Expect Apathy In Steelers-Panthers Game on Thursday, Good For Under

Joe Webb

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 8:12 PM GMT

With the regular season looming, week 4 of the NFL preseason seems to be just a final tune-up that will be met with apathy by these teams. The Under seems like a good NFL pick by our expert capper.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Carolina Panthers
The Pittsburgh Steelers head to Carolina and Bank of America Stadium on Thursday night to play Cam Newton and the NFC-champion Panthers in Preseason Week 4, and with Injuries, Suspensions and Regular Season Week 1 in mind, expect a very tentative and cautious effort from both sides here. So is this good for the Under here? Let’s look at all the particulars and make a pick in a week where those already on the Roster will see limited action while those still trying to make the cut will be going all out in always one of the weirdest handicapping weeks of the NFL season—quirky Preseason Week 4.

 

Odds Preview
The Pittsburgh Steelers head south to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte to face the Panthers in Preseason Week 4, the last week before the NFL Regular Season kicks off on Sept. 8. Offshore sportsbooks on Monday morning have opened up the Panthers 3½ to 4-point favorites with the Total opening up at 39 - 39½. The Money Line odds see Carolina priced at -196 with Pittsburgh priced at +174 on the takeback.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Head Coach Mike Tomlin have gone 1-2 SU and 1-2 ATS this Preseason, losing their first two games at Home. In Preseason Week 3, Pittsburgh finally went on the Road and beat the New Orleans Saints, 27-14 in the Superdome as QB Ben Roethlisberger led the Black and Gold to 2 TDs and 148 yards in their first 2 drives and the Defense played a solid game again to help the team get a W and some needed Momentum with some Injuries and suspensions looming. And maybe more important than the performance of Big Ben was that of backup QB Landry Jones who went 19-for-22 for 206 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh had a tempered running game against New Orleans. The Steelers' Defense played a second straight solid game, good for Under backers.

 

Carolina Panthers
The defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers are also 1-2 SU and 1-2 ATS this Preseason heading into this final Week 4. In Preseason Week 3, the Panthers hosted Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and lost, 19-17, failing to cover as 3-point chalks (44½). In the Loss to the Patriots on Friday night, Panthers QB Newton has some burps, going 13-for-29 for just 100 yards and throwing 2 Interceptions. At least Carolina backup QBs Joe Webb (6-17, 124 yards, 2 TDs) and Derek Anderson (5/9, 37 yards, INT) had to make Rivera feel better off than most Head Coaches in the NFL about his Depth at the position.

 

Team and Totals Trends, Tentative Preseason Week 4 Approach
Expect both Head Coaches to tread very lightly and expose their main QBs to minimal amounts of Playing Time and potential hits on the gridiron on Thursday. Seeing a guy like Newton or Big Ben get hurt in Preseason Week 4 would be catastrophic and after seeing what happened to the Dallas Cowboys with their starting QB Tony Romo this weekend, expect maximum precaution from both Tomlin and Rivera. They don’t sell backup NFL QBs at Walgreen’s.

The last time these two teams played was in this same exact game last year—Preseason Week 4—where the Panthers rolled to an easy 23-6 win in Pittsburgh (CAR -1) as the Steelers played it very light having to deal with a rash of Injuries, looming Suspensions, lackluster play and a quick turnaround with a (then) NFL Regular Season opener against the Patriots on that Thursday night, so either that contest is a worthless barometer or exactly the same exact scenario here in a different stadium, depending on your prerogative. You decide. The Steelers probably won’t want to end on a sour note but would probably prefer a sour note compared to any additional problems. So, expect cautiousness to rule here in the Tar Heel State and throughout in NFL Preseason Week 4, the week sort of like a wedding rehearsal in that everyone pretends to care about it but they really don’t. You get it. NFL Preseason Week 4 is most important to those last names on the Roster that either end up making or not making the final cut.

Some Trends for this one: Mike Tomlin is an impressive 6-3 SU in Week 4 of the Preseason and now 17-22-1 ATS overall in Preseason with a 16-23-0 Totals mark with two of three Unders so far this Preseason. The Panthers-Steelers meeting last Preseason (23-6) did go Under the posted Total (40). Carolina Head Coach Ron Rivera is 3-2 SU in Preseason Week 4. In the Regular Season, Pittsburgh is 6-0 ATS the L6 vs. Carolina with the Over 5-1 ATS the L6 meetings but best to throw those Trends out as this is the Preseason and Week 4 of it nonetheless where Apathy and Caution will rule supreme, especially for a team like Pittsburgh with a shaky old (34 years) QB like Ben Roethlisberger, a potential looming Suspension to RB Bell and that aforementioned Injury to WR Bryant. 

Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS in its L5 games in September, 3-1 ATS in its L4 games on Grass and 7-3-2 ATS in its L12 Road games. Carolina is 7-1 ATS in its L8 games on Grass (Bank of America Stadium), 19-7-1 ATS its L27 Home games and the Panthers are 11-5 ATS in their L16 overall. And with so much worry in the air and two very valuable QBs, the desire to win here will likely be overridden with the desire to be safe with the Regular Season almost a week away, making the Under the strongest recommendation with maybe the hosts on the Money Line for a lesser amount also worth some consideration in this very delicate gambling spot.

 

Predicted Final Score: Panthers 19 Steelers 17
Free NFL Pick: Under 39 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

NFL PRESEASON PICKS RECORD SEASON TO DATE: 5-5-0

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