Steelers vs. Titans Week 11 NFL Pick: Steelers -5 ATS

Jason Lake

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 9:20 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 9:20 PM UTC

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Steelers could score six touchdowns every game? Maybe then we’d feel more confident about their ability to beat the NFL odds this Monday when they face the Titans.

Jason’s record after Week 10: 28-39 ATS, 11-16-1 Totals

Profit: minus-37.63 units

That was a nice little 3-0 SU and ATS run the Pittsburgh Steelers went on there. Ben Roethlisberger was playing better than ever, dropping six TD passes on the Indianapolis Colts and another six on the Baltimore Ravens in back-to-back games. Those are two of the better teams in the league, too, not a couple of tomato cans.

Maybe Pittsburgh should play all its games against good teams. Last week, the Steelers came up dry against the New York Jets, losing 20-13 as 4.5-point road faves. Apparently the NFL betting market knew something was up to make the point spread that small. And we’re looking at a similar situation this week when the Steelers visit the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). The NFL odds opened at Pittsburgh –4 before moving to –5.5 and as high as –6 as we go to press.


The Bieber Curse
So what the heck happened against the Jets? Coach Mike Tomlin has the answer: turnover ratio. “There’s nothing mystical about the outcome of that football game,” Tomlin told reporters after watching his team commit four turnovers while getting none back from New York. However, the Steelers impeded their own cause by throwing mostly short passes against the Jets after lighting up the Colts and Ravens downfield.

Then you had the reappearance of Michael Vick. He was expected to step in at some point and provide an instant upgrade over Geno Smith, but Vick didn’t deliver – until very recently. He’s had two strong games now, including a pair of TD throws against Pittsburgh, so maybe we’ll have to re-evaluate what losing to New York means for the Steelers. Drat. We really wanted to blame Justin Bieber for this one.


Zach ˜ Geno
Perhaps someday we’ll be able to re-evaluate Zach Mettenberger and the Tennessee Titans as well. But for now, the sixth-rounder from LSU hasn’t done any better than Jake Locker did, and that’s with Mettenberger presumably at full health. Not that we should expect instant results, either, but we’re not betting on his future beyond this Monday.

Mettenberger’s present doesn’t look very rosy. After two starts, he has a passer rating of 79.3, which definitely compares favorably to Locker at 75.9. But it’s a different story when you bring efficiency into the picture. Locker has a minus-12.7 percent passing DVOA this year, which puts him in the same company as Austin Davis (minus-12.9). Mettenberger’s minus-30.3 percent passing DVOA is a shade better than… guess who, Geno Smith at minus-32.1.


Aspiring to Mediocrity
So what do the Titans do well? Let’s see… they’re not too bad at coming up and meeting tailbacks when they catch the ball in the flat. And they’re No. 8 in the league in adjusted sack rate at 7.6 percent. Inside LB Avery Williamson and CB Jason McCourty are very good at what they do. Tennessee also has a quality punter in Brett Kern (41.0 net yards), who was a Ray Guy Award finalist coming out of Toledo in 2007.

That’s about it as far as the football game itself is concerned. Tennessee will also have some value this week as a regional team with not much of a following, but in our view, that pales in comparison to the talent gap between the two clubs. For now, we feel comfortable adding the Steelers to our NFL Picks; just don’t bet the farm on them – this could be an average team in the end. Their 0.0 SRS after 10 games suggests as much.


The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: EVEN
Defense/Special Teams: PIT
Coaching: PIT
Market Bias: TEN
Betting Line Value: EVEN

Verdict: 1-star pick on PIT

Free NFL Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Steelers –5.5 (–107) at The Greek

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