Big Ben to Pick Apart Jags D: Steelers -6.5 for NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 12:26 PM GMT

Pittsburgh Steelers descend on the winless Jacksonville Jaguars as the mere 6.5-point favourites. Consider the Jaguars are enjoying an average 24-point margin of defeat through 4 weeks of NFL betting, backing the Steelers on your NFL picks surely is money in the bank.

Steelers Stunned By Winless Buccaneers In Week 4
It’s been a so-so start for the Pittsburgh Steelers on the 2014 NFL season. Opening on an unapologetic 30-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns at home, the Steelers then descended on the Ravens in week 2, only to stutter to a 26-6 defeat as the 3-point underdogs. Fortunately, they bounced back with an impressive 37-19 win on the road at the expense of the Carolina Panthers in week 3, a side touted for its stout defense. And just as it looked like they would extend their winning form to two in a row with a win over the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 4 as the 7-point chalk, the wheels came well and truly undone. Steelers missed countless opportunities while up 24-20 late in the fourth quarter to deliver the coup de grace, only to be left wondering how Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers managed to pull off a clinical, game-winning drive in the dying seconds of the game to snatch the improbable 27-24 victory.

Steelers are 1-3 ATS this season; this is their first instance of favouritism on the road this season. The last couple of seasons, the Steelers have enjoyed few occasions as the road favourites, but when they have been they've gone 3-4 ATS (since 2012) and 2-1 ATS last season.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars’ Failure To Launch
Jacksonville Jaguars have been outclassed, outplayed, outmuscled and outscored through four weeks of NFL betting. If this were a soccer league, they'd be at the head of the relegation queue, destined for lower league ignominy. As it stands, American football is a bit more forgiving in the face of such incompetence – call it a small blessing.

Jaguars are both 0-4 SU and ATS after four rounds. Most concerning: they've been outscored 149-58 and they are averaging 14.5 points per game – only the Oakland Raiders are averaging less 12.8. They hover at the bottom of the league charts in almost every single category, although sadly that’s not a new nadir for the Jaguars who last scratched the .500 mark in 2010.

Some allowances have to be made for the Jaguars being in rebuild mode this season, now turning to top draft pick rookie Blake Bortles to ignite their near non-existent offense. Bortles got a few drives going for the Jaguars in San Diego last weekend, going 29-of-37 for 253 yards and a touchdown. He even managed to lift the Jaguars to a brief lead before Philip Rivers’ experience proved deciding as he staged the Chargers comeback to win 33-14.

 

Steelers vs. Jaguars Betting Tips and Picks
Blake Bortles is a step up from Chad Henne and he showed promise late against the Colts in week 3 and early against the Chargers in week 4 NFL betting. That promise correlates to a wildly optimistic spread on the game before us, where the Jaguars are installed as just the 6.5-point pups and over-under betting is set to 46.5 points on the NFL odds board. Fact is the Jaguars’ defense is more porous than a sieve against both the pass and the run. Opposition is scoring with abandon against them, leaving us with the impression of an inept Jaguars side that simply can't compete at the arduous and gruelling pace set by the rest of the field, let alone appear a sound NFL pick to cover a generously favourable spread.   

Ben Roethlisberger is as graceful and nimble as a tank rolling down the field. He doesn’t make the game look pretty or attractive; and if we're to nitpick, he looks to have ballooned during the offseason. Last week, he missed several costly opportunities to put the Bucs out of their misery. But it wasn't all down to him. Laundry rained down perpetually on the Steelers et al and defense didn't hold its end of the bargain. You can bet the Steelers will be looking to save face in this game – to lose to two of the worst outfits statistically in the NFL this season, in back-to-back games no less, would be a huge embarrassment.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
Given the fact that the Jaguars have been outscored 149-58 and are only averaging 14.5 points per game right now, a 6.5-point spread for a Steelers offense that ranks 8th in passing yards (268.3 yards per game) and 4th in rushing (143.8 yards per game) appears to be easy pickings. Steelers’ defense isn't exactly the soundest, which could give Blake Bortles and the Jaguars’ O-line some wiggle room on offense. However, Jaguars’ defense, which is as stout as a cupcake, is going to be hard-pressed to budge drop-back passer Roethelisberger.

NFL Picks: Steelers at -6.5 (-110) at The Greek

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