Defending AFC North champion Pittsburgh begins life without Ben Roethlisberger Thursday night vs. arch-rival Baltimore. Let's examine some Steelers NFL player props from Bovada.
Has Roethlisberger's strained MCL in his knee affected Pittsburgh's futures NFL odds? A bit. Unbeaten Cincinnati, which has to be loving its position in the division now with Big Ben out at least a month and the Ravens at 0-3, is the -200 favorite in the North. Pittsburgh is the +260 second-favorite. To win the AFC, the Steelers have dropped to +1400. If Roethlisberger misses only four games and the Steelers can go 2-2 then they should be OK for at least a wild-card spot. But 1-3 or worse and it's trouble. Ditto if Roethlisberger misses more than four games. I guarantee you that Big Ben is targeting a return on Nov. 1 at home against those Bengals. The problem is that Pittsburgh plays four good teams before that: this game, Week 5 at San Diego, Week 6 vs. Arizona and Week 7 at Kansas City.
Michael Vick 'Over/Under' 19.5 Completions, 229.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes, .5 INTs, 34.5 Rushing Yards
I can give you Vick's all-time stats and they look solid: He is 59-51-1 as a starter in his career. In 13 seasons, he has passed for 22,131 yards and accounted for 167 total touchdowns (131 passing, 36 rushing). Vick’s 6,005 rushing yards are the most all-time by a quarterback. Yeah, OK. He's also just 6-13 in his past 19 as a starter and was one of the NFL's lowest-rated QBs while with the Jets last year, although he didn't play a ton as Geno Smith's backup. And the Jets obviously don't have the offensive weapons that the Steelers do. But expect turnovers from Vick. Since 2009, when Vick returned to the NFL with the Eagles, he is among the NFL's turnover leaders. The NFL leader in pass attempts per interception or fumble is former Jets quarterback and current Eagles No. 2 Mark Sanchez. He averages only 16.74 attempts per turnover (130 in 2,176). Chicago's Jay Cutler is No. 2 at 18.34 (147 turnovers in 2,696 attempts). And Vick is there at No. 3 at 18.53 (77 turnovers in 1,427 attempts). In 2013 with the Eagles and 2014 with the Jets, Vick attempted 262 passes and was intercepted or fumbled a total of 14 times. By comparison, Tom Brady has turned it over on average on just 40.9 attempts since 2009. The Ravens are ranked No. 29 in pass defense, allowing 291.0 yards per game. They have allowed six TD passes and picked off three. Baltimore has faced Denver's Peyton Manning, Oakland's Derek Carr and Cincinnati's Andy Dalton thus far in 2015.
NFL Free Picks: 'UNDER' all except picks. The Steelers likely will have a fairly conservative game plan for Vick on the short-week turnaround. And he's pretty old these days and doesn't run much -- the team can't afford for him to get hurt while running.
Le'Veon Bell O/U 80.5 Rushing Yards, 4.5 Receptions, 39.5 Receiving Yards
While I think the statistics of perhaps the NFL's best receiver, Antonio Brown, will suffer fairly drastically with Roethlisberger out, I think Bell's stats will improve even though teams obviously may gear more toward stopping the run because they aren't afraid of Vick beating them. Bell made his season debut last week against St. Louis off a two-game suspension and had 19 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown while catching seven passes for 70 yards. The Steelers utilized Bell as a receiver early in the game and then relied on his running late. Baltimore has a good run defense as usual, allowing only 3.4 yards per carry, which is No. 4 in the NFL. It hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Green Bay's Eddie Lacy had 120 in Week 6 of the 2013 season. That's 29 games. In Week 2 last year, Bell had 11 carries for 59 yards vs. Baltimore. In Week 9, he had 10 carries for 20 yards. He missed the playoff game.
NFL Free Picks: 'UNDER' Rushing yards but way 'OVER' the receptions and receiving yards.