NFL Football Betting: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

It’s no surprise to see the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots as a sizable favorite per the NFL betting odds. New England has remained static at -6 since the line opened months ago, but the juice has moved in favor of Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
LINE: PATRIOTS -6 +100
TOTAL: 49

The total has dropped a substantial amount. Initially, the over/under in this game was 51.5 according to the football betting line, but it has fallen 2.5 points to where it currently sits.

INJURY REPORT

New England will be without two players that were supposed to play key roles for significant chunks of the season. Starting center David Andrews is out for the entire year because of blood clots in his lungs, and first round pick WR N’Keal Harry will miss at least the first six weeks because of an ankle injury.

Additionally, OT Yodny Cajuste will miss this game and S Obi Melifonwu, TE Matt LaCosse, and WR Demaryius Thomas are considered questionable.

In comparison, Pittsburgh has just one player on its injury report. Safety Sean Davis is listed as doubtful due to an ankle injury.

WHEN NEW ENGLAND IS ON OFFENSE

Tom Brady has repeatedly said he wants to play until he’s 45, and while he isn’t is sharp as he once was, the GOAT is still an elite quarterback at the age of 42. Brady was reliable as ever last season even though he only had one reliable receiver, so he could be even better this year with a wide receiver corps that is much improved.

Julian Edelman will be Brady’s primary target once again. Edelman caught seven passes for 90 yards against Pittsburgh last season, and he is likely to be the team’s leading receiver once again on Sunday night. He is likely to finish over his receiving yards total per NFL player props betting odds.

He isn’t the only weapon this time though. Josh Gordon is back after being cleared to return to action, and UDFA Jakobi Meyers has been the talk of New England after an impressive performance in training camp. However, there is the question of how big of a role the tight ends will play since the reliable Rob Gronkowski has retired.

Sony Michel wore down noticeably at the tail end of last year, but he will be ready to go for the season opener. He is the Pats’ X-Factor in this game because if he has success running the ball on Pittsburgh, Brady is going to pick apart the Steelers when they come up to start the run.

The Steelers don’t have a great secondary, so that could be a major problem, especially since Davis is doubtful. Joe Haden is no longer a lockdown corner, and the other cornerbacks aren’t good enough to play too much man-to-man. Terrell Edmunds will be the key here as the second-year safety has a lot of raw talent, but his instincts weren’t all there as a rookie.

WHEN PITTSBURGH IS ON OFFENSE

Ben Roethlisberger led the league in passing last season, but he isn’t projected to have as big of a season per NFL player futures odds without Antonio Brown. That might be a mistake though as Roethlisberger will be out to put up big numbers with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the Steelers’ new No. 1 receiver.

Smith-Schuster has the tools to be the next in a long line of great Steelers’ receivers. He exploded onto the scene last year, surpassing Brown in terms of both receptions and receiving yards, proving that he was more than just a nice complementary piece to AB. Smith-Schuster will now have to prove he can handle being the focal point of the passing game.

James Washington has great top end speed, and Big Ben will look to take the top off New England’s defense by throwing him a deep ball at least once. Vance McDonald is projected to have a breakout season too as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 tight end, so look for him to see more than a handful of targets.

The Steelers’ running game is in good hands with James Conner carrying the load, and he will see plenty of work here. His improvement as a receiver out of the backfield made him an even more dynamic player last season, and it also lessened the loss of Le’Veon Bell. His hands still aren’t the best, but we’ll see what the offseason did to improve those skills on Sunday night.

New England has one of the better secondaries in the league, but there are some concerns along the defensive line. The loss of Trey Flowers in the offseason was big, and the Pats don’t have proven edge rushers. That could lead to Pittsburgh’s solid tackles giving Big Ben plenty of time.

PREDICTION

This total has fallen by too much. Brady should have a lot of success against Pittsburgh’s secondary with his new receivers, and the Steelers will be able to move the ball too. The ‘over’ is the best bet in this game.

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