Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
- Ben Roethlisberger missed much of the second half of Sunday's game in Oakland due to a rib injury, but returned late in the 4th quarter once the Raiders took the lead.
- Oddsmakers are still concerned over Roethlisberger's status, as the Patriots-Steelers game does not have odds posted along with the rest of next week's slate.
- Given Roethlisberger's value of 5-6 points to the spread, the Patriots could be upwards of 3-point favorites if he can't play.
Sunday’s game against the Raiders was an interesting one for Steelers fans, as they got a glimpse at what life without Ben Roethlisberger would look like.
The veteran quarterback was held out for the majority of the second half with a rib injury, only returning once the Raiders took a 17-14 lead with a little more than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
In heroic fashion, Big Ben led Pittsburgh down the field and threw a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, which accounted for the Steelers’ first points of the second half. Alas, it did not matter, as the Raiders scored another touchdown en route to a 24-21 win.
This past week, the Steelers were listed at -2.5 vs. the Patriots on Westgate’s lookahead lines, but due to the concerns over Roethlisberger’s ribs, sportsbooks haven’t posted the Pittsburgh-New England line on Sunday night with the rest of next week’s slate despite his return late in the game.
Roethlisberger is among the most valuable players in the league to the spread per the oddsmakers. He’s among a handful of “Tier 2” quarterbacks, worth at least five points to the spread, only behind three “Tier 1” quarterbacks — Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
In a close game like this in which the Pats would flip from dog to favorite, Roethlisberger’s value will likely be on the higher end. If Pitt had been set to play Jeff Driskel and the Bengals next week at home and were in the -14 range, the drop off may not be as extreme.
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I would expect the Patriots to be more than three point favorites if Roethlisberger can’t go, especially since his replacement, Joshua Dobbs, went 4-9 for just 24 yards and an interception. It’s possible that the line could even move a couple points higher than that given public expectations.