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Chiefs-Steelers Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Undervalued After Ugly Opener?

Sep 15, 2018 7:50 PM EDT

Betting odds: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Spread: Steelers -4.5
  • Over/Under: 53.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

>> All odds as of 8 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets


Betting market: The market is all over the Chiefs like flies on manure. With 81% of bets as of writing (see live data here), the Chiefs are getting a level of support that is unheard of for an underdog. The current record for a dog is 80%, and though I don’t expect the Chiefs to still be breaking the record by Sunday, there is a chance.

What is perhaps more important is where the line will end up, as the Chiefs, who had reached +5.5 at many books, are down to +4.5. Could it possibly reach +3 if they continue to get record-setting support? Only time will tell. Mark Gallant

Injury watch: The Chiefs will likely enter Heinz Field without the services of all-world S Eric Berry (heel), along with starting LB Ben Niemann (hamstring).

Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but said he doesn’t plan on missing any time. Hopefully Big Ben will be under center to welcome back starting TE Vance McDonald (ankle), who was a full participant in practice all week.

Upstart second-year RB James Conner is the man for at least another week with Le’Veon Bell (holdout) still nowhere to be found, but the rushing attack might have to make do without RG David DeCastro (hand).

Pittsburgh’s defense is expected to have DT Cameron Heyward (knee), but CB Joe Haden (hamstring) could miss some time.Ian Hartitz

Note: All injury info as of Thursday 9/13 at 5:30pm EST. Please visit our Week 2 Injury Dashboard for updated daily practice participation and game statuses up until game time.

Trends to know: The Chiefs-Steelers over/under opened up at 50.5 and has since been bet up to 53.5 as of writing (see live data here).

When the total increases from the opening to closing lines with Roethlisberger at quarterback, the under has been very profitable at a 49-37-1 against-the-spread mark with a total of 10 units, making Big Ben the most profitable QB to the under when the total increases from open to close. Evan Abrams

Do the Steelers need Le’Veon Bell? In Week 1, James Conner ran the ball 31 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns while catching five balls for 57 yards.

When Bell has missed games (including playoffs), the Steelers are 12-8-1 straight-up and 8-11-2 against the spread. John Ewing

DFS edge: Conner is still affordable across the industry. He saw 96.87% of the Steelers’ rushes in Week 1 and he now takes on a Chiefs defense that ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric last season.

Even if the Steelers fall behind, Conner can still do damage through the air (six targets in Week 1).

The Chiefs were torched through the air last week by Melvin Gordon (9-102 on 13 targets) and Austin Ekeler (5-87-1 on five targets).

Conner boasts the highest-projected Plus/Minus among running backs on DraftKings and FanDuel. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Over 53.5

You were warned last week: I’ll be hammering the over in Chiefs games for the foreseeable future. This offense’s ceiling is scary high, and the defense’s floor is frighteningly low.

This is the highest over/under in Week 2, but I’m not sure it matters. Roethlisberger is a completely different quarterback at home, and Antonio Brown has owned the Chiefs of late (6-113-0.8 average in his past four games against KC).

And remember: Those numbers from Brown came against a Chiefs secondary that featured All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters. Kansas City, which shipped Peters to the Rams this offseason, allowed 424 yards passing to Philip Rivers in Week 1 (could’ve been worse, too) and looks like it will again be without Berry.

Sooooo, yeah.

I also have very little faith that Pittsburgh’s defense can do much to slow Kansas City’s high-powered attack. The Steelers have really struggled since losing Ryan Shazier to his heartbreaking neck injury on Dec. 4, allowing 38, 27, 6, 24, 45 and 21 points in the six games since (including playoffs).

The quarterbacks the Steelers have played over that stretch: Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, T.J. Yates, DeShone Kizer, Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor. Outside of the GOAT, that ain’t exactly a murderer’s row of opponents, and they scored 26.8 points per game.

Don’t let the high number scare you away from this one. Scott T. Miller

Bet to watch: Steelers -4.5.

I think bettors are getting a bit carried away with their love for Kansas City based on what they saw in Week 1.

As Mark pointed out, the Chiefs have a chance to be the most popular underdog bet we’ve ever tracked. And while their offense certainly did look good in Week 1, a one-game sample size isn’t enough for me to buy in.

Since 2005, teams that scored 28 or more points in Week 1 have gone 28-52-5 ATS (35%) the following week. Those that have also given up at least 28 points have gone just 7-17 ATS (29%) in Week 2.

The preseason lookahead line was Steelers -7, which was of course under the assumption that Bell would be playing. But even the best backs in the league are worth only about a half-point to the spread.

I got the Steelers at -4, but I’d take them at anything less than -6. Danny Donahue


Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

Credit:

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kareem Hunt / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Conner

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