added Alabama rookie running back Najee Harris to help fill the void of James Conner’s exit. 

Defense should be just as solid as it was last year, which ranks 3rd overall last season. Traditionally, Pittsburg have always had a dominate defense and this season looks to be no different. Led by T.J Watt and Devin Bush, who are both looking to go All-Pro this season, this Steelers D brings back a good amount of talent. Can the defense repeat it’s 27 takeaways (2nd best in NFL) or will they see the field to often because of the offense?

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Pittsburgh Steelers Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff.

For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

  • 2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 8.5 UNDER -140
  • Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 8.5 UNDER -110
  • 2020 Record: 12-4
  • Average Wins 2018-20: 9.67 (so about 10 wins)
  • Odds to win the Division: +400 (finish 3rd place)
  • Net Strength of Schedule: 2nd toughest schedule 

Looks like Pittsburgh (+400) lands 3rd in AFC North Title talks, behind the Ravens (+125) and the Browns (+145). The Win Total Over seems to be a consensus play in the preseason but if the Steelers start off on the wrong foot that number could change drastically. 

Remember, it’s a 18-Week regular season starting this year 

The Steelers schedule won’t do them any favors, along with playing in a tough AFC North. They open the season with a trip to the AFC East champion Bills (Week 1) and have road visits to Green Bay (Week 4), LA Chargers (Week 11), and Kansas City (Week 16). The Steelers also host the Seahawks (Week 6) and the Titans (Week 15) which could both be tough games. 

Pittsburgh were 10-6 (62.5%) ATS last season going 7-7-2 on the Over/Under

Week 8 is the first Steelers-Browns matchup with the teams meeting again in Week 17. They play the hated Baltimore Ravens in Week 13 and a season final Week 18 game which could decide a lot of the playoff picture. Pittsburgh is set to take on the Bengals Week 3 and Week 12 to round out their divisional opponents. 

Pittsburgh Steelers Trends

Heinz Field has been a tough place for teams to get a win, with the Steelers going 35-13 at home since 2015.

  • The Steelers are 1-6 OU (-7.36 ppg) since Oct 01, 2015 as a home dog
  • The Steelers are 12-4-3 ATS (4.84 ppg) since Sep 24, 2000 as a home dog.

Head coach Mike Tomlin has been at the helm since 2007 and during that time the Steelers are 145–78–1 SU (.650)

  • Tomlin is 36-22 ATS (+11.8 Units) in the role of underdog.
  • Since 2010 when the Steelers are playing at home after the bye week they have hit the Over 4-2

Steelers Bottom Line

The question this season will be the play of the O-line and offensive rhythm. The Steelers will have to limit the turnovers in 2021, finishing with a +9 thanks to the defense. The defense should have a similar season to their 2020 run, but will it be enough to navigate their tough schedule? The Steelers were ranked first in DVOA last season where they were very good against the pass.

For more off-season news like contracts and training camp cuts, check out Pro Football Focus.

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