Brady Quinn will not be starting for the Kansas City Chiefs this Monday night. Maybe now the Chiefs can find a way into the end zone against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even once might be enough to eclipse that 42-point total.
Are you ready for some
incredibly ugly football? There’s something mesmerizing about watching two NFL
teams try to navigate their way through inclement conditions, like Roald
Amundsen and Robert Scott racing to reach the South Pole. Unfortunately for the
Chiefs, it looks like they’ll be playing the role of Scott on Monday Night Football.
At least they can put away the
dogsleds for now. Monday’s weather will be a little more tropical; the forecast
calls for a 25-percent chance of rain with temperatures in the mid-50s at game
time. Light winds are also expected, but any bit of wind at Heinz Field can be
problematic, especially for the kickers.
Nothing like lousy weather to
make people bet the UNDER. NFL odds makers had opened Monday night’s matchup with a total of 43, and after the sharps did their usual business betting the
OVER, the rest of the world started pounding the UNDER hard enough to drive the
total to 42.5 points, and now to 42 at books like Diamond and BetCRIS.
To read all of my thoughts on the opening lines for this game, please do check out my "Monday Night Football Picks: Chiefs vs. Steelers" article.
I remember when I was just a
young shaver in this business and I was told not to fear betting the UNDER with
a low total on the board. It’s true. But there has to be a very good reason –
actually, several good reasons – considering the OVER went 23-15 (60.5 percent)
in six NFL seasons’ worth of games with a total of 42.
Let’s start counting. We’ve
got the Chiefs, who bring the least efficient offense in the league to Heinz
Field. Kansas City has scored 16.6 points per game, ahead of just two other
teams (Arizona and Jacksonville). And this offense will be playing in
less-than-comfortable conditions at Heinz Field against the Steel Curtain
defense. Is that enough?
Not for me. First of all, the OVER is 5-3 for the Chiefs this year, and
that’s because they also have the No. 27-ranked defense in the league. Kansas
City has given up 30 points per game this year, more than everyone besides
Buffalo and Tennessee.
Second of all, that vaunted Pittsburgh defense hasn’t been quite as
steely as usual. Injuries have limited the Steelers to No. 19 in defensive
efficiency through Week 9; SS Troy Polamalu (calf) will not play this week and
is quite possibly being held out for a playoff run.
Despite the inefficiency, Pittsburgh has allowed 20.5 points per game
(No. 9 overall), low enough to make the UNDER 5-3 this year, including each of
the last three games. That’s partly because Pittsburgh hasn’t faced the
league’s top offenses – especially at home, where the Steelers have beaten the
Jets, Eagles and Redskins, all in the bottom half of the league in offensive
efficiency. All three of those games went UNDER.
The Magic Cassel
Why would this week be any different? Because of the awful Chiefs
defense, far worse than any of those other Heinz Field victims, and because 42
is the lowest total the Steelers have seen all season. The OVER is 3-1 for
Kansas City on the road this year, by the way.
Plus, my good buddy Matt Cassel is starting again for the Chiefs. If it
were Quinn (concussion), I might change my mind, but Cassel has been just good
enough to make the OVER 4-1 in his five complete games, compared to 1-2 anytime
Quinn sees action.
This could still turn into another low-scoring slopfest, but
Pittsburgh’s No. 10-ranked offense has enough firepower to cut deep into those
42 points. The best value for your NFL picks lies with this value bet.
My NFL Pick: OVER 42