NFL Picks: Bryant's Return Suggests Betting Cardinals & Steelers to Go 'Over' 45

Jason Lake

Saturday, October 17, 2015 11:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015 11:18 PM UTC

Martavis Bryant, Take 2: The Pittsburgh Steelers should have their wideout back for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, making the OVER a promising NFL pick.

Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 16: 18-12 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 12-19 Total
So WR Martavis Bryant did not, in fact, make his season debut for the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. And the Steelers did not go OVER 45.5 in their 24-20 overtime victory against the San Diego Chargers. Shall we try this again? Bryant is supposed to play this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) at home against the Arizona Cardinals, who have the OVER at 5-0 this year after plowing through nearly everything in their path.

Sounds like a plan. There's a total of 44.5 points on the NFL odds board at press time, and our consensus reports show 98 percent of bettors hammering the OVER. Sure looks tempting. Maybe too tempting. Let's check the area for land mines before we go much further. Weather report? About a 20-percent chance of rain at kick-off with some light crosswinds over Heinz Field. Not great, but not a deal-breaker.


Rice Is Nice (But It's Just a Grain)
How about special teams? Pittsburgh is on its fourth place-kicker this year: Chris Boswell, who played soccer in high school (and Brazil before that) before going to Rice. Boswell made his debut with the Steelers last week, going 1-for-1 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points. Well done. But can you handle the swirling winds at Heinz Field, Meester Boswell?

So we've got a small chance of rain and an unknown chance of hitting that damned left upright again. Okay, punch our ticket for the OVER. Once again, we're encouraged that Bryant will help the Steelers get their offense in gear. They've already got the ground game up to speed with RB Le’Veon Bell going over 5.0 yards per carry in back-to-back contests. Now it's just a question of giving QB Michael Vick more targets to throw at. Bryant (26 catches, eight TDs last year) fits the bill.


Really, though, it's the Cardinals who are compelling us to put the OVER in our NFL picks. The overarching narrative with this matchup is the return of Cards coach Bruce Arians to Pittsburgh, where he was offensive co-ordinator from 2007 to 2011. The Steelers didn't renew Arians' contract. Whoops. That makes this a revenge game for the Arizona Cardinals.

Arians isn't cutting any corners. He had the Cardinals stay at a resort in West Virginia this week, therefore avoiding the dreaded “West Coast teams playing early on the East Coast” syndrome. And on Sunday, his No. 3-ranked offense (No. 3 pass, No. 8 rush) will collide with a Steelers defense that ranks No. 15 overall (No. 18 pass, No. 5 rush), with some serious concerns in the secondary. It gets better: Safety Will Allen (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday, as has LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder). CB Cortez Allen (knee) and LB Jarvis Jones (hip) are questionable. We'll buy that for a dollar.

NFL Picks: Take OVER 45 (–108) at Pinnacle

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