Handicap: Steelers -3.5 – Evens
You’d give up a bit of the even money price for half a point here, but the Steelers looked in flinty form at Baltimore last week and, on balance, they should be able to cover here.
That divisional match up is usually an attritional affair, and the Ravens managed to make it look more respectable on the scoreboard than it was with Alex Collins’s third quarter TD, but this wasn’t much of a contest in the first half and Pittsburgh held off their flocking opponents handily in the end.
Now, they’re back home and taking on one of the hottest teams in the league, the Carolina Panthers. They’ve won their last three, and Cam Newton is playing at a level reminiscent of his 2015 MVP campaign.
They’ve romped over their last two opponents since their fourth quarter comeback win over the Eagles, but neither Tampa or Baltimore look like the toughest of tests.
Pittsburgh, with their defence improved, James Conner ably filling in for Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown making plays for Ben Roethlisberger, are a much bigger hurdle.
Factor in the Thursday night shortening the Panthers’ week, and the travel involved, and this looks a favourable spot for the home team.
#WhatOddsPaddy – Ben Roethlisberger to throw a TD in each half – 10/11
The Steelers QB is going through his usual am-dram performance for the season, but this really, really could be his last season, and he’ll fancy joining the select club of three Super Bowl ring quarterbacks.
Despite the increasing aches and pains, he’s hit multiple TD passes in five of their eight games and the Panthers defence has allowed on average over two passing TDs per game this season, and that includes eight in the last three games.
Big Ben will fancy his chances of matching that pace tonight in primetime.
#WhatOddsPaddy – Christian McCaffrey & James Conner to both score TDs – 11/5
These are the chief running threats in these two teams, and both can make plays as receivers too, so they should get the opportunity to bring this #WhatOddsPaddy request home.
Conner has nine touchdowns through eight games and has burst open defences for treble-figure yardage totals as the Steelers make everyone ask “Le’Veon who?” Their absent star should be back around the team next week, otherwise the season won’t count on his contract and that’ll cause big issues come the offseason.
McCaffrey has toughened up from his rookie year and has exploded into action in recent weeks, picking up four touchdowns as the Panthers bared their claws against inferior opposition.
If this is the offensive tussle the total points line of 51.5 suggests it will be, these two guys will be central in it, and can both pick up scores.
*All odds correct at time of posting