The Steelers lost three of their last four games and five of their last seven SU, to finish 8-8 SU for the season and out of the playoffs. After they had to watch their arch-rival win the ultimate prize, will the Pittsburgh Steelers be motivated and prepared enough to win back the division from the Ravens? LVH Sportsbook in Las Vegas has the Steelers sitting at 9 wins this season, with the over priced at -120, and the under at even money.
Unlike Baltimore, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a much easier strength of schedule heading into the 2013 season. Pittsburgh ranks 22nd in strength of schedule this season according to their opponents’ 2012 win percentage, but after injuries derailed them last season, will they have enough this season to win a still very tough AFC North division? After a Week 1 game against the Titans, Pittsburgh has three pretty tough games
in a row. They have to play on the road in Cincinnati in Week 2, at home against the Bears in Week 3, and then again on the road at Minnesota during Week 4. Pittsburgh’s season win total really depends on these first four games; if they are not above .500 by the time their bye week comes in Week 5, they will have a tough time reaching the 9-win mark.
For their first matchup of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers come in favored at -7 against the Titans in Week 1, with a total of 43.5 points. Even though the Steelers will almost certainly win this game, seven points against a very improved Titans team seems a little high. Tennessee was one of the worst road teams ATS last season in the NFL and might be undervalued because of it this season as they open up on the road in Pittsburgh. The Steelers lost Mike Wallace in the offseason, which of course is going to put an incredible dent on to their vertical passing game. They are very high on their rookie running back, LeVeon Bell, but against a very improved Titans rushing defense, it's not the ideal matchup you want for your rookie running back in his first professional game.
The Sharp Pick
Much like their divisional rival and the defending Super Bowl champion the Ravens, I think the Steelers are just slightly overvalued here in the season wins NFL future odds. Health has always been an extremely big factor with this team, and we saw it disrupt them just a season ago.
Not only am I worried about the health of their aging defense, but also Big Ben isn’t getting any younger and, after offseason surgery on his knee, I am more concerned. Even if the Steelers go 2-2 SU before their bye, winning eight of their last 12 to cash an over bet would be farfetched. The value for your NFL picks is once again with the under, because even if they go 9-7 SU we get a push. I see another 8-8 SU season for the Steelers.
My Pick: UNDER 9 +100
Week 1 Lean: Titans +7 at Bet365.com