NFL Week 7 Picks - New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers players on field

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 20, 2016 4:24 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Steelers won't have Ben Roethlisberger, but that only makes them a more valuable NFL pick for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

 

Record: 12-7-1 ATS, 4-7 Totals

Finally, all the science is in on Sunday's matchup (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the visiting New England Patriots. The Steelers have confirmed that QB Ben Roethlisberger is out with a torn meniscus; he could miss the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on Monday. And our expanded consensus report now has enough data to confirm the Patriots as the more popular NFL week 7 pick, drawing 75 percent of the action on this game from 71 percent of the betting population.

Excellent. We've already recommended the Steelers as a contrarian pick at +7.5 on the NFL odds board, and that price is still available at press time – you can even find Pittsburgh at +8 if you're willing to pay a premium in vigorish. We wouldn't go that far here at the ranch (not for more than five cents of vig), but we're definitely pleased with how the betting patterns look for this contest.
 

Heavy Betting

They say early money is sharp money, and it definitely was if you managed to grab the Patriots at –2, before Roethlisbger hurt his knee in last week's 30-15 loss to the Miami Dolphins (+7.5 at home). However, in this day of instant internet everything, we're more inclined to put our trust in the big money. And our expanded report shows neither of these two teams drawing the attention of high rollers. New England's average bet size at press time is just $73, with Pittsburgh not far behind at $59.

It all depends on the size of your bankroll, but these seem like reasonably small wagers on either side. The Steelers (4-2 SU and ATS) are pretty much an auto-bet if you're going to take the contrarian approach, but the Patriots (5-1 SU and ATS) have been printing money ever since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady signed their names in blood. Conversely, there's no need to bet the farm on New England with the point spread above the magic number seven.

That goes double with Landry Jones replacing Roethlisberger at quarterback. How much of a drop-off can we expect from the Steelers in this situation? It's difficult to quantify, but it's much easier to anticipate the betting public over-reacting to Big Ben's absence. Plus, Jones did provide a league-average performance last year in a relief role, according to the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders. Let's roll with it.

 

Free NFL Pick: Pittsburgh +7.5Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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