Whether Super Bowl MVP plays or not will have a obvious impact on the outlook of this matchup. The question of when is a good time for betting on this game comes down to which side you think will win.
How Has The Betting Line Moved?
Open: New England -7
Current: New England -3
The New England Patriots opened as seven-point home favorites for their Week 1 date with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s no surprise that the line has shifted so dramatically since then. The Patriots have been reduced to three-point favorites but the betting line for that opening Thursday night remains the most likely to move based on one important factor. Tom Brady and the NFLPA have continued to fight his four-game suspension in federal court and with no signs a settlement will be reached between the two sides it’s still very unclear how the situation will play out.
3 Key Storylines
Deflategate Outcome: A decision on the Deflategate outcome is expected to come this week and while the most likely scenario has Brady missing the opener it’s hard to be confident in the NFL’s position. Brady is a four-time Super Bowl champion who is coming off a dominant performance against the league’s best defense on the game’s biggest stage and he will have plenty of motivation when he plays this season. Whether or not Brady plays in this game will have a huge impact on the NFL betting odds and should have a big impact on the outcome of this game.
The Steelers Passing Game: One thing that we know for sure right now is that as long as the Pittsburgh offense stays healthy they should be in for a very productive season with all of the pieces in place to be an elite offense. Running back Le’Veon Bell will miss the first couple of weeks due to suspension but the passing game is absolutely loaded with Ben Roethlisberger under center and a deep receiving core led by Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and tight end Heath Miller. Combine the strength of the Steelers’ passing attack with the fact the Patriots lost their top two cornerbacks from last season in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and failed to replace them and you have the perfect recipe for a massive game from the Pittsburgh passing game.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Progress: Garoppolo impressed last preseason but he didn’t look nearly as good when called upon in relief during the regular season and he got off to a rough start this preseason when the Green Bay Packers held him to 159 passing yards and an interception while sacking him seven times. Garoppolo’s stat line wasn’t entirely his fault playing behind a backup offensive line but there are obvious concerns about how he will perform if he is called upon as New England’s Week 1 starter. It’s definitely worth keeping a close eye on him this preseason and in particular if his performance impacts the way the Week 1 showdown between the Steelers and Patriots is handicapped by the NFL betting experts.
Bet Early or Bet Later… And What’s The Play?
The decision of whether to bet on this game now or wait is as simple as which team you think will win. If you think the Patriots will win regardless of whether Brady plays in this game or not it only makes sense to bet on it now especially if you can find a book where New England has been reduced to a 2.5-point favorite. However, if you think that the Steelers will win this game then it might make sense to wait it out as they are unlikely to fall below 2.5-point underdogs but could get even more points in their favor if Brady is able to play. Garoppolo’s preseason form could also play in to this line moving one way or another this preseason so it will be important to pay attention to that storyline. We like Pittsburgh at +3 on the road in Week 1 so while we are comfortable making that NFL pick now we might wait a little longer to see if we can find them at +3.5 before Week 1.
NFL Pick: Pittsburgh +3 at Pinnacle